The first ever children's book based on the design philosophy and architectural details of Beijing, China!
Beijing: A Symmetrical City takes children and adults on a unique adventure through the ancient Chinese metropolis of Beijing—one of the world's oldest cities, founded around the same time as Rome.
All beautifully illustrated with easy to follow text. Children can become mini experts on the historical hub! A perfect gift for children and parents, and anyone with an interest in history, architecture, travel and beyond, Beijing: A Symmetrical City:
• Features gorgeous illustrations in typical Chinese style;
• Teaches the historical significance of the names and placement of the most important buildings in the city;
• Provides background on the architect and builders that changed the course of history;
• Unearths ancient Chinese philosophy behind the city layout, rooted in harmony, balance and order.
The layout of Beijing is deeply rooted in the ancient culture of China. Award-winning illustrator, and author Yu Dawu has created captivating images that highlight the little-known symmetry of one of the world’s most aesthetically pleasing cities. Children can become mini experts on the historical hub. Each page features “Fun Facts”, providing knowledge overlooked not only by tourists, but also many residents of Beijing.
Award-winning illustrator and author Dawu Yu, after years of meticulous research, has created the wonderful and captivating images seen throughout the book—images that visually demonstrate the beauty and symmetry of one of the world’s most aesthetically pleasing cities.
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Beautifully rendered drawings are a feast for the eyes. Part architectural tour, part intro to Chinese history and culture, this book showcases one of China’s most famous landmarks.
—— Kirkus Review
This is an amazing and precious book I would certainly purchase for libraries, and for my friends, not only juniors, and most certainly for myself - to bring it along while my family and I travel to Beijing. The historical background of this grand metropolis, a 1000 years old capital of 5 dynasties, not only well written, beautifully illustrated, but also with a detailed analysis of its classical architectural design which is unique offering fascinating new insights.
——Jan Hwang, Librarian of Seattle Asian Art Museum;
Former director of Chinese Collection of Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany.
Dawu Yu’s beautiful illustrations in this book reminded me of “Along the River During the Qingming Festival”, the painting by Zhang Zeduan of the Song Dynasty. More importantly, they help to recreate the unique character of Beijing and reveal the lifestyle of its residents in the past. This book offers for anyone, especially a young person, an opportunity to learn the history, architecture and culture of Beijing.
——Renowned architect C.L. Cheng, Seattle
A really neat book detailing the architecture and history of Beijing. This book contains gorgeous drawings and is extremely informative without being too dense. I would recommend this for children age 8 and older, specifically ones who are interested in architecture.
——Mara Lyons (NetGalley)
Really enjoy this book, it feels like you're being transported to Beijing, and going on a tour in that old times. A must read book before you land first on the city itself, or even bring it with you so you can relive those emperor eras while walking around. Or like me, enjoy the book and dreaming while stay at home.
——Jo Clairefontaine (Netgalley )
The Forbidden City has its unique color coding as explained in the book. Now you have the chance to use your crayon and imagination to make a palace of your own! Feel free to download the 4 parts of the Three Main Halls, which are the most magnificent of the palace, you can conveniently print them out using your home printer, and join them together later if you wish, or you can download the complete image. The original image is also downloadable for your reference.
Resources teachers and parents can use while helping kids read the book
Dawu Yu was born in 1948 and grew up in the city. Almost all his childhood time was spent alongside the walls of the Forbidden City, the inner city in the center of Beijing, which preserves hundreds of years of history. When the Earth Tranquility Gate was torn down in 1954, his grandfather put him in a cart and brought him there to look at this north gate of the ancient inner city of Beijing one last time.
Since he became an art editor of the prestige People's Fine Art Publishing House in 1978, Mr. Yu has developed a unique style integrating elements of Chinese painting technique , Chinese culture into his illustrators, and had won several international awards including Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations by UNESCO (ACCU) in 1989.
Mr. Yu created the beautiful book, Beijing: A Symmetrical City (中文版《北京：中轴线上的城市》）, after years of meticulous research. "Decades later, I feel fortunate now about painting the old Beijing,” says Yu. “I am overwhelmed with emotions and memories, perhaps because I have deep feelings for the historic city."
With a career dedicated to comics and book illustrations, Mr. Dawu Yu has won numerous illustration awards including the Original Picture Book Award from the Asian/Pacific Culture Center for UNESCO in 1988. He was also invited to The Bologna Children's Book Fair Illustrators' Exhibition in 2000. Today, he lives with his family in his beloved city.
A short greeting by Dawu Yu from Beijing to the young readers in the United States.
The Central Axis Line is what makes Beijing a symmetrical city. How did I learn about it? Why did I want to create such a book?
Beijing is a city with 3,000 yrs of history. Dawu Yu chooses 3 period to depict in the book Beijing: A Symmetrical City: Qing Dynasty, the 1950s, and the year of 2008 when the Olympic Games was held there.
What we see now as the old Beijing and the Forbidden City is mostly Qing's heritage. The major part of the book Beijing: A Symmetrical City shows how Beijing and the palace was like during the Qing Dynasty.
Dawu Yu was born and grew up in Beijing. He remembers dearly the old Beijing before most of the gates and walls were torn down in the 1950s and 1960s. Naturally he chose the 1950s as one of the historical scenes to showcase in the book Beijing: A Symmetrical City.
The 2008 Olympics not only brings tourists, international recognition to China, but also brings numerous new buildings of modern styles to Beijing, and have the Central Axis Line extended to the north. Dawu Yu showcases a new Beijing through the Olympic buildings.
The reason there is a Central Axis Line that makes Beijing a symmetrical city, roots deeply in Chinese philosophy which values harmony, balance and order.
Mr. Dawu Yu used a traditional Chinese technique called Meticulous Brush Painting, together with some modern art concept and techniques, to create this beautiful book.
An unusual way to explore a city, especially if complex and fascinating like Beijing: very detailed and suggestive tables, short in-depth texts that, with the evident love of those who have always lived there, help to discover it. A nice text, a real discovery.
——Sara Piras (Media), NetGalley
My students (Montessori preK through 8th grade) will love the detail both in words and
illustrations that this book provides. It will become an essential resource for them. I cannot wait to buy it.
——Jessica Appel (Librarian)
I found the book delightful! The information gives the young people a real vision of this
ancient city, and I wish I had read it before I visited Beijing in 1995! Loved all the
—— Marsha Gilpatrick, retired elementary school principal, California
I found this book very interesting and it's certainly an original concept that I've never seen
before, which is very exciting!
——Belle Hart, (Reviewer), NetGalley
The book is really informative. I think the “Fun fact” and “Knowledge tips” are
very good, they help you understand the whole thing better. The little maps on
corner of the pages can show you the current location and you won’t “get lost”
—— Annabelle Oertel, 8th grader, Germany
The book was very interesting to me. Quite a few times throughout the
reading, I searched up some of the buildings because the descriptions were very
—— Sophie Zhu, 11th grader, California
I really enjoyed this book! I learned a lot! I had a friend who was Chinese and
brought me a gift from the Forbidden City. She told me about the room with all
the clocks, and now I better understand where she visited.
—— Grace Allen, former teacher, editor, Mississippi
One Kite is a children's picture book project jointly founded by 1 Plus Publishing
& Consulting, Eirya Foundation and Shan Fu Studio in 2018 in California. It aims to introduce the best original Chinese children's picture books to English-speaking young readers and educators in the US.
One Kite also specializes in collaborating with talented writers, illustrators, designers and publishers in both China and the US.
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