In 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.
DONG Yanan 董亚楠 is the author and illustrator of the gorgeous book Express Delivery from Dinosaur World, which she created while she was a student at the Picture Books Studio at the Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) (中央美术学院绘本创作工作室) in Beijing. So far, the book has earned her first prize in the CAFA 2014 Student Design Award, and a special award in the 8B Design Awards; and its English translation, by Helen Wang, received a Kirkus starred review. Continue reading →
Meng Yanan’s picture book Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (孟亚楠：《中秋节快乐》) won the gold prize in the 2016 Bronze and Sunflower Picture Book Awards 青铜葵花图画书奖. Congratulations to Meng Yanan, and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to everyone! Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
One of the most beautiful picture books that I’ve seen in the last few years is the bilingual A Tree 《树》 by the Chinese writer and illustrator San Zhi 三只. I’m not surprised that it was one of the books on the “10 picture books you can’t miss” list that we’ve written about earlier. Continue reading →
The King of Hide-and-Seek [躲猫猫大王] / written by Zhang Xiaoling 张晓玲; illustrated by Pan Jian 潘坚. Jinan, China: Ming tian chu ban she, 2008.
When I first came to the United States and lived in a campus town, I was struck by how often I encountered people in wheelchairs—maneuvering coolly on the street, wheeling onto buses that knelt gracefully before letting down a ramp, shopping in the store, and studying in classrooms and libraries. “Why is there a higher rate of disability in the US than in China?” I wondered for a moment before realizing my mistake. The accessibility-compliant public facilities and educational services in the university allowed more people with disabilities to carry on active, and visible, social and academic lives. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →