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The Painted The PainTed

Tea SeT Set Tea By Ashley Bae and Victor Hsieh Illustrated by Shaina Lu

In The Painted Tea Set, thirteen-year-olds Ashley Bae and Victor Hsieh tell the story of a struggling young painter named Seymour. Disappointed that no one likes his pictures of fruit bowls with red bananas, Seymour decides to leave his family behind and seek shelter in an abandoned glass factory where he can paint in isolation. His solitary journey will bring him to an astonishing realization when a bewildering path of broken glass leads him to a teleporting refrigerator... and his destiny. Includes a sensational glossary of entertaining vocabulary for all ages.

YouthInkwell Publishing 155 South El Molino Avenue, Suite 102 Pasadena, California 91101 Copyright Š 2007 by YouthInkwell Publishing All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information retrieval system, without written permission in writing from the publisher. ISBN: 978-0-9773451-9-9 Printed in Singapore by Kay Lau & Associates First Edition, 2007 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Book Production by YouthInkwell Publishing Director: Project Managers: Written by: Illustrated by: Book design:

Jennifer Sarja Maida Chan LeAnne Bagnall Ashley Bae & Victor Hsieh Shaina Lu Daniel Carmin



y experience here at Youthinkwell has been great! The greatest part though is knowing the people that are here. They have helped me write this book and have supported me.

I want to thank my mom because she has helped me the most. She has gone to all the meetings and has taken me to school many times. My mom has given many hours to helping the Water Well Project and fundraising. Thanks Mom, you’re the best! I also want to thank my dad. He has also been there to take me to school many times. Most of all, he has donated money to the book and the project. You rock, Dad! I would also like to thank Tracy, my sister. She is the one that has been giving the most support. She has spent many hours here helping us edit the story. All I want to say is thanks for helping! And to my oldest sister, Jessica, thanks for all your support. I also want to acknowledge Miss Sarja for helping us with the story and giving us many ideas and thoughts. She was the one always pushing us to do the story. You are awesome, Miss Sarja!!! Sincerely, Victor

Dedications From Ashley: My family My friends and Miss Sarja

From Victor: My Mom and Dad

The Painted Tea Set By Ashley Bae and Victor Hsieh

The Painted Tea Set


e still had red paint on his hand. Periodically, his thumbs stopped twiddling long enough for his nail to scratch the dried flecks of crimson. He tapped his feet lightly against the base of the metal stool upon which he sat.

Seventy-five invitations, he thought to himself. Looking up at the empty room, he sighed. Not even his parents had showed up. 1

It took him a moment to realize that the tapping was no longer the sound of his own feet but of those belonging to the gallery’s owner, Mr. Lauren. “You know, I was thinking about buying that one in the back for–” Seymour tossed his hand in the air lightly. “Thanks, Mr. Lauren, but you don’t have to.” “Well, you think about it,” the spectacled old man whispered as he disappeared down the dimly lit corridor. “Gotta close up shop in a few minutes though,” he called out. Seymour took one last look around. Three consecutive rooms displayed more than twenty-nine of his best pieces– pieces of fruit, that is. Every single picture that stretched along the walls depicted different assortments of fruit. Perhaps the orange might be to the left of the apple or the fruit might rest in a basket of straw rather than on a sterling silver platter. But one feature remained identical in every painting–smack in the middle of each canvas lay a bunch of the reddest bananas ever known to mankind. Seymour could not understand why people did not appreciate his work. He thought his work was brilliant. Stuffing his favorite paintbrush, a gold bristled fan, into his ripped coat pocket, he mumbled a ‘thank you’ into the darkened hallway that led to Mr. Lauren’s office and then turned to face the bitterly cold night.


The Painted Tea Set

Standing before the bright lamp of his family’s porch, watching the smoke wisp from the chimney, Seymour tightened the scarf around his neck and paused. For a brief moment, the insides of the house offered him the promise of warmth. “Is it over already?” Seymour’s mother called as he stepped in from the cold. “It ended early,” Seymour muttered as he threw his coat over the banister. “I’m making tea,” Seymour’s mother offered in response. As he slowly made his way toward the stairs, Seymour stopped into the living room to see his father, aunts, uncle, and a seemingly immobile elderly gentleman playing a rowdy game of poker. Seymour’s uncle called after him, “Hey there, Red. You wanna play a hand?” Before Seymour could muster a word past the lump in his throat, his father barked, “He ain’t got no money. He needs to GET A JOB!” “He’s got a job,” Seymour’s mother quietly pointed out as she returned from the kitchen with a pot of tea. “Then he needs to get a real job,” his father retorted. “Full house,” he went on to state with glee. As the grumble of defeat traveled throughout the room, Seymour boldly stepped into the living room, walked to the seemingly immobile elderly gentleman, took his cards, and placed them on the table. The Painted Tea Set


“Grandpa’s got a royal flush.” And with that, Seymour disappeared up the stairs and slammed his door closed.

Alone in his room, Seymour shuffled towards his closet and quickly selected several changes of clothing. Only the essentials, he thought to himself. He turned to his bed where his suitcase lay, already full with canvases, paintbrushes, and paint. He tried zipping it up but found it necessary to sit on top before it would close. 4

The Painted Tea Set

With resolve, he hurriedly wrapped his fingers around the handle of the suitcase and stepped out of his room, back down the stairs. To the sound of poker chips flying across the table, Seymour walked past his family for what he imagined would be the last time. “I’m going...out,” Seymour announced to no one in particular. While his mother watched him put on his coat and walk out the door, she did not attempt to stop him.

The Painted Tea Set


The Painted Tea Set


nce again, Seymour found himself outside in the cold. As he passed Mr. Lauren’s now darkened gallery, he could not avoid seeing the ocean of people pouring into another gallery on the corner of the street.


Seymour was amazed by the line that had already stretched two blocks. Without thinking, he let his feet lead him over the threshold and into the brightly lit space. Carefully, he examined the pictures of landscapes, self-portraits, and abstract geometric figures, but nothing struck him until he stood before a picture that looked oddly familiar– a bowl of fruit. Running his finger over the ripe yellow banana, he felt the urge to scratch at the shimmering marigold paint with his worn, half-bitten nails. A tall but scrawny man with a carefully groomed goatee noticed Seymour’s protracted stare. “What do you think there, my friend?” “Typical,” Seymour replied matter-of-factly and walked back into the night.

After wandering the circuitous streets in the oldest part of town, Seymour came across a beguiling structure. How could he have never seen it before? Too frustrated by the events of the day to settle down anywhere for long, Seymour spent more than an hour walking the perimeter of the building, examining the broken windows and the large slabs of cracked wall. Near midnight, Seymour found himself in front of a fence blocking his way. By the tall smoke stacks, he surmised that the building was some kind of industrial factory. The Painted Tea Set




nly six months later, Seymour reopened the factory. Using the lessons Paul had taught him, he began to create his own tea sets, which he personalized to his customers’ liking. When he sold his first order, his mother was surprised to see so many different designs. However, it was the ones with daisies that made her smile the most.

One afternoon, Seymour’s mother asked him what had made him open his mind to painting other things, and Seymour’s reply was simple. “I took a long walk one day, and it all just came to me.” And with that, Seymour smiled and returned to painting a red banana.


The Painted Tea Set

The Painted Tea Set


End Notes: 1. Needless to say, the authors didn’t know much about the

glass-making process in the early 20th century, so they did a little research. The website they found indicated the following about the information they found: “Information on the glassmaking process came from an excerpt from The Household Cyclopedia of General Information, published in 1881. It is a handbook of the practical and domestic arts that were performed in households throughout America at the time. Some of the methods described may be outdated.” If you’d like to look it up yourself, check out: http://www. General_Information/howtomak_cge.html


The Painted Tea Set

Voluminous Vocabulary periodically – once every so often Her mom would only let her eat donuts periodically so she would not become fat.

immobile – unmoving, still The surprising news stunned Reggie, leaving him immobile.

retorted – replied snappily, riposte To the attack against the size of her cranium, she retorted angrily, “No, your head is bigger.”

canvas – a burlap-like cloth used for painting The artist prepared his canvas for painting by gessoing it. (gessoing: using plaster to make a surface okay for painting) The Painted Tea Set


Note from the Publisher: In the Painted Tea Set, Seymour comes to see how powerful art can be. We believe all kids have the power to make a difference. At YouthInkwell Publishing, kids are using their art and writing to raise money to help kids far away in East Africa. That’s their dream. If you’d like to help them, check out the pages that follow and see how you can get involved. In the meantime, we know you have dreams of your own, and we want to hear about them. Write about it in a letter, a story, a poem, an essay. Include a picture if you’d like. Tell us what you dream about. How do you plan to share your dream? How will your success change the world for the better? We’ll be selecting entries to post on our website... so get writing. Send submissions to: YouthInkwell Publishing’s “Living a Dream” 155 S. El Molino Ave., Ste. 102 Pasadena, CA 91101 Include your name, age, grade, school, address, phone number and email. One submission only please.


The Painted Tea Set

My Dream:

_______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ My name: ___________________________ My age: ___________________ Keep this for yourself and send us a photocopy.

About the Authors Ashley Bae: Thirteen-year-old Ashley Bae currently attends middle school at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, California. She loves spending time with her family, especially with her younger sister Emilee. Ashley has been a part of the YouthInkwell community for about two years and enjoys the great learning experience of writing. Ashley also enjoys fencing and playing the cello. In her free time, she listens to music, hangs out with her friends, plays volleyball, and reads.

Victor Hsieh: Twelve-year-old Victor Hsieh currently attends Oak Avenue Intermediate School in Temple City, California, where he lives with his mother and father and two older sisters, Tracy and Jessica. His favorite hobbies are playing basketball and solving Sudoku puzzles. When he gets older, he would like to be an NBA star.

About the Illustrator Shaina Lu: After spending her junior year at San Marino High School writing and illustrating her first book Puppets, Shaina Lu offered to collaborate on a second YouthInkwell Publishing book–illustrating Ashley and Victor’s story. Currently 17years-old, she aspires to go to college and then become a comic book artist and social activist. Her hobbies include playing the timpani, drawing, reading comics, and recycling.

Also illustrated by Shaina Lu...

Puppets ISBN: 978-0-9773451-8-2 ~ $14.99 ~ 40 pp With her magnificent illustrations, Shaina paints a compelling yet tragic tale of a young girl and her beloved marionette. Each morning, the young girl cheerfully manipulates the strings of her marionette as they happily play together, dreaming of the day when they will get to perform on the large stage in the town square. Then one day, the marionette discovers that the girl’s attention has been diverted by a mysterious package. A cautionary tale about waiting too long to act, this picture book challenges the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Find out who really is pulling the strings behind the scenes in Puppets.

How We Work Young Authors and Artists Young authors and artists play a huge role at YouthInkwell Publishing. All participants are actively involved in the creation, production, distribution, and outreach associated with their work. To date, YouthInkwell Publishing has published the work of thirty-nine students ranging in age from 8-18.

Youth Board of Advisors In September 2006, YouthInkwell Publishing established a Youth Board of Advisors to learn the ins and outs of running a nonprofit company. Ranging in ages from 9 to 18, these young people submitted applications and were accepted to become representatives of YouthInkwell’s mission–to empower young people through writing. Meeting twice monthly, the Youth Board gathers in Pasadena, California, to discuss upcoming book fairs, marketing strategies, educational materials, and the pressing needs around the world for clean water. Workshops with local community leaders train them in money management, public speaking, and marketing. Youth Board members regularly lead and participate in community outreach. In May 2007, four Youth Board members traveled to Costa Rica to hand out books and inspire kids there to use their own writing and artistic talents to effect change.

Volunteers YouthInkwell Publishing has welcomed dozens of young volunteers to participate in its book selling and water education projects. Students across the country have joined as YouthInkwell ambassadors–selling YouthInkwell books at their own book fairs to raise money for the well building efforts. Other student volunteers have helped as designers, photographers, filmmakers, teaching apprentices, and marketing assistants.

Mission YouthInkwell Publishing empowers young people to use their writing abilities to make a difference in their communities.

If you’d like to contact us...

YouthInkwell Publishing 155 South El Molino Avenue, Suite 102 Pasadena, California 91101 626.449.6884

The Water Well Project Founded by screenwriter and educator Jennifer Sarja, YouthInkwell Publishing helps kids write and illustrate their own books for the purpose of raising money to build water wells in countries like Ethiopia and Uganda. It is the goal of the YouthInkwell authors and artists to free young girls from the burden of walking hours for water that is often very unclean. With wells built directly adjacent to schools, these girls are now safe from disease and assault, and able to attend school and strive for leadership positions within their communities.



Photos Photos by byDonna DonnaM.M.Guenther, Guenther, M.D. M.D.

Sales from YouthInkwell Publishing’s first two books have already aided in the construction of one well at the Kuno Kile School in Ethiopia.

Painted Tea Set  

A children's book produced by the students of the non-profit YouthInkWell.