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Picture Books: A Big Draw for Both Young and Adult Mainlanders

Illustrated volumes can emotionally inspire children and chronicle the lives of the older generation.

Photo: Picture books: Charting the emotional milestones of young readers.
Picture books: Charting the emotional milestones of young readers.
Photo: Picture books: Charting the emotional milestones of young readers.
Picture books: Charting the emotional milestones of young readers.

Picture books have become increasingly popular in the mainland's childhood education market. Frequently addressing such themes as wisdom, emotions, love, growth, spirituality and the arts, these variously branded books have their own star authors, with many of them being sourced from abroad. At present, the sector is still having to contend with a wide disparity of content quality among such publications, while the bookstore sector is also still facing a number of challenges, particularly with regard to distribution and pricing.

The appeal of such books, particularly those produced overseas, lies in their facility to combine text and images into a satisfying educational package. Often featuring robust moral messages, such books have a distinct resonance with the everyday lives and experiences of many young readers. For parents, the books enable them to relive their own formative years, often giving them a greater insight into the psychological and emotional development of their own children.

The moral dimension of the these books has proved a key selling point, with many ranges extending to cover various milestones in a child's life. This allows adults to select an edition most suited to the age and experience of their own children.

As a development of this genre, many adults have begun to maintain their own picture albums, volumes that pictorially record details of their own lives or those of their children. These self-maintained books can be used to mark many personal milestones, including starting school, participating in sporting events, holidays, graduation and, later, romance and marriage.

In order to formalise the production of these albums, a number of organisations now offer the opportunity to produce finished volumes for an annual fee. With new installments produced on a monthly or even weekly basis, completed editions can then be given as gifts to friends and relatives.

Joanna Liu, Qingdao Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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