Dawn Seow

Book Review: 6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper

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This extraordinary book captures the most excellent adventures of Singaporean Sue Ong and her family of eight driving through the Land of the Free.

Book Review 6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper

Traveling is fun for some, tiresome for others. For the Ongs, it proved the experience of a lifetime.

For six months, Sue Ong, 43, Dan Ong, 47 and their six children lived out of their nine-seater Chevrolet Suburban and a pop-up camper as they traveled across America.

Yes, you read right. They have six children. The eldest, Asher is 17 and after him come Abigail, 15, Isaac, 13, Isaiah, 11, Magdalena, 8 and Michaela, 5. They are all home-schooled by the mother.

CONQUERING AMERICA

The journey began in June 2015, with the Ongs first conquering the South. Following that, they did what they called the Western loop before ending their trip with the Eastern loop. Traipsing across 43 states over 138 miles, the Ongs created innumerable memories and learned how welcoming Americans could be when they visited friends and churches. They also saw how hospitable overseas Singaporeans are by nature, with friends of friends opened up their homes to them.

Many Singaporeans followed their journey on their Facebook page “6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper” and read about them in the news. At the end of 2016, the Ong published their travelogue “6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper” to document their journey and, at the same time,  inspire others.

Filled with beautiful pictures taken by their firstborn Asher, the 293-pages of travelogue documents their day-to-day experiences. Read about how they survived US custom checks, learned how to set up the pop-up camper and pack all their belongings into that tiny space, among the many obstacles they learned to overcome.

The most interesting part must be how everyone has grown in their own ways by the end of the journey. Besides Mrs Ong’s  personal account, the book also contains snippets by each family member. These little nuggets of revelation give the readers a glimpse of how traveling has given these home-schooled kids the lesson of their life.

Abigail wrote: “At the start of our trip, I wasn’t very comfortable with making friends. I eventually became better at making friends with every stop at every church.”

Magdalena, the second youngest in the clan, contributed her doodles. The journey through the eyes of each kid woven into their mother’s account makes the travelogue a rich read.

Perhaps the most poignant element revealed is the family’s faith. The Ongs spoke of God throughout the book. Dad prayed throughout his maiden drive in that huge station wagon to which the pop-up camper was attached, Mom prayed for God’s wisdom, and the children often turned to God when they faced difficult situations. It was evident that God was on their minds wherever they went.

With 75 percent of the book comprising photographs, 6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper gives readers more than a glimpse of America through a then-15-year-old’s eyes. If taking a road trip with your kids is something you aspire to, read and be inspired.

6 Kids And A Pop-Up Camper is priced at $61.95 on the Ong’ website 6kidsandapopupcamper.com

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