Read a story. Learn more about the world.
Our “Fairy Tales of the World” collection is out!

Through the lens of folklore, understanding the essential cultural traits of a country.

Over the course of three years of time, this project involved the work of 50 people, an extraordinary talent hunt through 15 countries and in seven languages—as well as countless hours of dialogue, creation, translation and editing, to finally obtain this ten-book bilingual (Chinese-English) series of picture books.

We are now proud to present works by remarkable authors hailing from China, Hungary, Korea, Peru, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

An ambitious and creative project:

The first international collection of original picture books completely created in China
One classic fairy tale per country, as a key to understanding the local culture
Four continents, ten countries, two hundred information paragraphs
Introductions to each country’s culture and storytelling traditions by renowned experts and researchers
A simultaneous creative experiment led by first-rate writers and illustrators
Native-language writing, Chinese-English translation

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Publisher: New Star Press
Publication Date: 2013-09-01
ISBN: 9787513313490

Cover Type: Hardcover
Pages: 440
Books Per Set: 10 Books

Our books are currently out of print. In case of a reprint, we will send out a notice through our public WeChat account.

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Want to learn more?
Please click the covers.

The Solar Terms

Written and illustrated by Xiong Liang
(China)

This ancestral story revolves around an idea at the heart of Chinese civilization: that of the solar terms. According to this notion, which goes back to times immemorial, the lunar year is divided into 24 periods of time, within which the earth undergoes a series of significant changes. It stands as a significant example of China’s traditional philosophy, according to which man is at one with nature — not above nor below.

Accordingly, the main character of this book is none other than the earth itself, personified as an adorable little figure of clay, from the time it wakes from its winter slumber until the time it goes to sleep again.

It is a tribute to Xiong Liang’s mastery of traditional Chinese ink painting that his subtle art will capture the imagination of the youngest readers, while also remaining a source of wonder and inspiration in the eyes of their elders.

The Devil’s Bridge

Written by Estelle Luo Bing
Illustrated by Mila Allemann
(Switzerland)

A legend full of the fragrance of bucolic life, and rich with the down-to-earth wisdom of the Alpine meadows…

In the depths of mountainous Switzerland, some bridges were built in ancient times over such perilous ravines that they now look like the work of supernatural beings. This is the story of one such bridge, constructed by the Devil himself for the inhabitants of a little village. How convenient! Except that the first person to cross it has to forfeit their soul…

Young illustrator Mila blended traditional Swiss paper cut-outs and Chinese-style watercolour to depict this story, which resonates with the crystalline and moving ring of a shepherd’s tune.

Ayaymama

Written by Claudia Aréstegui
Illustrated by Andrea Vela Alarcón
(Peru)

The mountains are the backbone of Peru, the rivers are its blood, and the Amazon forest is its heart. This mysterious legend, come from the depths of the rainforest, beckons its readers to start off on an unknown path, and explore.

“Ayaymama” is a story representative of the Peruvian’s intimate connection with nature, a mother to everything that lives. Illustrator Andrea’s elegant and minimalistic visual art, reminiscent of pre-Columbian motifs, is that of a world outside of time, in which fundamental truths are as clear as the very first day.

Johnny Fruitcake

Written by Sasha Lewis
Illustrated by Natalka Stephenson
(UK)

This old folkloric story originated in the North of England. It was interpretated anew for Meridian by Sasha Lewis and Natalka Stephenson.

In a typical English cottage there lived a little family. One day, the little boy put a fruitcake to bake in the oven. But when he opened the door to see if the cake was ready, what a surprise to see the cake leap up, on little human legs, and jump out of the window!

The little cake then embarks on a wild adventure across the forest, in this jolly tale written like a nursery rhyme, and peppered with plenty of British humour.

The Tiger and the Persimmon

Written and illustrated by Joung Yumi
(Korea)

It isn’t surprising that, as a country covered in forests, Korea would consider the tiger—king of the forest—as its foremost totem. In a land known as “the country where people speak of tigers,” the mothers of little children like to tell tales of big and ferocious striped felines. But whoever heard of a tiger so timorous as to be scared of… a persimmon?

In this book, award-winning young illustrator Joung Yumi draws the most endearing tiger you’ll ever meet, a round and peaceable creature scared of everything—including soft red fruits.

No doubt every reader, big and small, is in for a good laugh.

Little Vampire Dreams of Planes

Written by Codruta Birlea
Illustrated by Ralu Illin
(Romania)

Every child in the world, sooner or later, likes to hear vampire stories. But none of them should miss this new rendition of the theme!

One day, a little vampire decides to go visit the world of the humans his erudite uncle told him so much about, along with Fuuf, his fluffy pet owl. His dream is to finally see a plane up-close. On his trip, he will meet a world chaotic and disturbing, but he will also meet his first friend.

This charming and colorful story reminds one of what it feels like to discover the wide, wide world as a child.

The Black-Backed Jackal

Written by Mikaela Keen Illustrated by Melany Pietersen
(South Africa)

The special link with nature, which the South African Semitic and Bushmen aboriginal communities preserve traditionally, is the focus and the starting point of this story.

In the local storytelling folklore, the fox is an animal testifying to the origins and the evolution of mankind since the dawn of times. The black-backed jackal, on the other hand, is cunning and deceitful, and thus generally plays the role of the villain.

They are not alone: in the firy sands of Africa, the sun itself is an important character; this story’s Son of the Sun personifies the human power to do good, and the pursuit of justice.

Miklos’ Adventures

Written and illustrated by Istvan Buzay
(Hungary)

Much to the bewilderment of Chinese people, Western dragons tend to be evil, fire-breathing creatures—not exactly the life-bringing, auspicious totems found in China… In Hungary, these monsters are even worse: they have twelve heads, and they gobble up the sun, the moon and the stars!

Thankfully, a courageous young champion appears to teach them a few things, and marry a princess to boot. Istvan Buzay made use of typical Hungarian colours and graphic styles to design a stunning multicoloured work, full of visual boldness and humour.

Little Chickpea

Written by Clara Roquet
Illustrated by Conrad Roset
(Spain)

One day, a tiny little boy was born inside a steaming pot of chickpeas, to the delight of his parents. Despite being very small and inexperienced, his cleverness and ingenuity enabled him to triumph over adversaries much bigger and stronger than him, such as Tantarantan, the terrible giant…

Little children are often curious about how they came to the world. This classic fairy tale, resonates with their curiosity, and shows them they needn’t be afraid of the vast, threatening world. Beautiful illustrations by one of Spain’s rising stars.

John's Balloon - Portugal

John’s Balloon

Written by André Águas & Tomás Machado
Illustrated by Joana Cavadas
(Portugal)

The story of “John’s Balloon” is originally a very well-known nursery rhyme in Portugal. It conveys a message of fortitude and resolution in the pursuit of one’s dreams, despite all obstacles.

In this original version written by our authors, little John’s balloon suddenly flies away; but instead of crying over his loss, he decides to run after it, and vows to catch it eventually—even if it takes him all day! His adventure leads him all across Portugal, where he meets historical figures and important symbols of Portuguese identity, which help him grow confident and grow—until he finally gets his balloon back!

Joana’s refined collages and visual invention make this pursuit all the more enjoyable to read.

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