Glass Tears

A big hello to Maxine Johnson’s Year 1 class at Epping North Public School, who are studying Glass Tears at the moment. A great time to be looking at the story in the lead up to Buddha Day (Wesak) on May 14th, which marks Buddha’s birthday, enlightenmnet and death.

Wesak is held on the first full moon in May and on this day Buddhists visit temples and make offerings to monks, bathe the Buddha to purify one’s mind, release caged birds for liberty and freedom, and make special efforts to bring happiness to the old and infirm. There are also candle and lantern processions.

In Glass Tears the illustrations, by Di Wu, show a typical Buddhist funeral ceremony, and offerings given at the house of the deceased. .

The real grave of Dao Thanh is on top of the cliff at Stenhouse Bay. The glass beaded bouquet sits on top, protected by a glass case.

These photos were taken in 2010.


The beaded bouquet


Brass plate on headstone


Information board


The grave

36 thoughts on “Glass Tears

  1. Thank you for writing the historical fiction, Glass Tears. 1J learnt a lot about Vietnamese culture from reading it together. Also, thank you for this blog post and the photographs of the grave site. It was helpful to find out more about Dao Thanh.

    We thought Glass Tears was interesting because we have learnt what happens after people pass away from a Vietnamese Buddhist culture. We felt sad for Tian and Dao because their father died in the book and in real life. We liked that Tian’s dad sent her a colourful kangaroo souvenir.

    We read that you used to teach in an Aboriginal school. Do you think you would like to write a book about Aboriginal culture? Why do you like writing books about other cultures? We are making a bouquet of flowers out of beads and wire.

    Thank you, from 1J at Epping North Public School

  2. Thankyou 1J. I am glad that you enjoyed the book and the photos.We can learn a lot about other cultures through books.It is probably best left for Aboriginal people to write about their culture as they know it much better than me. However I can put Aboriginal characters into my stories. In fact my next book, “Tea and Sugar Christmas” which is being released in November this year has an Aboriginal girl called Kathleen as the main character. I think you will enjoy this book as it is about a train which travelled across the Australian desert taking supplies to people living along the railway line.The beautiful illustrations have been done by Robert Ingpen. Keep an eye out for it a bit later in the year.
    Also SallyHeinrich and I will be in Sydney on August 30, 31st at the Book Expo. Sally will be doing some print making sessions and I will be running some poetry writing sessions. The theme will be “Elephants” to go with our new book, “One Step at a Time” which will be released next year in Feb.

  3. Thank you for writing Glass Tears. Thank you for showing us the photos of the grave site. My favourite part in the book is when Tian threaded the glass bouquet. I hope you’re new books are going well! From James Myers, 1J, Epping North Public School!

  4. I really liked the book called Glass Tears. I talked to my mum and dad about the story.

  5. I really enjoyed this book, Glass Tears. Mrs Johnson read to us in the classroom to everyone. I think it is really sad story, especially because it is a true story. Poor Tian and her family must have cried so many times to make glass bouquet. I want to visit South Australia with my family to see the grave and the headstone. Thank you very much for writing this story. I look forward to your next book “Tea and Sugar Christmas”. I hope it is not too hard for me to read. Annabel 1J

  6. Thankyou James.Lovely to hear from you and I am glad that you liked seeing the photos of the real grave site.I must admit I do love the beads that Tian threads, especially the picture on the last page with the bead hanging on the thread.I have the original illustration of that hanging up in my office. Cheers,

  7. Hello Chris. What a good idea to talk about the story with your mum and dad. I bet that they were impressed with what you knew about it and how much you understood of it, especially the Buddhist culture. Thanks for writing back to me. Cheers,

  8. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for writing back to me with your thoughts and comments on the book. It is sad, but do you know what? It is OK to feel sad because we can’t be happy all of the time. I am sure that you will be able to read “Tea and Sugar Christmas” and that you will enjoy it, especially the pictures of the train. There is lots to look for in the illustrations. And if you do come to SA you must go to Stenhouse Bay on the Yorke Peninsula to have a look at the grave site. Best wishes, Jane

  9. Hi Jane Jolly, nice to meet you. I thought it was interesting and sad in ‘Glass Tears’ when the boy is running with a note that tells him that his Dad died and they hang a string in the window. From Charlie

  10. I really enjoyed reading Glass Tears because I learnt how Dao Than passed away and I also learnt some things about where Buddist people get burried. I also liked how Tain and her family made the bouquet of flowers.

  11. Dear Jane, I really liked Glass Tears because Tian and her family made a glass bouquet. I look forward to your next book Tea and Sugar Christmas. Brad 1J

  12. Thank you, Mrs Jolly, for the sad but excellent story called “Glass Tears”. The illustrations were fantastic, please thank Di Wu for them. I like “Glass Tears” because Dao Thanh Junior wants to be a sailor like his Dad, who was also called Dao Thanh. I can’t wait to read “Tea & Sugar Christmas ” and I am sure my friend Alex, who is also in 1J, will love it as he loves trains. From Xander.

  13. Dear Jane, You are a lovely writer. I didn’t know how Dao died until you told me in this blog – it is interesting. I think it’s a sad story, but I still like it when Tian’s dad sent her the pink kangaroo. The picture of the pink kangaroo in your book is really cute. We have been learning what passed away means and now I know that it means died. I would like for you to write a story called The Enchanted Tree because it is a good name for a book. What do you think? I like you because you are very talented in writing a book called Glass Tears. Love Katie Mulder.

  14. Hi Xander…great name! I must agree with you about the illustrations.They are superb. Children often want to be what their dads are when they grow up. Maybe for Dao junior it would mean a link with his dead father.I hope you and your friend Alex both enjoy “Tea and Sugar Christmas”.

  15. Hi Brad, I think the glass beaded bouquet is beautiful too, and an interesting part of Vietnamese culture. I am sure your school will get a copy of “Tea and Sugar Christmas” for you to read and enjoy.

  16. Hi Arabella, I can tell you a quick story about how I came up with the name Tian. When I was teaching in Whyalla I had a Vietnamese girl in my class called Tian and she had come to Australia in a shoebox as part of the Baby Airlift after the war. She was very lucky to be adopted by an Australian family.

  17. Dear Katie, Thankyou for your kind words. It’s always good to hear that someone enjoys your writing. Sounds like you are learning lots from my book, which is wonderful. “The Enchanted Tree” sounds like a great title for a story…but I think you should write it and then let me read it. Keep an eye out for some more of my books coming out which you may enjoy, especially “Tea and Sugar Christmas”.

  18. Dear Charlie,The note that the boy is running with is a telegram. Back in the “old days” that was how people got news to other people quickly. It was sometimes a bit scary to read a telegram because they often brought bad news, as they did in this story. I also think that the final illustration in the story is sad but beautiful. I don’t think Tian will ever forget her dad.

  19. Dear Jane Jolly. I like your book Glass Tears. You are a lovely writer. The part I liked the best was when Tian threaded the beads on wire to make a bouquet. Love Ellen Leahy oxoxox

  20. Dear Jane. Thank you for writing Glass Tears. I liked the part when Tian’s and Dao’s mother told them how their dad died. It was well written and made me feel sad for them. I think you are a great author and hope to read more of your writing.

    James Blair, 1J, Epping North Public School!

  21. Dear Ellen, Thankyou for writing to me. I am sitting at my computer getting lots of interesting letters at the moment. I also like the image of Tian threading the beads. I wonder what was going through her head? I am sure she was very sad but also feeling that she was doing something very special for her father. Cheers, Jane

  22. Hi James, Would you believe that it is good for me to hear that you felt sad because it means my writing made its way to your heart. Thankyou for your lovely comments and I am sure that you will enjoy mu next book, “Tea and Sugar Christmas”.Ps My dad’s name is James but everyone calls him Jim.

  23. Dear Jaron, I think you are the first Jaron that I know! Thankyou for taking the time to write to me.Would you like to be a sailor and sail the seven sea? I have done a lot of sailing but not on big ships like Dao did. I am glad that you enjoyed the story. Keep reading, it will take you to many faraway places.

  24. hi jane I like how you wrote the words neatly in the story Glass Tears and it was a bit sad when Deo past away.

  25. Dear Sophie, I am glad that you enjoy my writing. I sometimes take a long time to choose just the right word for a story. It was very sad when Dao died but it was lovely that his children could be involved in making the glass beaded bouquets which would sit on his grave. Cheers,Jane

  26. Dear Jane, I enjoyed Glass Tears very much. I felt sad when Tian’s Deo pass away. I shared it with my mum and she Likes it too.thank you for writing the story.

  27. Hi Chloe, Thankyou for writing to me. It is good to hear from you and I am glad that you enjoyed “Glass Tears” even though it is a sad story.Great to hear that you shared it with your mum. I enjoyed writing the story and I am still writing stories, hoping to get them published. Look out for ‘Tea and Sugar Christmas” in November.

  28. Dear Jane, I really enjoyed your story. My favourite part is when you showed us the grave site because I got to see where Dao Thanh is buried . It made me feel sad when we saw the grave. I liked that they placed things in the coffin with Dao Thanh and I like that they shared a meal of rice together.

  29. Dear Angus, Thankyou for your comments. It is always interesting to learn about other cultures and to realise that people all over the world do things differently and it’s OK. That is one of my favourite illustrations in the book. Keep reading and learning, there’s a big world out there to be discovered. Cheers,Jane.

  30. Dear Jane, I really enjoyed your story. I liked the picture of the bouquet for the grave made our of beans which was interesting.

  31. Dear Samantha, I am glad that you enjoyed the story. I have heard from your teacher that you have made some bouquets out of beads as well. She is going to send me a photo of them when they are finished, which I will look forward to. I hope you keep enjoying your reading because it is a wonderful thing to be able to do…there are a lot of great books out there to be read! Cheers,

  32. I liked Glass Tears especially when the family made bouquets. I really liked the pictures. I was sad when Dao died. Thank you for writing such a lovely story. Lots of love, Phoebe.

  33. Dear Phoebe, It was lovely to get home today from school and read your letter. Then when I went to reply my internet went down. So now it is back on again and all is good. I am glad that you enjoyed the story. Isn’t it amazing how your emotions can change as you read the story. From sad, to glad about the beautiful bouquet back to sad again. Have an exciting weekend. Hope it is not too cold and wet. Cheers, Jane

  34. Janejolly I am Keira Young Thank you for putting the glass tear boquet on the internet. I loved showing my family. Thank you xoxox

  35. I am glad that your family could see the beautiful beads, which you threaded to make a bouquet, just like Tian did.

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