Chinese writer and Brazilian illustrator birds of a feather

Updated: 2013-10-15 07:39

By Mei Jia (China Daily)

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Chinese writer and Brazilian illustrator birds of a feather

A newly released picture book is a collaboration between Chinese author Cao Wenxuan and Brazilian Roger Mello. [Photo by Mei Jia / China Daily]

A Feather is a newly released picture book by two veteran authors - a writer from China and a writer-cum-illustrator from Brazil, targeted at young readers.

The result is a magical combination of concise philosophical language and beauty in the shape of different birds.

China Children's Press and Publication Group launched the Chinese version of the book written by Cao Wenxuan and illustrated by Brazilian Roger Mello, recently. A Brazil-based publisher is scheduled to publish it in Portuguese.

"The attempt to combine Chinese writers with their international peers will boost Chinese children' literature and its global appeal," says Li Jingze, a critic with the Chinese Writers' Association.

The seed of the idea for the cooperation was planted at the 2013 Bologna Children's Book Fair, one of the world's largest, in March in Italy.

A professor at Peking University, Cao is also author of best-selling novel The Grass House, which has been reprinted 160 times since its first release in 1997.

Cao says his works are mostly about two themes - social reality and the world of fantasy. Both "are written in melancholy tone and refined language", says poet and veteran writer Gao Hongbo.

"One day in strong wind I saw a white feather drifting higher and higher in the air, which stirred a series of ideas on where it originated from and is going, and which bird it belonged to," Cao says.

"Then I tell the story about the feather's journey of questing for the mother bird using the tone of children.

"I realize the use of a picture book might be the best way to present the essence of philosophy in the story. The feather embodies human life," he says.

Always interested in Chinese culture and oriental philosophy, Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello was moved by Cao's story. He has illustrated 100 picture books, 20 of which are also written by him.

"I love Cao's story told from a birds' perspective," Mello says.

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