China Institute

bowls of happiness cover

Bowls of Happiness
November 17, 2015
Ages 4+
Brian Tse, author
Alice Mak, illustrator
Ben Wang, translator
Hardcover, $12.95 US
80 pages

did you have fun mr emperor cover

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?
December 1, 2015
Ages 8+
Chiu Kwong-chiu, author
Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, illustrations
Ben Wang, translator
Hardcover, $12.95 US
8”x8”, 108 pages



China Institute in America

Publisher of “We All Live in the Forbidden City” series


Stephanie Ridge | | 512-481-7681 | Twitter: @stephanieridge



Founded in 1926, China Institute in America is a non-profit educational and cultural institution that advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business, and art in the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens our global community. It is based in New York.


As our communities become more and more diverse, many parents are looking for tools to help their children develop a deeper understanding of their neighbors.

To introduce children to Chinese culture at an early age, China Institute in America released a four-book series called “We All Live in the Forbidden City.” The books are part of China Institute’s children’s programming which aims to bridge the Asian culture gap through educational resources and regional workshops. Originally created in Hong Kong, the U.S. editions are co-published with Tuttle Publishing, the world’s largest English-language publisher.

The first two titles, In the Forbidden City and This Is The Greatest Place!, garnered widespread reviews among trade and consumer media when they launched last fall. School Library Journal praised In the Forbidden City for taking a “potentially complicated and confusing subject accessible and fascinating without oversimplifying it.” Kirkus Reviews called it “an impressive introduction to the Forbidden City.”

This Fall, two more installments continue the tradition of “We All Live in the Forbidden City” books. Bowls of Happiness (ages 4+) and What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? (ages 8+) celebrate the Forbidden City, which is now called the Palace Museum, and the study of architecture, imperial life, and Chinese cultural history in ways that are accessible, appealing, and relevant to children, parents and teachers.


Bowls of Happiness was created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak. It teaches children about Chinese artwork and culture and their universal spirit of generosity, love, and respect for nature. The illustrations are coupled with photographs of porcelain art found in the Palace Museum’s collection. Kids ages 4+ will learn about how bowls are made and be able to draw their own Bowl of Happiness after reading the story.

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? by Chiu Kwong-chiu take readers through the average life of an emperor. Kids 8+ will learn about the real people who lived in the palace, including the prince who fought off a rebel invasion, the palace maids who lived in the Inner Court, the emperor who ruled twice, and the emperor who loved crickets.

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