78. Childhood in a courtyard house

Siheyuan1In his lovely picture book Childhood in a courtyard house《四合院里的小时候》architect and illustrator Xie Xiaozhen 谢小振 presents the story of this classical building type, often associated with Beijing but common in many parts of China. For children and parents interested in architecture the book is a goldmine – not only are the illustrations marvellous, Xie shows us details in the construction of gates and roofs, talks about roof tiles, edge plates, door stops, door knockers, and “spirit walls” – the often richly decorated walls that make it possible to keep the outer gate open without letting people in the street see what’s going on inside the courtyard. Xie also describes other objects and decorations that are traditionally common in a courtyard of this kind: goldfish ponds, trees, trellises, and so on.

The beautiful illustrations in combination with the detailed descriptions and panorama views make this a book you can read again and again. I imagine it would also be a great asset in the classroom for all teachers of Chinese. The book is the first in a series called An encounter with traditional Chinese architecture 《走近中国传统建筑》The next book in the series will introduce the tulou from Fujian, and after that it’s time for the gardens of Suzhou.

Siheyuan3

Shiheyuan3

Overview of a courtyard house

Details of the book:

谢小振:  《四合院里的小时候》 (人民文学出版社,天天出版社, 2018 年), ISBN: 9787501610891 – Amazon.com

 

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77. Science Fiction for Children – selected by Liu Cixin and Han Song

The latest book in the “For Children” series is Science Fiction for Children, a collection of 15 short classics in the genre, selected and edited by Liu Cixin 刘慈欣 (The Three-Body Problem) and Han Song 韩松, and translated by Bao Shu and others. I saw an announcement in English about this new book in The China Daily (7 Dec 2018), and was curious to see which stories had been selected. It seems they were all originally written in Chinese or English. I’ve listed and translated the contents below, followed by a list and translation of the titles of the 11 books in the series (info taken from the Douban website).

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Science Fiction for Children (image source: Douban)

Gei haizi de kehuan [Science fiction for children], selected and edited by LIU Cixin and HAN Song, tr. BAO Shu and others, For Children Series (Zhong Xin chubanshe jituan, 2018), 437 pp., RMB 52, ISBN: 9787508694757.  刘慈欣,韩松 选编; 宝树  等 译:《给孩子的科幻》 (中信出版集团: 给孩子系列, 2018年)  
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76. Children’s Literature from Hong Kong in English

Marija Todorova, a peace studies and translation studies scholar, is currently pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on “Children’s Literature in English Language Teaching for Primary Students in Hong Kong”. We’re delighted she agreed to tell us about herself and her research.

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