LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today as well, as hear from the authors and illustrators.
Today we are highlighting Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments, an award-winning title from our Shen’s Books imprint, written by Emily Jiang and illustrated by April Chu. In 2013, we acquired the California-based Shen’s Books, which emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia. Continue reading
Released in March, Summoning the Phoenix gives readers an inside look into centuries-old Chinese musical instruments and the more recently formed modern Chinese Orchestra. Children of all backgrounds show that traditional Chinese music can be enjoyed by everyone. We asked illustrator April Chu to take us behind the scenes for creating the digital illustrations used in Summoning the Phoenix:
1. Before I do any sketching at all, I will read a manuscript over and over many times. Sometimes I even close my eyes and just brainstorm ideas. This step is important to me because this is when all the initial images and emotions I get from a story start forming in my head. I also start doing research and compiling photos at this point as I did for Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments. Researching is very important to me before I begin a project especially for a nonfictional picture book. In this case, researching on the Internet was not adequate since I needed to have a good detailed look at each instrument. Fortunately, the California Youth Chinese Symphony was kind enough to allow me to take photos during one of their practice sessions. I was able to get a firsthand look at how the musical instruments were played, what they sounded like, and what they looked like in real life. All those elements eventually shaped the final artwork.
We’re excited to announce a new release from our recently acquired imprint, Shen’s Books: Summoning the Phoenix, a musical and informative journey through the history of traditional Chinese instruments.