Since Cao Wenxuan is the most famous writer of children’s literature in China and also the one most well-known abroad, it was no surprise that there would eventually be a prize in his name. In fact, there are already two: The Bronze and Sunflower Award 青铜葵花奖 and the Cao Wenxuan Children’s Literature Award 曹文轩儿童文学奖. The Cao Wenxuan Children’s Literature Award was inaugurated in April 2017, with the aim to promote children’s literature in China, to encourage young writers, to promote Chinese literature abroad and to make Jiangsu province a major centre for the development of children’s literature in China.
Six months later, in October, the jury had received 1696 entries by writers from China and abroad. It must have been a formidable task to go through all these works, but in the end the 21 ladies and gentlemen in the jury selected five previously unpublished full-length works by established writers and eight unpublished short stories by young and upcoming writers as “Outstanding works”. The jury could not agree on a recipient for the main award. Continue reading
The Linton Children’s Book Festival takes place this weekend, in the beautiful English village of Linton, not far from Cambridge. I was invited to introduce DONG Yanan’s book Express Delivery from Dinosaur World yesterday, and the event was fully booked! 32 young readers (some as young as two years old) came along with their parents.
The event took place at the Linton Village College. There were eight tables in our room, and pencils and paper available on each. There was a lot of spontaneous drawing of dinosaurs!
After a very brief introduction, we moved on to three key activities. The first two were from Dong Yanan’s book.
Activity 1: Cross the Dinosaur Mountain – looking for creatures in the mountains
Activity 2: Spot the Difference
The third activity was a puzzle about the names of dinosaurs. Each group had a packet with pieces of paper relating to eight dinosaurs: a picture of the dinosaur, its scientific name, the meaning of its scientific name, its Chinese name, and the individual characters in the Chinese name. Could the groups arrange the pieces of paper into eight groups? No problem! I’ve created language/translation based activities like this one before, and it’s amazing to see how people approach the task in very different ways.
Most groups started with Triceratops, because they know (or can guess) that it means “three horned head”.
When they see how the Chinese names for dinosaurs are constructed, they can then invent their own. And here is the first picture ever of the Tesanyilong 特三翼龙 the “special three-winged dinosaur” created at the Linton Children’s Book Festival on 19 February 2018.
One of the many Chinese awards for picture books is the Feng Zikai Children’s Picture Book Award 丰子恺儿童图画书奖. The latest, and 5th, awards were announced last summer and I’ve recently read two of the books on that list – one that won an award, and one that had to make do with getting included in the shortlist (no small feat). Continue reading
Recently we’ve been asked about children’s books from Taiwan. So, we asked the experts at Books from Taiwan – which has a fabulous website – to tell us about what they do! Many thanks to Ms Ping CHANG 張平 for agreeing to this interview and for sharing these photographs! Continue reading
This post was first published on the Curatorial Blog of the Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University; re-posting with minor changes. Continue reading
The 2017 NCTA Freeman Book Awards have just been announced. I’m delighted that Bronze and Sunflower has won the young adult/middle school literature award, and that An’s Seed received an honourable mention. I didn’t really know what the Freeman awards were about. Who better to ask than David Jacobson, whose book Are You an Echo? received an honourable mention last year to tell us about the prize, and what winning meant to him. Continue reading
Here’s a list of our first 60 posts! Thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way, to our guest-writers and interviewees, and, of course, to our readers! Continue reading
I recently had the privilege of visiting four schools in southern Zhejiang Province and talking to students from three of them about books, reading, and learning. It was part of an outreach program organized by the local public library of my hometown, where I was visiting family in late November 2017. The library hoped a librarian’s lecture like mine would instill a love of reading into the fresh and curious minds of those students. At the end of the tour, however, I knew I was bestowed with so much more from those young people than they learned from my static PowerPoint slides. Continue reading
2017 saw the publication of Feather, the stunning picture book collaboration between author Cao Wenxuan and illustrator Roger Mello [you can read Minjie Chen and David Jacobson’s post about Cao and Mello at the USBBY conference in Seattle here]. I was delighted to discover that the translator was Chloe Garcia Roberts, poet (The Reveal, 2015), translator and managing editor of the Harvard Review. I know her better for her translations of poetry by the Tang dynasty poet LI Shangyin 李商隱 (813-858), and was keen to learn more about Chloe’s work, and how she came to translate Feather. She very kindly agreed to an interview. Continue reading