Starfish Bay Children’s Books

Starfish Bay Children’s Books is an independent publishing house based in Adelaide, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, and has published several children’s books translated from Chinese since 2015. Their website is colourful, and gives information about the authors and illustrators, and sample pages of the picture books.

Authors include Bingbo, BAI Bing, SHEN Shixi, CAI Gao and TANG Sulan. Illustrators include YU Rong, Gumi, CAI Gao, SHEN Yuanyuan, Huang Ying, JIanming ZHOU, Jiwei QIAN, Daqing, Sifan YANG, and Anne Gee Neo. The translators aren’t named, so I asked Luke Hou, Founder and Director, who said the translations are done in editorial teams.

According to their website,

We predominantly publish picture books for children aged 3 to 8. We specialise in two publishing fields:

  • We carefully select a range of translated books from around the world that are excellent stories with imaginative and intriguing illustrations. We hope teachers and parents will find these books useful in encouraging children’s cultural awareness.
  • We like to publish original creative work by both new and established authors. We publish books through a traditional process.

I found a total of 11 books translated from Chinese on their website. Here are the books translated from Chinese so far, followed by those due later in 2017 and 2018. Click on the titles to go through to the relevant webpage:

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Free As A Cloud, by BAI Bing, illustrated by YU Rong (2017)

A group of books by Bingbo, illustrated by Gumi, published 2015-2016:

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The Busy Tailor Crab, by Bingbo, illustrated by Gumi (2016)

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Two Unhappy Fish, by Bingbo, illustrated by Gumi (2015)

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The Pear Violin, by Bingbo, illustrated by Gumi (2015)

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The Moving House, by Bingbo, illustrated by Huangying (2015)

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The Cowardly Lion, by Bingbo, illustrated by Jianming ZHOU (2015)

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Little Bear’s Sunlight, by Bingbo, illustrated by Jiwei QIAN and Daqing (2015)

Books to look out for in the future:

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Where Should Grace the Witch Live?, by Sulan TANG, illustrated by Sifan Yang (2017)

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How I Came to Be Me, written and illustrated by Gao CAI (Jan 2018)

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What a Beautiful Name!, by Sulan TANG, illustrated by Ann Gee Neo (Feb 2018)

 

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Who is Wenzheng Fu?

Wenzheng Fu 符文征 is the author and illustrator of the picture book Buddy Is So Annoying 《我真讨厌宝弟》 published in China in 2016, and now available in English, and in bilingual Chinese/English editions, thanks to Candied Plums and translator Adam Lanphier. This warm story about a little boy and his (sometimes annoying) friend Buddy, the boar, won a China Excellent Children’s Book Award in 2014.

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Buddy Is So Annoying 《我真讨厌宝弟》(Source: Candied Plums)

On the Candied Plums website (which is bilingual and full of interesting things like sample pages, audio books, reviews and information), we read that “Fu Wenzheng is an art professor as well as a picture book creator. She loves travelling on vacations. She is working on her next picture book The Messenger A Wen.” She has received the following awards: “Excellent Award for 2016 Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition, and The Best Children’s Books of the Year 2014.”

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Wenzheng FU 符文征 (Source: Candied Plums)

Fu is her family name, and Wenzheng is her given name. In China it’s more usual to put the family name first and call her Fu Wenzheng. The English style is to put the family name last, and call her Wenzheng Fu.

We wanted to know more! There’s not much information available in English (yet), but Minjie found an interesting interview in Chinese, and now we know a little bit more about her!

Wenzheng Fu teaches in the Cultural Products Department at Fujian Normal University’s Union College. In the interview on her college website, she says, “When I was little, I was quite a tomboy. I used to play with the neighbours’ children – three boys who were older than me, and a girl who was younger. We had such a crazy time, running about all over the place. We did exciting things and were so creative. We’d go up into the hills and bake sweet potatoes. We’d search for water snails in the river. We’d show off, and want to be the best. We’d copy each other’s homework. We’d stay out really late. We’d play “Don’t Cross the 38th Parallel” [drawing a line on the ground or table that the others weren’t to cross – referring to the dividing line between North and South Korea], and we’d be as cheeky and lippy as Sun Wukong [The Monkey King]! Buddy Is So Annoying is full of things from my childhood!”

It seems Wenzheng Fu was destined for a career in art. At kindergarten, she was always drawing with chalk on the ground. A turning point came when she scratched a picture on a brand new red metal door at home. It was a picture of Zhu Bajie [Pigsy, The Monkey King’s friend in Journey to the West]. Her parents’ solution was to send her to art classes.

Years later, Wenzheng Fu did her undergraduate studies at Fujian University’s College of Fine Art, then went to study Illustration at Zhejiang Science and Engineering University’s School of Art and Design. This was when she started creating picture books. One of the picture books she created at this time was published: Mr Crocodile Takes the Elevator 《鳄鱼先生坐电梯》. It also won a university prize and a regional prize.

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Mr Crocodile Takes the Elevator 《鳄鱼先生坐电梯》 (Source: www.yejychina.com – there are more images of the inside of the book)

Wenzheng Fu’s most recent book is Ah Shi and the Flower Patterned Cloth 《阿诗有块大花布》 (untranslated). Her striking artwork for this book – in red, white and grey – was exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2017.

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Ah Shi and the Flower Patterned Cloth 《阿诗有块大花布》 (Source: weibo)

 

Wenzheng Fu is a big name in China, especially in Fujian, where she and her books were the centre of attention for World Book Day, in April 2017.

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The banner reads: “Let’s read, Fujian!” “Reading for pleasure, that’s the way to go!” 2017 World Book Day Main Event: “You Are Unique. You Are a Treasure” – a special event to share the picture books created by Wenzheng Fu

UPDATE (19 June 2017): See more of Wenzheng Fu’s work on zcool.com.cn

The Ventriloquist’s Daughter – now available!

The Ventriloquist’s Daughter, by Lin Man-Chiu, translated by Helen Wang, and published by Balestier Press is now available! Details here.

Read the author’s introduction “Between Fantasy and Reality” here

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Author’s name and book-title in Chinese: 林满秋:《腹語師的女兒》

 

 

A picture’s worth a thousand words…

On 3 November, we posted a piece about Zhang Xinxin and Little People’s Books. Zhang Xinxin created the beautiful banner for our blog, and she kindly highlighted our blog on her Weibo page. It seems we are not the only people who like this image. On 11 November, the Chinese periodical Wen yi bao (“Literature and Arts Paper”) reproduced it in its print and online edition.  Continue reading