Bilingual books from Candied Plums

Candied Plums launched its first season of books in the USA a few months ago. All of them were originally written and published in Chinese and have been translated into English. Most of the books are bilingual editions. At first sight, the bilingual editions look like Chinese picture books with Chinese text and pinyin, but turn to the back of the book and you’ll find thumbnail pictures with the English translation.

I translated a few of these books. Working with editor Lisa (Li Xiaocui) was an intense and enjoyable experience. If you think it’s easy to produce bilingual picture books, think again! (Or read this piece by Daniel Hahn.) When the aim is to produce parallel texts in Chinese and English for a picture book, it’s essential that the publisher chooses books that lend themselves to parallel texts, both linguistically and culturally. For more about the process, see this piece by Roxanne Hsu Feldman.

I’ll list the books published already below, and I’d strongly recommend you look at the Candied Plums website as well, which is great! There’s information about the books, the authors and translators, and there’s a section called Chinese Corner, where you can listen to the books online, download an audio-version (mp3), and find some language-learning tips.

Candied Plums (糖葫芦 tanghulu) refers to the sugared hawberries on sticks that are a winter street snack in northern China, and bring back happy memories to children of all ages.

Here are the Candied Plums titles that are available now (there are more coming soon):

58ac0b7caed1f - candied haws

Who Wants Candied Hawberries?, by Dongni BAO, illustr. Di WU, tr. Adam Lanphier 《冰糖葫芦,谁买?》

58abffd88093c dinosaur delivery.jpg

Express Delivery from Dinosaur World, by Yanan DONG, tr. Helen WANG 《恐龙快递》

58ad39ce849c2 - buddy is annoying

Buddy Is So Annoying, by Wenzheng FU, tr. Adam Lanphier 《我讨厌宝弟》

58ae9bc948597 - picking turnips

Picking Turnips, by Xu ZHOU, tr. Adam Lanphier  《拔萝卜》

58cb85da8404f - flame

Flame, by Chengliang ZHU, tr. Helen Wang   《火焰》

58ac0bad95a2e ans seed

An’s Seed, by Zaozao WANG, illustr. Li HUANG, tr. Helen Wang  《安的种子》

58ac0b9cd51ad - little rabbits questions

Little Rabbit’s Questions, by Dayong GAN, tr. Helen Wang  《小兔的问题》

58ae9aaac6340 - CeeCee

CeeCee, by Mao XIAO, illustr. Chunmiao LI and Yanhong ZHANG, tr. Helen Wang  《西西》

58ae9b1a1cf43 - rory the rabbit

Rory the Rabbit, by Yimei WANG, illustr. Chunmiao LI and Xuan HE, tr. Adam Lanphier  《兔子萝里》

58ac0bcf1c5c5 - frog and boy

The Frog and the Boy, by Mao XIAO, illlustr. Wei CHEN and Xiaomin HUANG, tr. Helen Wang  《青蛙与男孩》

58e723a2342f2 - peanut fart.jpg

The Peanut Fart, by Xiaoming WANG, tr. Adam Lanphier  《花生米样的屁》

58ae9b7906245 - alakazam

Alakazam, by Chao WANG, tr. Duncan Poupard  《变变变》

58ac0fc8e94b0 - borrowing tail

Borrowing a Tail, by Songying LIN, illustr. Le ZHANG, tr. Duncan Poupard  《借尾巴》

58ac0c127fb6e - who ate my chestnut

Who Ate My Chestnut?, by Lei XIA, illustr. by Chao WANG, tr. Duncan Poupard 《谁吃了我的毛栗子》

58d9d873c0a41 - dark dark hole

There’s a Dark, Dark Hole, by Lei XIA, illustr. Yu ZHONG, tr. Duncan Poupard  《黑黑的,有一个洞》

58de19be9a7ec - father son fishing

Father and Son Go Fishing, by Xiaoting CHEN, illustr. Ying HUANG, tr. Duncan Poupard  《和爸爸一起去海边》

Bronze and Sunflower – now available in the USA and Canada!

The US edition of  Bronze and Sunflower was launched on 14 March 2017, almost two years after the UK edition (2 April 2015). Both editions have the same gorgeous cover art and illustrations by Meilo SO. The UK edition is paperback; the US edition is hardback. There are also two audio books – narrated by Ming-Zhu Hii, and Emily Woo ZellerContinue reading

I Am Mulan

In November, Tony Blishen wrote a post about children’s author QIN Wenjun 秦文君, and in January Anna wrote about children’s illustrator YU Rong 郁蓉 . We didn’t know at the time that Qin Wenjun and Yu Rong were collaborating on a new picture book based on the story of Mulan! Recently, Yu Rong invited me to translate I Am Mulan, and has kindly agreed to an interview here. Continue reading

The Story of Ink and Water – by Chun Zhang

Chun Zhang is the translator of a beautiful children’s book The Story of Ink and Water by Liang Peilong and Li Qingye. We are always on the look-out for great children’s books created by Chinese writers and illustrators, and this one is due for publication in March 2017. We asked Chun to tell us more about it… [This piece was written for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative and Paper Republic collaboration, February 2017]  Continue reading

St Gregory’s School ‘Reading China’ book group – by Theresa Munford

Theresa  Munford teaches Chinese at a secondary school in the UK. She took the initiative a few years ago to set up a Chinese book group. At a symposium on Chinese children’s literature in 2016 she played a video in which she interviewed two of her teenage students about the Chinese books they had read. They spoke frankly and eloquently about the books they had read. We invited Theresa to tell us more about the bookclub… [This piece was written for the Global Literature in Libraries and Paper Republic collaboration, February 2017.]  Continue reading

One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Social Experiment – by Mei Fong

In October 2015 the Chinese government announced major changes to their population policy, commonly known as the One Child policy. Instead of curbs that limited one-third of Chinese households to strictly one child, Chinese families across the nation could have two children starting from 1 Jan 2016. With incredible timing, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong‘s book One Child was at the publishers! I was invited to review it for the Los Angeles Review of Books and found Mei Fong’s book very readable – there was a perfect balance of detailed research and stories of individual people in real circumstances.   Continue reading

The Ventriloquist’s Daughter: Between Fantasy and Reality – by Lin Man-chiu

Spring 2017 will see the publication of The Ventriloquist’s Daughter, by Lin Man-chiu, tr. Helen Wang, the fourth Young Adult novel translated from Chinese and published by Balestier Press. Originally from Taiwan, Lin Man-chiu has travelled extensively in South America, and her experiences there inspired this story. The following piece is adapted from the Author’s Preface in the Chinese edition (林满秋《腹語師的女兒》), and we’re delighted to have permission to publish it here. (This piece was originally prepared for the Global Literature in Libraries InitiativePaper Republic collaboration throughout February 2017)  Continue reading

Tyrus Wong (1910-2016) and Bambi

When Walt Disney’s “Bambi” opened in 1942, critics praised its spare, haunting visual style, vastly different from anything Disney had done before. But what they did not know was that the film’s striking appearance had been created by a Chinese immigrant artist, who took as his inspiration the landscape paintings of the Song dynasty. The extent of his contribution to “Bambi,” which remains a high-water mark for film animation, would not be widely known for decades. Continue reading

Bing Xin and The Little Orange Lantern

Bing Xin 冰心 (1900-1999) is a major figure in Chinese literature, and the Bing Xin Children’s Literature Award 冰心儿童文学新作奖 is one of the four major Chinese literature awards. This month, one of Bing Xin’s most famous works, The Little Orange Lantern 《小橘灯》,was featured on Brigitte Duzan’s website Chineseshortstories (including the memoir -essay in Chinese, her translation into French, and the background to the story). Inspired by Brigitte’s post, I have created a similar version for English readers here. Continue reading