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Shen's Books is a publisher and resource for children's books that promote cultural understanding. Our specialties include Cinderella tales from around the world, Asian and Latin American cultures, and immigrant lives in America.
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1. Shen's Books is now an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS

As of November 20, 2013, Shen's Books was acquired by LEE & LOW BOOKS. We apologize for not posting this news earlier, but we are in the midst of a major website update. The official announcement is here

Upcoming titles and new paperback editions have been announced for spring 2014. Read more.

For authors and illustrators who wish to submit manuscripts to Shen's Books, please follow the writer guidelines and illustrator guidelines at the leeandlow.com

For more news about Shen's Books, please subscribe to the Open Book Blog, powered by LEE & LOW BOOKS. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

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2. ForeWord Magazine 2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist

BOTYA-Finalist-seal.jpgForeWord Magazine announced their 2012 Book of the Year finalists, and The Great Voyages of Zheng He was honored in the juvenile non-fiction category. Congratulations! Actually, double congratulations to author and illustrator Demi, who has two books on the finalist list.

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3. Booklist

The Great Voyages of Zheng He, written and illustrated by Demi, was reviewed in the February 15, 2013 issue of Booklist.

"Zheng He was a larger-than-life, fifteenth-century Chinese military leader, explorer, and visionary peacemaker. Appointed admiral of the expanding Chinese navy, he made seven important voyages with a vast armada of gargantuan ships, and opened the world to China 'with a policy of peace to all the rulers and people he met everywhere.' The mixed-media illustrations are in Demi's unique style, with tiny figures against stark, vast backdrops dominated by patches of dazzling reds and golds. The show-stopping depictions of the huge sails of the magnificent ships burst beyond the page borders. The text is placed in blocks at the edges of the pages, almost as if they are captions for the large-framed illustrations. But the saga of Zheng He's accomplishments, as well as bits of information about Chinese politics and culture, often prove just as interesting as the pictures. Though the information seems reliable, the lack of source documentation or an author's not puts some limits on this for classroom use."

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4. School Library Journal

The Great Voyages of Zheng He, written and illustrated by Demi, was reviewed in the February 2013 issue of School Library Journal:

"This glowing tribute to the 15th-century Chinese admiral describes the seven voyages Zheng He commanded, commissioned by the third Ming emperor, Zhu Di. Overseeing a fleet of more than 300 ships, sailing on the world's largest wooden vessels, and commanding a navy of more than 27,000 men required a larger-than-life figure. Zheng He is described as not only a large man with a powerful voice but also as educated, skilled in diplomacy, and having ideas far ahead of his time. The voyages he commanded were designed to set up and reinforce diplomatic relations. Each commission returned loaded with riches and ambassadors from faraway ports. His travels are documented as sailing as far west and south as southern Kenya, but Demi hints at the theory that the fleets found their way to Australia and the New World, beating Columbus by 70 years. All records were destroyed after the emperor's death and China turned inward, leaving the ships to rot. After Zheng He's death at sea, the navy crumbled. Descriptions of the ships; details of the riches they traded, including giraffes and other animals; and battles with pirates all add interest. A map tracks the general path of all seven voyages with a single line. Done in her signature gold, finely patterned borders and Chinese red, Demi's images evoke a sense of time and place. No source information is provided. Units on explorers and China will be enriched by this offering."

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5. 2013 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Congratulations to author Joan Schoettler and illustrator Jessica Lanan! Their book, Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, has been chosen by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association as the best picture book of the year. Here is the official press release:

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, has selected the winners of the 2013 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The awards promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and are awarded based on literary and artistic merit.

The awards are given in five categories, with winner and honor books selected in each category. The winners of the 2013 awards include:

Picture Book Winner: Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, written by Joan Schoettler and illustrated by Jessica Lanan, published by Shen's Books. Picture Book Honor was given to A Path of Stars written by Anne Sibley O'Brien, published by Charlesbridge.

Children's Literature: Hildi Kang's Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan published by Tanglewood Publishing. Shark King by Kikuo Johnson and published by Toon Books was selected as an honor recipient.

Young Adult Literature winner: Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary written by Keshni Kashyap, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Young Adult Literature Honor was given to Ichiro written by Ryan Inzana, also published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Collective by Don Lee and published by W. W. Norton & Company was selected as the Adult Fiction winner. Drifting House by Krys Lee and published by Viking Penguin was selected as an Adult Fiction honor title.

Adult Non-Fiction winner: Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1989-1946, by Rick Baldoz and published by New York University Press. The Adult Non-Fiction honor book is Forbidden Citizens, by Martin B. Gold and published by The Capitol.Net.

Winner and Honor books were chosen from titles published from October 2010 to September 2012. The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) was founded in 1980 by librarians of diverse  Asian/Pacific ancestries committed to working together toward a common goal: to create an organization that would address the needs of Asian/Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian/Pacific American communities.

The winners will each receive an award plaque at the APALA Award Ceremony on Sunday, June 30, 2013 during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

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6. Visions: Demi at Hicklebee's


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7. Visions: Demi signing at CSLA


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8. Nov. 17, 2012: Demi Signing at Hicklebee's

The prolific azhenghe.jpgnd award-winning author Demi will be at Hicklebee's Books on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 2:00pm. She will be signing her newest book, The Great Voyages of Zheng He.

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012
2:00 pm
Hicklebee's Books
1378 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125

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9. Nov. 16-17, 2012: Shen's Books at CSLA Annual Conference

California Librarians: get ready! Shen's Books will be exhibiting at the CSLA Annual Conference in San Jose, CA this year. If you are going to be there, stop by and say hello.

We will have two author signings on Saturday, the 17th:

And if you're going to be at the conference on Sunday the 18th, don't miss Demi's presentation about the book at 10:30 am. See you there!

California School Library Association Annual Conference
November 16-17, 2012
Marriott Hotel
301 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113

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10. Publisher's Weekly

zhenghe.jpgA very nice review of The Great Voyages of Zheng He by Demi was published in the October 29, 2012 issue of Publisher's Weekly. We are so pleased!

"Demi's account of 15th-century Chinese explorer Zheng He is enlivened by images of the dazzling wealth his fleet carried back to China: "Precious ambergris used for medicine, cowrie shells, sapphires, rubies, oriental topaz, and Persian carpets filled the Forbidden City." His 62 "Treasure Ships" were the largest the world had ever seen, but Zheng He also displayed a wealth of intellect and imagination that allowed him to embrace religious tolerance and open-mindedness--an attitude that might have had its source in his status as a Muslim in China. After a war in Ceylon, a statue he erected there "addressed Buddha, Shiva, and Allah, offering thanks for their compassion and moral virtue." Demi's skill as a biographer is on display, with details and context that add life and clarity. Her Persian miniature-like illustrations teach, too, showing the building of one of the fleet's ships and a portrait of Zheng He's burial at sea. It's especially valuable as a portrait of a hero whose adventures were driven not by the hunger to conquer, but by a desire simply to know and be known. Ages 8-up. (Nov.) "

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11. Aug. 18, 2012: John Stickler and Soma Han in Koreatown, Los Angeles

John Stickler and Soma Han, the team that brought you Land of Morning Calm, will be appearing at two venues in Los Angeles' Koreatown on August 18, 2012. They will be kicking off the publication of their new book, Maya and the Turtle. More information from John:

Maya and the Turtle, a timeless fairy tale from Korea, will make its English debut in Los Angeles on August 18, 2012. Illustrator and co-author Soma Han and co-author John Stickler will sign and "chop" copies of the new children's book from Tuttle Publishing at two venues in Koreatown. From 1-3 p.m. they will appear at The Korean Book Center, downstairs in the Koreatown Plaza at 928 So. Western Avenue (213-738-9140). At 4 p.m. they will introduce the story with a reading at the Pio Pico Koreatown Library, 694 South Oxford Avenue (213-368-7642).

            Fine artist Soma Han previously illustrated Tigers, Frogs and Rice Cakes, a collection of Korean proverbs for children, and Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now, both from Shen's Books. John Stickler, formerly with CBS News in Seoul, collaborated with her on this inspiring legend of filial piety. The book is dedicated to Soma's mother who heard the tale at her mother's knee and passed it on to Soma when she was a little girl.

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12. ForeWord Magazine 2011 Book of the Year Finalist

ForeWord Magazine announced its list of 2011 Book of the Year Finalists today, and Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth is on the list! Congratulations! According to ForeWord Magazine:


ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards program was designed for booksellers and librarians to share in the process of discovering distinctive books across a number of genres with judgments based on their own authority and on patron interests. After months of winnowing down the award finalists' list, the editors at ForeWord are confident in their selections, and our judges agree, saying this year's titles are the best they've seen!

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13. NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2012

Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth has been been selected by the National Council for the Social Studies in association with the Children's Book Council as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book of 2012.

This bibliography features K-12 annotated titles published in the previous calendar year, selected by a book review committee appointed by the NCSS. Titles are grouped by subject, including: Biography; Contemporary Concerns; Environment and Ecology; Folktales; Geography, Peoples, and Places; History, Life, and Culture in the Americas; Reference; Social Interaction and Relationships; World History and Culture; and Economics. Each annotation contains bibliographic data and a brief description.

The list will be available online in June, but copies of the annotated list are available now for $5 per copy (includes S&H).
Please send a check to:
The Children's Book Council, Inc.
attn: Social Studies
12 West 37th Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10018

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14. Feb. 15 - Apr. 7, 2012: Sun Gallery Exhibit featuring Jessica Lanan

Every year, the Sun Gallery in Hayward, California holds a children's book art exhibit. This year, artist Jessica Lanan's illustrations from Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth will be on display. And they have featured her artwork on their promotional postcard! Lovely!

sungallery23-1.jpgSun Gallery 23rd Annual Children's Book Illustrators Exhibit
February 15 to April 7, 2012
1015 E Street
Hayward, CA 94541

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15. School Library Journal

The November, 2011 issue of School Library Journal contains a very nice review of Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, by Joan Schoettler and illustrated by Jessica Lanan:

"Ji-su, a girl in 18th-century Korea, is devastated when her mother is selected to sew for the king. It is an honor for the family, but it means a life apart, and Eomma has no choice in the matter. Ji-su is determined to learn to sew bojagi-- wrapping cloths-- as skillfully as her mother so that she will also work at the palace. Descriptive language and stunning watercolor paintings show the seasons passing as Ji-su works toward her goal. With a masterful eye for color and skillful use of perspective, Lanan brings the text to life and adds depth to Ji-su's emotions. When Ji-su presents her bojagi to the sewing master, the low perspective makes the men seem to tower over her, and readers feel her trepidation and the importance of the moment. Densely packed with Korean customs and vocabulary, the writing is nuanced and evocative: "Eomma and Ji-su held each other like threads in a seam." There is a glossary, but without some familiarity with Korean culture, it is difficult to infer the meaning of some words. Although the complexity of this book may limit its appeal for general audiences, Good Fortune is a treasure for libraries serving Korean populations."

A treasure!

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16. Oct. 1-2, 2011: Dorina Lazo Gilmore at the Filipino American Book Festival

filipinobookfest.jpgThis sounds like an amazing event! The Filipino American International Book Festival will be held in San Francisco on October 1 and 2, 2011. Author Dorina Lazo Gilmore will be on hand both days reading Cora Cooks Pancit in the Children's Area at 1:30 both days. She will sign immediately after each reading at the Philippine Expressions Bookshop booth.

"FILBOOKFEST celebrates the richness and fusion of Philippine and Filipino American culture through literature, visual arts and music.
FILBOOKFEST is the largest gathering of authors of Filipino heritage from around the world. FILBOOKFEST invites all book lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area to spend a weekend of fun literary events, performances and good food."

Filipino American International Book Festival
October 1-2, 2011
Fulton Street, Civic Center, San Francisco
Free Admission
Dorina Lazo Gilmore reading at 1:30pm both days

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17. Sept. 17, 2011: Joan Schoettler at Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is hosting the Korean Foundation Korean Culture Day on September  17, 2011 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. As part of the festivities, which are free with museum admission, author Joan Schoettler will be on hand signing copies of Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth at 2:00 pm.

Here is what the Asian Art Museum says about the event:

Chuseok is the Korean holiday of the autumn harvest during the full moon, when people visit their hometowns and feast with family and friends. This family fun day for all ages offers docent tours, storytelling, food tastings, music, and art. Korean musicians Kang Eun-il & Haegum Plus will perform their "new music" for the first time in the Bay Area. Artists Shin Meekyung and Lee Kang Hyo will demonstrate new and traditional forms of ceramic art.

And here is the day's schedule:
Explore and Join In
Education Studios and  North Court
12:00 noon-4:00 pm
Watch two artists from Korea demonstrating new and old forms of Korean art! Shin Meekyoung uses ceramic forms and imagery as the inspiration for her soap sculptures, and ceramist Lee Kang Hyo follows ancient way of pottery making using a simple kick-wheel and red and white clay. Make an artwork to take home inspired by artists.
South Court
2:00-3:00 pm
Meet the author of the new book "Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth". Joan Schoettler signs and discusses how she was inspired to write her book after viewing Korean wrapping cloths (bojagi) at the Asian Art Museum. The book is available for purchase at the museum store.
Korean Galleries and Resource Room Pick up a copy of the Family Gallery Activity Guide for the Poetry In Clay exhibition, and learn to look at the artworks in a different way.
Learn and Discover
Samsung Hall
12:30 and 3:00 pm
Discover "New music" of Korea! Musical group Haegum Plus performs. Musical director Kang uses haegum, a two-stringed vertical fiddle-like instrument, along with guitar and keyboard, and fuses Korean music with jazz and western classical music.
Korean Galleries*
11:00 am and 1:30 pm
Asian Art Museum's storytellers tell myths and folktales from Korea. Special 15 min. tour at 11 am for families with kids ages 3-6.
Korean Galleries*
11:30 am and 2:00 pm
Join the museum's docents for a tour of new exhibition the Poetry in Clay with your family.
Korean Galleries*
2:30 pm (Korean only) and 4:00 pm (English only)
Join the special tour of Poetry In Clay exhibition with Associate Curator of Korean Art, Hyonjeong Kim Han, and listen to her behind-the-scene stories.
Resource Room Meet students from Oakland Korean School in Oakland and see their Youth Inspiration Artwork Display; play with IPads to checkout latest K-pop and ot

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18. End of Summer Cora Cooks Pancit App Giveaway-- 3 Ways to Win!

screenshot-home.jpgThe end of summer is upon us (I have always considered Labor Day to be MY official end-of-summer, despite what the calendar says), and with it the bittersweet end to our long and lazy days. Of course, fall brings with it new excitements: new school year, crisp cool days, football season. Not to mention new starts for me too. We will be moving into our new house in a few weeks, and baby J will turn a year old at the beginning of October. How time flies!

Anyway, let's give away some free apps to mourn the end of one season and celebrate the start of another! And let's not be stingy-- how about 15 free apps? Fifteen lucky winners will get their choice of the iOS or Android version of the Cora Cooks Pancit app.

There are THREE WAYS TO WIN. Here they are:

-Website sign-up. Fill out the form here. On Friday, September 2, FIVE winners will be chosen from those signed up.

-Facebook. "Like" us on Facebook here. When we hit 500 Likes, we will pick FIVE winners from everyone who likes us. There's no set date for this drawing. We'll do it whenever we hit 500 Likes.

-Twitter. We will pick ONE WINNER A DAY from August 29 - September 2 from those who tweet the following:

Win a free CORA COOKS PANCIT ebook app. 3 Ways to win! http://bit.ly/nWrcZV #coracookspancit

Tweet this message once each day to be entered for that day's drawing.

Good luck!

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19. Ta Da! Introducing the Cora Cooks Pancit App!

Do you absolutely love Cora Cooks Pancit? Or have you not read it yet? Either way, now's your chance to get this wonderful book on your mobile devices and tablets. Introducing the Cora Cooks Pancit app for both iOS and Android!

The app features the entire book, including its beautiful illustrations, glossary, and pancit recipe. In addition, it has a "read to me" option that features author Dorina Lazo Gilmore herself reading the book. All this for only $3.99, a fraction of the hardcover price. Get yours now:

Click here for iTunes Store
Click here for Android Marketplace


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20. Visions: Joan Schoettler at the S.F. Museum of Craft and Folk Art


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21. Visions: Linda Gerdner Signing at the Iowa City Book Festival


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22. July 16, 2011: Linda Gerdner at the Iowa City Book Festival

If you're in Iowa City, you'll have to check out the Iowa City Book Festival! Linda Gerdner, author of Grandfather's Story Cloth, will be there on Saturday, July 16 reading and signing her book in the children's tent.

Linda Gerdner Reading & Signing
Iowa City Book Festival
Children's Tent, Gibson Square
Saturday, July 16, 2011

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23. July 9, 2011: Joan Schoettler at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art

Visit the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art this Saturday for an afternoon of Bojagi art making along with author Joan Schoettler, who will bring alive the landscape and culture of Korea reading from her children's book, Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth. Surrounded by inspiration from the Museum's current Bojagi exhibition: create your own wrapping cloth using fabric and paper to stitch, staple, glue, and fasten into one-of-a-kind artworks!

$5 for materials and admission. All ages welcome, 5+.

Children's book reading + Bojagi art making with Joan Schoettler
San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art
Saturday, July 9, 2011
2:00pm - 4:00pm
51 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, CA 94103

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24. June 15, 2011: Book Launch with Author Joan Schoettler

petunia's place.jpgJoan Schoettler, author of Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, will be sending off her new picture book on June 15, 2011 at Petunia's Place Bookstore in Fresno, California. There will be a presentation, reception, and book signing from 5:30pm until 7:00. Books will be available for purchase.

Petunia's Place Bookstore is the oldest and only children's bookstore in Fresno, known for its wide selection of books for children and young adults as well as books on parenting and books for educators.

Joan Schoettler presentation, reception, & signing
June 15, 2011, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Petunia's Place Bookstore
at the Opus I Shopping Center
6027 North Palm Ave.
Fresno, CA 93704

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25. A Peek Inside Good Fortune

While we're waiting for copies of Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth to arrive, here's a peek inside to whet your appetite. The artwork is simply gorgeous, don't you think? Artist Jessica Lanan really made Joan Schoettler's text come alive.


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