Voices of the Heart

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Overview

In this deeply personal book, Caldecott-winning artist Ed Young explores 26 Chinese characters that describe a feeling or emotion and contain the symbol of the heart. Through stunning collage art, Young interprets the visual elements within each character and uncovers layers of meaning for words such as joy and sorrow, respect and rudeness, doubt and loyalty.

Caldecott-winning children's illustrator and author Ed Young uses mixed-media collages to visually interpret ...

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1997 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 32 p. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

In this deeply personal book, Caldecott-winning artist Ed Young explores 26 Chinese characters that describe a feeling or emotion and contain the symbol of the heart. Through stunning collage art, Young interprets the visual elements within each character and uncovers layers of meaning for words such as joy and sorrow, respect and rudeness, doubt and loyalty.

Caldecott-winning children's illustrator and author Ed Young uses mixed-media collages to visually interpret the 26 Chinese characters (including Virtue, Shame, Loyalty) that each contain the symbol for the heart. Aside from the illuminating and meditative artwork, Voices of the Heart breaks down each Chinese symbol into its essential elements (Aspiration is made up of the symbols for plant, earth and heart), providing the reader with insights into the art of Chinese calligraphy.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In this unusual book, artist Young has taken twenty-six Chinese characters that all incorporate the symbol for the heart and provided his visual interpretation of the elements. For each character, there is the English word, a description of the emotion or virtue and then a decomposition of the elements in the Chinese characters that when combined together represent the word. The symbol is depicted and accompanied by Young's artistic representation in mixed media collages. While in picture book format, the concepts and art will appeal to older children and adults. It would make an interesting adjunct to a study of China, and attract those who are fascinated by language and by the way that concepts develop within a language or culture.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 UpIn perhaps his most conceptually brilliant work to date, Young introduces 26 Chinese characters, each having the symbol for the heart as a component. An illustration on each page occupies the two-thirds closest to the margin. The outer third has an English word relating to an emotion, feeling, or moral quality (joy, shame, patience, panic, etc.) with a simple definition containing the word "heart." Each section (or radical) of the word in Chinese is listed below it with a simple definition of each part and an explanation of the whole, followed by the assembled character for the concept. The Chinese writing is in seal script, which is one of the oldest forms of the language and consequently much closer visually and conceptually to its pictographic origins than today's standard printed forms. This choice is a master stroke as it prepares the mind for the stunning collage illustrations that utilize rebus format to represent the Chinese. Illustrations are of cut paper and some cloth on various paper backgrounds; sometimes backgrounds are textured, sometimes the rebus components are. All contain a heart and are bright or somber depending on the concept conveyed. Though certainly an interesting introduction to Chinese characters, this highly original tour de force will awaken children to the relation between language and thought, providing many hours of fascination and discussion.John Philbrook, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A labor of love for a versatile illustrator (see review, above) introduces some Chinese characters and invites readers to muse upon human nature. In 26 pages appear 26 thoughtful descriptions of traits such as virtue, shame, realization, and forgiveness. In "Respect," a Chinese seal or pictograph is shown at the bottom of the page; above it, its components are broken down, e.g., the symbols for "twenty," "pair of hands," and "heart," because "twenty pair of hands symbolize twenty generations. When the heart acknowledges the wisdom of twenty generations, respect develops." Filling much of the page is a modern interpretation of the seal or pictograph, collage creations made from a range of papers, from exotic handmade pieces to paper toweling. Explanations sometimes relate the concept to Chinese history, but while Young calls this a work of "personal reflection," the emotions and ideas are universal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590501996
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.30 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2000

    Artful Light into the Chinese Culture

    This book was beautifully put together. I was amazed at the artwork of the Chinese characters and the meaning behind each character. Each Chinese character shows a piece of sincerity from the heart, which is needed in today's classroom

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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