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The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China Hardcover – October 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316076287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316076289
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-Young's father builds a house for his growing family and for others who join them. Against the background of World War II, the author shares childhood memories of changing seasons, raising silkworms, and picnicking by the pool. This oversize book with foldout pages is illustrated with photos, drawings, and collage. Includes a time line and a diagram of the house.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Born in Tientsin, China, he grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. Ed Youn was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, and The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice were named Caldecott Honor Books. Wabi Sabi, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book in 2008.


More About the Author

Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is the illustrator of over eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written.
He finds inspiration for his work in the philosophy of Chinese painting. 'A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words,' explains Young. 'They are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe.'
Born in Tientsin, China, Ed Young grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art.
Young began his career as a commercial artist in advertising and found himself looking for something more expansive, expressive, and timeless. He discovered all this, and more, in children's books. The subject and style of each story provide Young with the initial inspiration for his art and with the motivation for design, sequence, and pace. Accuracy in research is essential to his work, too--whether he is illustrating fantasy, folk tale, or fact.
According to Young, a strong foundation of credibility must be established in order to create new and exciting images. Through such images, he hopes to capture his readers and ultimately expand their awareness. Young's quest for challenge and growth are central in his role as illustrator.
'Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I try something exciting, I grow. It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant as well,' Young explains. 'I feel the story has to be exciting, and a moving experience for a child.'
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1990, his book Lon Po Po was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He has also received two Caldecott Honors--for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice--and was twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest international recognition given to children's book authors and illustrators who have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.
Young lives in Westchester County, New York, with his two daughters.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jim Nolan on November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is fabulous, a great work of art. The story of the house Ed Young's father designed and built, and how it sheltered his family through the War, is terrific. The illustrations are stunning. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Strickenburg on December 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"War was spreading to Shanghai, my father said, like the crows that came in summer and covered the sky with blackness. He wanted to move somewhere he could keep Ma and the four of us safe." Thus opens the stunning illustrated memoir "The House That Baba Built." It tells the story of the artist's father's ingenious plan to keep his family safe during the turmoil of WWII - how he used his architectural skills to build a luxurious house for a wealthy landowner, under the condition that the landowner would let him and his family live there for the first twenty years it was built.

Ed Young's vivid descriptions of his unusual childhood, coupled with creative cut-out illustrations and fold out pages make this book a fascinating read for young and old alike. Many of his experiences are easy to relate to - picnics, loving families, and childhood games of pretend - and these experiences allow us to accept and understand the more unfamiliar parts of his childhood: shortwave radios, food shortages, refugees.

This elegantly told true story is replete with wonderful vintage photos and an author's note explaining Ed Young's journey of rediscovering his childhood home. It's a touching memoir, sure to expand our awareness of the wideness of the world around us and the depth of its history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As World War II spread to Shanghai, Ed Young's family lived in the house that his father, Baba, built. The house had a swimming pool to swim in, and a concrete roof to roller skate on. As the war progressed, Ed Young and his family had to make sacrifices. With little oil and no meat, Ed and his brothers and sisters grew hungry. Baba also built an apartment for his extended family on top of the roof where his children had skated. They also could no longer fill the swimming pool. Ed and his brothers and sisters became close friends with some distant cousins, the Ling family. Ed found escape from the hardships in his life by reading adventure stories and looking at their illustrations. Toward the end of World War II, Baba made an apartment in the house for a German refugee family from the war. For the first time, as the war came to an end, Ed heard bombs from enemy planes. Safe in the house that Baba built, the end of the war quickly followed, and Ed's family celebrated. The time of sacrifices and hardship was over. As a story book memoir with cut paper illustrations, children, ages 7-10, will want to explore the life of this beloved author and illustrator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A beautiful book. The house that Baba built, in Japanese-occupied China during the 1930s, is a haven for the author and his family. As the war escalates, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even a German family join them in the house. Despite the effects of war, the house is full of love and fun and family. The mixed-media illustrations, with the occasional fold-out page, are wonderful. Recommended as a read-aloud for all ages, and for 3rd to 5th grade readers.

(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Little, Brown!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lamplighter on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful recollection that intertwines architecture, politics, family life and childhood perceptions, beautifully illustrated by a Caldicott winner, the son of an architect who built his family a house in what was then the outskirts of Shanghai.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Isabella B. Bannerman on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my niece. I hope she will enjoy the illustrations, and vivid descriptions of family time as much as I did. It is stunning - both a memoir and a history book and an entertaining children's picture book. Very very good.
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