Sister – by Peng Xuejun

nishiwo1Peng Xuejun’s 彭学军 award winning novel Sister 《你是我的妹》 is a beautiful and dramatic story for older children that takes place in Yunnan, sometime in the early 1970s. The young protagonist and narrator is a nine-year-old girl whose mother has been sent down to the countryside to learn from the people. The family (the narrator has a sister) settles in a tiny village with a population of farmers belonging to the Miao people, and although life here is very different and certainly harder and more austere than in the city, it’s also a new and interesting world for the children to explore.  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

I am a tiger!

tiger4I am a tiger, who am I scared of? 《我是老虎我怕谁》 is the name of this lovely picture book by Wang Zumin 王祖民 and Wang Ying 王莺. Tiger isn’t a very nice animal. He’s big and strong and as the king of the animals (well, in his own opinion, at least) he doesn’t need to be considerate or nice to anyone. Continue reading

A Brief History of Chinese Literature for Children, What Sells Now, and More

My last post focused on a single question posed by Marcia Lynx Qualey, initiator of #WorldKidLit Month (September). In fact, during our conversation, she asked more questions, and these went into a second blogpost on 30 September, a timely coincidence as 30 September is International Translation Day! Again, many thanks to Marcia for allowing me to cross-post the second piece here. 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