[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: China Institute in America
Formats: Hardcover
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble[/alert]

This book opens with a story of a little girl nicknamed Piggy, whose mother makes her a bowl. It is a special bowl, painted specially to bring Piggy happiness and remind her of all the wonderful things in the world: clouds, flowers, butterflies, parrots, fish, bats, melons, and other fruits. The book then goes on to explain the importance of bowls in Chinese culture and the meanings of different colors and patterns on various bowls. The book ends with a beautiful poem and an invitation to create a bowl of happiness.

This book is part of a series of books called We All Live In The Forbidden City. It is a children’s book, but it is also a work of cultural anthropology, and a book you would expect to find in the gift shop at the end of a museum tour. The actual story portion of the book is short and done in watercolors. The rest of the book includes beautiful pictures of bowls and the patterns that go on them. Each pattern is dissected for meaning within traditional Chinese culture. This book is visually stunning, worthy of any coffee table. Possibly not something children can appreciate right away, but worth sharing with any child regardless.

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