Viola Sutanto is the author and illustrator of the new book Eat Cake for Breakfast and 99 Other Small Acts of Happiness. She began it during the time her daughter, Maika, was hospitalized with a serious illness. Sutanto is the founder of the Maika brand of sustainable soft goods, and she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Q: How was your book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: Eat Cake for Breakfast and 99 Other Small Acts of Happiness speaks to the idea that we can find joy in simple and seemingly mundane acts every day.
When we think of happiness, we often associate it with this lofty ideal to be achieved after years of hard work, almost like the coveted prize at the finish line.
But what if you didn’t have to wait for that perfect moment? What if happiness can be achieved every day, and through small, simple acts? What if each and every one of us could help spread a little joy every day? The world will be a much better place, wouldn’t it? I truly believe small acts can bring big joy.
I think Maika summed it up best: “If you take the little things for granted, you lose the joy in life.”
Q: What does your daughter think of the book?
A: Maika says, “I think it’s amazing. I had a lot of fun helping my mom to come up with the 100 acts of happiness.”
Q: What are you working on now?
A: It means so much for us to be able to bring this book to life. Since a portion of book sales will be donated to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland where Maika was treated, we are focused on bringing attention to its upcoming launch. Through this book, we hope to inspire everyday joy to those around us.
It’s also a tribute to our amazing community of family, friends and the incredible medical team at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: The amazing folks at Make-a-Wish Foundation (https://wish.org/) are working hard to make Maika’s wish come true. Her wish is to invite her friends, family and our community to create a beautiful mural together here in the Bay Area.
Maika’s hope is to create a giant, longlasting message of hope, so everyone who sees the mural will be surprised and delighted as they go about their day. She wants to use her wish to continue to spread joy and uplift those around her.
Besides, as she says, what could be more fun than having a giant canvas to paint and play your heart out?
--Interview with Deborah Kalb