In the Forbidden City by Kwong Chiu Chiu, Ben Wang

In the Forbidden City

Written by Kwong Chiu Chiu, Ben Wang
Illustrated by


In the Forbidden City by Kwong Chiu Chiu, Ben Wang

Readers become tourists as each page turn provides views into labyrinthine courtyards and palaces once reserved for imperial China's emperors (...) An impressive introduction to the Forbidden City. - KirkusServing as the seat of imperial power for six centuries, the Forbidden City is one of China's most famous and enigmatic landmarks. Accompanied by a mischievous cat, readers will tour this colossal architectural structure, discovering the secrets hidden inside the palace walls. They will encounter the people who have walked through its halls and gardens, including emperors, empresses, and rebel leaders, and hear exciting tales about the power struggles and intrigues of everyday life.This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous fold-out spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely. Readers receive a lavish tour of the Forbidden City, once home to Chinese emperors and now a museum, courtesy of Chiu and the Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, which he founded. Delicate line drawings highlight the architectural intricacies of the nearly 178-acre complex (several foldout spreads emphasize its size) while Chiu examines the Ming and Qing dynasties in thorough detail, along with major events in the palace's history. (In one foldout scene, 24 emperors offer pithy, even brusque notes on their reigns - I was entirely unaccomplished, says Emperor Longqing.) A magnifying glass is wisely included to help readers appreciate the wealth of visual detail. - Publishers Weekly


This book contains a fascinating account of life beyond the gates of the Forbidden City during the Ming and Qing dynasties. An extensive survey of its history is included, with line drawings and fold-out spreads that cover everything from the lives of palace inhabitants to the numerous political conflicts and intrigues that was an inevitable part of palace life. -Travel Life magazine While the text is aimed at upper elementary students, readers of all ages will spend hours poring over the pages to make sure they catch it all. This is one of the first books from the We All Live in the Forbidden City program to be translated into English, and if this book is any indication, librarians and students will look forward to future titles. An excellent, exquisitely designed volume. -School Library Journal Personally, I love the illustrations and all of the information included in the book. I've been learning a ton, and I've still got lots of the book to read! This book would be a wonderful gift for anyone interested in the Forbidden City or Chinese Imperial history. I highly recommend both! -Growing My Kids Reviews blog Rarely a book comes into our home that grabs the attention of every member of our family as this one has. In the Forbidden City is part history book, part art book, part scavenger hunt... It is such a lovely book and one that I'm sure will educate and entertain my family for a long time. For Chinese history fans or newbies alike, this would make a great gift. -Cherry Blossoms blog This was an amazingly complete book. I have never been to the Forbidden City, but this book takes you through the entire city and allows you to explore why this city is so amazing. Each section in this book shows you why each part was made, when it was made, who made it and what it means. I loved the magnifying glass in the back of the book as there was so much on each page and the illustrations were so well done with so much detail you needed the magnifying glass to blow up the pictures to see everything. You will learn so much about every part of the city and this book will definitely intrigue you and encourage you to visit this amazing place soon! -Dad of Divas blog Travel through time as the book unfolds the history of the Forbidden City. How some of the emperors became wealthy and powerful, how the empire suffered a slow decline crippled by invasions from foreign countries. Take a tour through the Meridian Gate; The Year Ten Thousand Envoys came to pay tribute (The Gate of Supreme Harmony), Hall of Mental Cultivation, the North Gate of the Forbidden City and many more... The book also gives detailed pencil outline drawings of the Forbidden City, including the buildings, gardens, courtyards and more with symmetrical layouts. I really enjoyed reading the book and I hope you will too. -Mymcbook's Blog In the Forbidden City is another learning tool for your child on all that it took to build this popular landmark. My son loved following the mischievous cat that takes you on the journey in and throughout the Forbidden City. With all of the fold out pages inside, your child's eyes will light up as these amazing drawings takes them inside this 'secret city

-Parenting Healthy blog My favorite part of this book is that great care has been taken to encourage children to interact with the story. There is a plastic magnifying glass included to allow careful examination of the detailed black and white illustrations - which are essentially a more sophisticated version of the popular 'Where's Waldo?

-Smart Mom Picks blog

About the Author

Chiu Kwong-chiu is an artist, designer, and professor who explores Chinese traditional visual arts and adopts groundbreaking methods to interpret and promote Chinese art and culture. He founded the CnC Design and Cultural Studies Workshop in Hong Kong, where he provides guidance and leadership in the research, interpretation, and promotion of traditional and contemporary design and Chinese culture.Ben Wang (translator) is a senior lecturer in humanities at China Institute, an instructor of Chinese at the United Nations, and guest lecturer at numerous prestigious academic and cultural institutions.

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Book Info


52 pages
Interest Age: From 9 to 12 years


Kwong Chiu Chiu, Ben Wang
More books by Kwong Chiu Chiu, Ben Wang


China Institute Gallery, China Institute in America

Publication date

14th October 2014



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