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WEI Jie (Text) / LI Xiaoguang (Ill.)

Damals, im Sommer

A picture book from China

Translated from Chinese by Brigitte Koller Abdi
© 2023 Baobab Books
40 pages, hardcover, approx. 28,5 x 22 cm
CHF 25.00 / € [D] 22,00 / € [A] 22,70
ISBN 978-3-907277-20-1
Ages 5 and up

What a lush summer: the gardens and fields are thriving. Large melons ripen next to slender cucumbers, the plum tree bears abundant fruit, the beans climb high ... Life in this lovely mountain valley seems almost paradisiacal. But in the midst of this splendour, it is time to say goodbye: The family that tends this garden will soon move to the city. The father has found work there. What kind of life awaits them? The feelings of the three siblings fluctuate between anticipation, excitement and melancholy. What should they take with them to the new world? Will there also be a market there where they can find everything? Will they make new friends in the unknown city? They visit their favourite places again to say goodbye, meet up with their friends one last time. Then, at some point, everything is packed and the house is emptied. On the eve of departure, a bright star rises in the sky – has it come to say goodbye? Will it even accompany the family to the new world?
The finely told story of farewell and new beginning leaves room for the children's fluctuating feelings. The woodcuts with which the artist Li Xiaoguang illustrates the story in a powerful and detailed way capture the liveliness and emotionality of the moment. Our inner eye immediately fills the black and white lines of the classic woodblock prints with colour.
Li worked for two years on the pictures for this text by Wei Jie. The picture book was awarded as one of the most beautiful books in China.

The author

WEI Jie (*1972) comes from the Chinese province of Shaanxi. At the age of nine, she moved with her family from the countryside to the city. Today she lives in Shanghai. In addition to her work as an editor in a children's book publishing house, she is a freelance children's author and has already published numerous books. She was awarded the Chinese Chen Bochui Prize for Children's Literature, among other prizes. The once tranquil village of her childhood is now home to high-rise buildings.

The illustrator

LI Xiaoguang (*1975) was born in Ji County, China. He was still a child when the family moved to the city of Tangshan. After studying art at Hebei University, he completed a master's degree in printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2009.
Li has received several awards for his work and his works can be found in important national art collections in China. In addition to his work as a freelance artist, he now teaches at the Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts.

Original edition: «夏天的故事» (Xiatian de gushi)
© 2020 Beijing Poplar Culture Project Co., China