Category Archives: Illustration Book

Cicada: Is It Si-KAH-Da or Si-KAY-Da?

They came. They Shrieked. They mated. And then they were gone. We tweated, Facebook wall-posted and blogged about them. We named ourselves after them. (E.g., CicadaMania, CicadaPhobia, BuzzCicada, etc, are all well-known Twitter handle and Internet pseudonyms.) We created new word for their visit: Swarmageddon.

But there is an eternal argument that will never go away, even long after the Brood II swarmageddon’s over. And that is the pronunciation of the word “cicada.”

So do you say si-KAY-da, or si-KAH-da? Before you jump to your quick conclusion, watch a short and fun video of Zoe and Jennifer, who cross swords in a you-say-to-MAY-to-and-I-say-to-MAH-to duel: (Scroll down to the “Book Description” section to watch the video.)


While you are here, cast your vote on whether “cicada” should be pronounced as “si-KAH-da” or “si-KAY-da.”

A Five-Year-Old Reviews “My Life as a Cicada”

A reader, by the nickname of “Happy Mom,” has posted a review on “My Life as a Cicada.” It is a two-part review, with comments from her five-year-old and herself. The review can be found here:

I found the five-year-old’s review particularly encouraging and inspiring. It says:

 “That story is cool. The teeth on the bad termites: I didn’t like them. They scared me a little bit. The whole story is about sometimes when I meet new things, not being accustomed to them, I’m afraid like the cicada. I liked the whole rest of it, too. I wish I could see it again someday. And I love the whole story.”

In the book, I portray the termites as the street bullies and a symbol for the menace of the subterranean world. Apparently, that’s taking effect on the juvenile readers. And if I’ve ever successfully packaged a polemic message in the book, it has been summarized well by this five-year-old: it’s about our fear for strangers.

Just like what Epictetus told us: What scares us is not the things themselves; rather, it is our perception of things. With “My Life as a Cicada,” I intend to present these infrequent yet en masse visitors as vulnerable creatures.

Confucius says: Isn’t it a joy when a visitation from afar is upon us? Let us rejoice at the sight of cicadas. The swarm of these mysterious bugs reflects the wisdom of God or Nature. We should accord them the same peace and respect we do to God’s or Nature’s other creations.