D is for Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture
By Maywan Shen Krach
Illustrated by Hongbin Zhang
This vital book introduces readers to Chinese culture, beliefs, and legends in today's context. It will help to narrow the cultural and philosophical gap between Chinese and Westerners. "D is for Doufu" explores the meanings of 23 Chinese words and phrases while providing an interesting historical and cultural background. Readers from all cultures are invited to experience the wealth of Chinese tradition as the alphabet is used to journey through five thousand years of Chinese history and relate ancient concepts to the modern western world.
This 32-page book illuminates 23 Chinese terms with both Chinese characters and hanyu-pinyin (Romanized Chinese), followed by an English translation and narrative. Chinese folk art illuminates the text and provides both whimsy and lyricism. Using handmade papers and brocades with mineral paints for the illustrations, the artist has perfected a style based upon China's ancient cave paintings created in the third century. Literature and art are brilliantly combined in this book, just as Chinese and Western thought have melded together in contemporary society.
Follow D is for Doufu with the companion activity book, I Love China.
Check out the book list and cross-curricular activities for teaching and celebrating Chinese New Year.
About the Creators
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.