Category Archives: Book Notes

Candied Plums in New York!

The Chinese bilingual picture books published by Candied Plums are now widely available through various book wholesalers and retailers: including Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble online.

The editor and rights manager Lisa Lee attended BEA in New York and met many librarians and booksellers who all marveled at how well made, original, and beautiful these bilingual (and some English only) books are.  As a consultant to the company, I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.  It has been a joy to work with Candied Plums and especially Lisa and a privilege to provide a service to a much needed corner of the children’s literature field.

candiedplumslogo

 

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Chinese/English Bilingual Books from Candied Plums

It’s FINALLY happening!!  So excited to report that the first group of books (20 titles) from Candied Plums, an imprint of Paper Republic, located in Seattle and Beijing, are finally available in the U.S. marketplace.

You can purchase the titles through Amazon or Baker and Taylor (and hopefully more venues in the immediate future.)

I have proudly served as Candied Plums consultant for the last year and a half and am impressed by the diligence and vision of those who venture into this new territory with me.  Manager Richard Li (Li Yun), editorial and rights coordinator Lisa Li (Li Xiaocui,) and editor Nancy Zhang (Zhang Tong) have poured their heart and soul into bringing the best contemporary children’s picture books to American readers: both Mandarin Learners and non-Chinese readers.  Some titles are available in both English and Bilingual Chinese (with English translation at the back of each book) versions while some are only available in Bilingual Chinese version.

Kirkus has reviewed some of titles and it seems that the reviewers all adore the stories and illustrations but worry about the fact that the English translation of the bilingual version does not appear along side the Chinese text.  This is a deliberate choice by the editorial team.  We want to present the books as close to their original version as possible while still giving the English readers a completely clear sense of what each page conveys.  It is a bold and risky choice — but perhaps it is also a chance for readers of all ages to get excited about something new and groundbreaking.  The company’s budding website will include companion audio recordings of each title.  I can see a fun library program where the librarian can play the audio version, stopping to translate each page with the provided English text, and give the young audience the pleasure of the storyline, the illustrations, and hearing an unfamiliar but widely used language in the world.

To give a bit of a taste of what the books are like, here are two titles and links to their reviews by Kirkus.

candiedhawberries

Who Wants Candied Hawberries?

buddyannoying

Buddy is So Annoying

Candied Plums’ Winter 2016/2017 Catalog also offers detailed information, description, and language learning levels.

Please also visit the Candied Plums’ Website.  Spread the word and give us feedback so we can continue bringing the best of Chinese children’s books to American young readers, schools, libraries, and families.

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The Book of Dust Trilogy – Philip Pullman. I’m freaking out!

I kind of knew about this upcoming fantasy for a while but didn’t realize that it’s not just ONE book, but a TRILOGY.  Woot!

Can’t wait to have new words, new phrases, new characters, new magical experiences and new emotional responses to Pullman’s creation.  The world is a richer place because it contains His Dark Materials and the wisdom of Philip Pullman!

Read the Guardian article here:

Philip Pullman unveils epic fantasy trilogy The Book of Dust

willandlyraschair

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Nameless City by Hicks – RWW Review

I’d like to draw attention to this thoughtful review of Erin Hicks’ graphic novel Nameless City over at Reading While White blog, I could not bring myself to reading most of the book, because of my own strong emotional (mostly adverse) reaction the raised concerns explored by Angie Manfredi in her review.  I did not speak up about this title because I strongly believe that one cannot critique a book without reading the book in its entirety and closely examining its many components.  (I felt the same about Ryan Gaudin’s The Walled City and Richelle Mead’s Soundless, both “inspired” and “loosely based” on an exoticized old China without the authors’ true understanding of the very real, and very much “living” culture or paying tribute to the long established literary tradition in this particular country.)

 

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Extreme Vetting

I woke this morning and looked out the window.  I saw three flying cars and two tooth fairies. I closed the blinds and SHRIEKED!  Suddenly one of the tooth fairies busted through my window and grabbed one of my teeth.  She pulled it straight out of my mouth, blood gushing, and then my house turned into a cat.

At least I made 10 bucks!

I used the money to buy another cat.  It was green and I named it Bob.  Then, with my leftover money, I bought a unicorn. The cars were still coming at one of my cats (my house!) Suddenly, my cat (the house) collapsed and it fell on me!

My unicorn bought ice cream and pizza for us so we can come back to life.  (Cause it’s yummy.)  When we were revived, we started to pass gas, used the bathroom, and barfed everywhere.  Then the ice cream and pizza came to life and said, “What’s your favorite color?”  Then we ate the cat and the unicorn.  

Next, we had a funeral for the cat and the unicorn.  It was a very sad and depressing ceremony.

Can you guess what my name is?  (Hint: DJT)

(This is an extremely silly story made up by 4th grade students as part of a “Search Engine” experiment.)

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An Average Day

This morning I woke up and looked out the window. It was snowing like crazy! Mayor Miranda decided that it would be a snow day. All the kids who attend schools were excited that it was a snow day. Then all of a sudden, a giant monster ate Mayor Miranda!!! The monster stomped around causing fear and destruction.

Everyone stayed inside all day because of the monster. Some kids could see the monster stomping around the city. The monster burped and destroyed most of the houses. Then, Bob the Builder the Assassin killed the monster with a bomb. Even though he killed the monster, he also destroyed the city with the bomb.

Then, a mutant underwear ate the bomb. But there was another assassin and the two assassins tried to kill the mutant underwear. Bob the Builder called the Pink Fluffy Unicorn to help. But Dumbledore was so mad that he started shouting the elder curse but without saying all the “beeeeeeeeeps.”

A new assassin, the Poop Assassin, came and killed the Pink Fluffy Unicorn and it called for all the mutant fingernails to kill every other underwear and toxic poop. The wizard guy trapped the people into the Underworld and killed all the people and then killed himself.

But then, since the monster that ate Mayor Miranda didn’t chew her but only swallowed her, so when the monster died, Mayor Miranda survived.

That was a Nasty Dream!

(This is a 4th grade class exercise for Search Engine efficiency, strategy, and reliability.)

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Jesus and the Passed Gas

This morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was pouring rain.  My neighbor was practically swimming.  My eyes wandered around my backyard when they landed on something shiny.

I put my raincoat on and went outside to check it out.  It was this weird piece of rock.  I picked it up and something strange happened.  Jake Paul came by, surfing somehow in the air.  Then magically, Madeleine G. flew in the air and dabbed, whipped, and nae-nae’ed. She fell and got run over by a car.

She ran!  Something dropped out of her pocket: A POTION!  I ran to it and picked it up. It wasn’t marked poison, so I took a sip.  Two things happened: first, my eyesight got really good, and then I fell through a trapdoor!  I woke up and Jake Paul said to me, “I am Jesus in disguise.”  Then he disappeared and a cross took his place.  

I passed gas and a bomb fell from the sky to blow me up.  At the last second of my life, I thought, “How could this happen to me?”

THE END

(A story composed as part of an internet/information literacy unit by my 4th grade students.)

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