The release of The Snow Comes Around at the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair in November was one of the highlights for Beijing Dandelion Children’s Book House, which celebrated its 12th anniversary this year. Authored by renowned children’s literature writer Mei Zihan and illustrated by Hans Christian Andersen Award-winner Igor Oleinikov, the poem-based picture book is a romantic celebration of winter.
“We brought 1,000 copies to the fair, and it was sold out during the launch presentation attended by the author and illustrator,” says Sally Yan, founder and editor-in-chief of the press. “Readers were captivated by the meticulous illustrations of the wintry landscape and intrigued by the presence of the moose on every page.” Yan also brought (and sold) 2,000 copies of Oleinikov’s A Ballad About a Small Tugboat at the event.
As usual, Yan held several talks—including the packed “Beauty of Creativity” forum featuring authors such as Mei Zihan and Peng Xuejun—at the fair to bring the publishing community together to analyze picture books and translation quality. “We have held such talks consecutively for four years now, and judging from our packed booth, we need to do even more to nurture homegrown talents, promote original titles, and increase our understanding of what makes a great picture book,” says Yan, who also celebrated the sale of the 10 millionth copy of a Richard Scarry title with a huge cake (decorated to resemble a spread from the Golden series) at the fair.
Yan and her team have just published two new titles by illustrator Jiu-er (Twelve Hound Puppies and Grandma Yulan’s Grass Hat). “The Journey and Mr. Black and White Dog are unique wordless picture books that are alternately playful, thought-provoking, and witty,” Yan says. “The latter cleverly uses the black-and-white contrast to turn a boring walk-the-dog outing into a playful activity for the protagonists and readers alike. It is about shifting a person’s perspective and attitude towards life.”
Yan says several foreign publishers are interested in the book rights. “This book goes to show that a simple storyline, given the right talent and a dedicated editor, can become a meaningful and exceptional picture book. It also shows that stories are everywhere around us.”