D Is for Doufu


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About the Author

Maywan Shen Krach is the author of I Love China: A Companion Book to D is for Doufu. She was born and educated in Taiwan, but came over to the United States when she was 23 years old for graduate studies. After teaching ten years in the public school systems, she started Shen's Books as a publisher and a distributor of children's literature that affirm universal values.

Hongbin Zhang was born in Beijing, China, and was accepted into the prestigious Beijing Central Academy of Arts at the age of 14. He used many uncommon painting surfaces to create the illustrations in D Is for Doufu, including silk, hand-made paper, rice paper, and brocaded fabric, all of which added extraordinary visual effects to the book.


While this elegantly illustrated volume will hardly launch readers on the road to fluency, it does cogently explain the "construction" of Chinese pictograms and interpret how their component symbols combine to make a word with a meaning larger than the sum of its parts. As Krach explains, the pictogram for en, or grace, is formed as follows: 'A person resting [symbol] upon a square mat [symbol] means to rely upon. It is combined with the heart [symbol] below. Whoever relies on his heart achieves grace.' Not all terms are so ethereal-- dou fu (tofu), guo (China), and ma jiang (mahjongg) are among the more worldly entries-- and a paragraph or two sets each term into its cultural context. A concluding page offers Mandarin pronunciation keys and a guide to tonal changes. -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's BooksParents' Guide to Children's Media Award, Parents' Choice Foundation
Skipping Stones Honor Award, Skipping Stones Magazine

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