On my 10-day trip to Beijing in August 2015, attending the Beijing International Book Fair and meeting with various publishers, editors, and booksellers, I collected some names and information to share. In this post, three authors, three publishers, and one mega store are mentioned, but of course there are more in that vast land full of talented and passionate children’s book creators! As I learn more about specific titles, I will continue to report.
One of the most revered current children’s book author is 曹文轩 Cao Wenxuan (pronounced “tsau wen-shuan”)。He teaches Chinese literature and children’s fiction writing at the Beijing University and is sought after by many Children’s book publishers for fiction, picture books, nonfiction, and editorial advisory on book series. His picture books tend to be philosophical in nature, slightly wordy, and not shying away from presenting harsh realities to even the very young. Here’s a link to a short info on Wikipedia.
A book recently translated and published by NorthSouth Books by a Chinese author is Grandmother Lives in A Perfume Village by 方素珍 Fang Suzhen. Fang is a Taiwan native and has become really popular in China and is nicknamed “Granny Flower” (花婆婆) who has a literary blog and advises parents on how to share children’s books with their children. She’s the Taiwan translator for Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius (Granny Flower). Fang’s blog is in Chinese.
I fell in love with many of the picture books by 熊亮 Xiong Liang (pronounced shuong liang). Mr. Xiong is both an illustrator and an author with the uncanny ability to tell very moving stories with very few words and simple story arcs. I hope many non-Chinese readers will eventually get to appreciate his work. Here are a couple cover images:
These three publishers all have their own visions and skilled editors to bring Chinese children the highest quality contemporary original works. The official and formal descriptions do not do their justice!
21 Century Books and its 20-volume set of original middle grade novels by Chinese authors definitely captured my attention:
Ming Tian (Tomorrow) Publisher as part of the Shan Dong publishing group has some of the best original picture books around:
海燕 (Petrel) Publishing House just ventured into making their own picture books and novels for children after bringing many quality translated work to China from overseas:
One Mega Store
当当 (DangDang.com) is one of the major online shopping stores in China and many if not most parents buy their children’s books from this outlet which hosts book and reading events, creates age-level and genre book lists, and compiles tailormade book lists (by human sales reps, not just algorithms), etc. for their loyal customers.
As the site claims, this is the world’s biggest children’s books online seller, where according to the report by its sales manager local Chinese and imported foreign books have equal shares of the market. Check it out: http://touch.m.dangdang.com/topics.php?page_id=40131&sid=cbb00b359ca906be87bf470ace50a1ec
3 responses to “Notes from Beijing: Children’s Book Authors & Companies”
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Hi Roxanne, I really enjoyed reading your blog on your Beijing visit. Thanks to Monica for posting the link on her blog. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to pay more attention to children’s books during my month in China — I think I visited only one book store — that in a busy shopping area in Beijing. We ended our stay in Beijing in Nanluoguxiang, which we enjoyed, although it was jammed with visitors during the National Holiday period. I hope there will be more Chinese books coming this way. Some wonderful illustrations! Welcome home.
Thanks, Linnea. There are some really amazing offerings with both traditional and contemporary content. And yes, I think it is high time that the American children get some exposure to them! Let’s hope. Also I enjoyed Nanluoguxiang very much but liked the quieter side alley ways a bit more than the crowded main street.