Ancient Stories of Historic China Unfold for Kids In The Forbidden City


Washed peacefully in the serenity of the delicate, grey sketches and drawn from the strength of tradition, In The Forbidden City is simply a breathtaking experience. The words and images seem to whisper a story of honor and legacy.We were transported into the ancient times and culture of the mystical Forbidden City.


Thank you to China Institute for providing a copy of In The Forbidden City in celebration of Chinese New Year and for the purpose of facilitating this review. 
"When you unfold this book you will travel through history in strange and surprising ways." 

- China Institute in America


My initial instinct as I sat between my toddler and my tween to read Chiu Kwong-Chiu's newly released In The Forbidden City was to protect and preserve the beauty of the book by not allowing the boys to so much as touch the book. Respect for this book and other valued items of importance will never truly be learned if they are never instructed as to proper handling. Ironically, one of the last notes from the author is a gentle reminder of the importance of preserving and passing down the not only this book, but also the stories and legacies of hope shared from generation to generation.

Researched with a devotion rarely seen and presented to young readers with historical accuracy entwined with artful storytelling and vivid imagery, my first impression was sheer amazement. Given the attention to details that teach undiluted culture with illustrations that are mesmerizing to even the most refined historians, my sons and I were living in the moment in the wonders of ancient China. Personally, I tend to have little to no interest in reading books that are historical in nature, the names, dates, places, facts, and figures are just information overload. Rising from the genre of traditional history books, In The Forbidden City reflects a passionate interest in passing down not only historic stories, the art of storytelling is the deeper value derived. 

I very highly recommend families embrace the opportunities to enjoy read-aloud sagas to be relayed to younger readers. More advanced readers will delve into the pages of In The Forbidden City discovering the legacy and lore of a palace, emperors, treasures, secrets and stories of a culture rich in tradition. 

China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City program includes children’s books and educational workshops that celebrate Chinese cultural history in ways that are accessible and fun for kids. In The Forbidden City is a large format book that comes with a magnifying glass so kids can look closely at highly detailed line drawings conveying the grandeur of it’s buildings, gardens, and courtyards. This is the Greatest Place! uses lift-flaps to teach young readers how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony.  The books have received much praise, including reviews in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus and Foreword, since releasing last fall.

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