The Reason for Being Late

Haven’t we all searched for a good reason for being late–one that has the appearance of being legitimate, that is beyond our control, and that we hope to give to our friends, teachers, and colleagues without having to own our faults? In The Reason for Being Late (迟到的理由), a delightful picture book by a 26-year-old Chinese artist named Yao Jia (姚佳), a piglet does just that in an unnervingly quiet school hallway, searching hard for the best reason to give to his second-grade teacher before timidly pushing open the door to his classroom. Continue reading

Chinese children’s literature and the UK National Curriculum

We’re delighted that our first guest post is by Frances Weightman of the University of Leeds. On 2 July 2016 Frances and her team organised an excellent symposium on Chinese children’s literature, bringing together scholars, translators and teachers. There was a particular impetus for holding the symposium, in that the teaching of modern foreign languages – including Chinese – in UK schools is changing. In September 2013 the Department for Education issued new National Curriculum guidelines for the study of languages at primary and secondary schools in the UK, which places new emphasis on the study of literary texts within the curriculum. Continue reading

Gerelchimeg Blackcrane

It happened when I was three or four years old, and it’s one of my earliest memories. That day, I was playing alone outside and happened to find a lump of dark clay in a ditch by the road. I must have been bored, for the lump immediately caught my attention. I picked it up, and with the help of a stick that I’d found I sculptured it into something that looked a bit like a cat. I was very proud of this little thing that I’d made and I wanted to share my joy with someone. And so, with the lump in my hands I ran home to find my mother. I remember the look on her face – it was as if I’d given her a treasure. Gently, she lifted the little thing into the air and studied it, then very carefully placed it in one of our flower pots. We stood there and watched it together a long time. It must have been the first thing I ever created. When I think of it now, so many years later, I realise I should have thanked her. If she had thrown the little black clay cat away I might not have become the writer I am today. People always ask me why I became a writer. It’s really very simple: I want to write a book that would make my mother proud of me.
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Chinese books for young readers

Welcome to Chinese books for young readers!

On 2 July 2016 the Writing Chinese project at Leeds University organised a symposium on Chinese children’s literature. Minjie Chen of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University gave the keynote presentation – a wonderful overview of Chinese children’s books – , and Anna Gustafsson Chen and I gave shorter talks offering our perspectives as translators. That weekend we decided to start this website and blog! Continue reading