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  Home > English books about the Chinese Culture > English, Chinese Related, Ages 6+ >

A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China
A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China

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The Beauty of Chinese Poetry

A Thousand Peaks: Anthology of Poems from China

  • Chinese Poems translated to English that vividly describe life in old China
  • With Pinyin and Chinese characters
  • Kids will love the interesting historical stories that describe context of poem
  • With illustrations that capture the beauty of the poems
Our customers love and rave this book!

FREE Lesson Plans!

Please, just take a look at the Teacher's guide, it's amazing the work the authors did!
Our Price: $19.95
Language: English
ISBN 10: 1-881896-24-2
ISBN 13: 9-781881-896241

Availability:: Ships within 1 Business Day
Product Code: E0284

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Description Reviews

A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China by Siyu Liu and Orel Protopopescu, illustrated by Siyu Liu

Chinese Poetry that spans 2,000 years--from the Han dynasty to the 20th century--
is presented here in faithful but inventive and rhythmic translations that capture the
astonishing beauty of the original
Chinese Poems.

Poetry is so ingrained in Chinese culture that for several thousand years the ability to compose it was considered the mark of an educated person.

  • Features 35 "shi" poems in English and Chinese
  • Each poem includes the Chinese characters and pinyin
  • Accompanying text describes the world of these poets, the culture that inspired them, and the history that stirred their deepest emotions
  • Enhanced by illustrations to foster appreciation for close relationship of Chinese poetry to other art forms
Classical Chinese shi poems follow strict rules about structure and rhythm. China's poets have created shi for several thousand years. This selection represents both major figures and some lesser-known poets, both male and female.

Text intended for all children.  The book evolved from one author's successful classroom experience using Chinese poetry as a means to teach poetry and creative writing to middle-school students. Because the poems are both enjoyable and accessible, they enhance students' appreciation of poetry while providing models with which students can experiment in their own writing.

This anthology of Chinese poems can also be used for World Literature classes.
The authors have put together a 40 page study guide that can be downloaded for free.  The study guide is excellent and makes this wonderful book even more useful.  It goes step by step through the book with student exercises and more. 

Just check out the free  40 page  Teacher's Guide for a Thousand Peaks: Poems from China - it includes lesson plans, activities - everything you need to use this book in the class or for home schooling!

For ages 12 and up
Hardcover, 52 pages, full color, index

About the Authors

Author Orel Protopopescu, author, poet, and educator, trains teachers to teach writing and conducts prose and poetry workshops for students of all ages. She is the author of two books for children, Since Lulu Learned the Cancan and The Perilous Pit and a handbook on teaching writing. Her poetry has been published in the Spoon River Poetry Review and Contexts. She lives with her family on Long Island.

Author and illustrator Siyu Liu was born in China. She is a graduate of Qinghua University and Jinghua Art School, and holds a M.A. from State University of New York, Buffalo. An architect and artist, she lives on the East Coast with her family.

Reviews for A Thousand Peaks - Poetry from China

 Gr 6--10. Much more than a poetry anthology, this introduction to classical Chinese poetry folds 35 traditional shi poems into a brief cultural history of China. The poems are grouped loosely into categories. Many are accessible, celebrating animals and nature, or teaching a simple moral lesson, such as appreciating a farmer’s labor and the food he creates. Other selections are more abstract, centering on complex themes, such as political criticism (including a concubine’s view of battle), that will appeal mostly to older readers. The generally clear, succinct text offers a lot of information in the introduction and in the paragraphs that follow each poem and delve further into poetry’s role in China’s history. The picture-book format and Liu’s watercolor illustrations may suggest a young audience, but it’s middle- and high-school students who will most appreciate this for reports or personal reading. An unusual, informative resource for cross-curricular use. --Gillian Engberg—Booklist, March 1, 2002

For many kids, English poetry is hard enough; Chinese poetry is off their radar screens altogether. This well-planned anthology could bridge the cultural and linguistic gap. Its 35 poems represent 2,000 years of Chinese literary history, from the Han dynasty to Mao Zedong. But they don’t come dead on the page. The book is divided into sections on social structure, scholar-officials and nature--contexts that breathe life into the poems. Each poem also comes with a commentary on its author, topic, or style, and best of all, is shown in the four stages of its evolution from Chinese to English: original Chinese characters, pinyin transliteration, literal English translation and finally a “poetic” English version. From this: “stroke stroke grow dying sunlight/layer layer seem splitting crimson,” Orel Protopopescu made this: From dying sunlight, stroke by stroke, it grows/in layers, as if splitting shades of rose.” That’s a worthy effort, but the real beauty of this book is that it gives readers the chance to peek behind it at the Tang dynasty original--and maybe try their own English versions.”
—Washington Post, February 24, 2002

“China's ancient poets lead us on a trip through the region's political and natural history. Impeccable design, detailed translations (including original characters and transliterations) and commentaries offer a unique, fascinating and personal look into a complex history.”
—Skipping Stones, January 2002

“Haunting, lyrical poems are intended to delight and fascinate poetry lovers of all ages. Striking, full-color illustrations intersperse the historical poems. . . .What truly sets A Thousand Peaks apart, however, is that the poems themselves are offered in bilingual format: their original Chinese characters, the romanized version of the Chinese words, a very strictly literal translation, and the modern poetic translation that attempts to properly ascribe nuances. Poetry devotees can compare translations and interpret the true meaning, heart, and soul of each poem for themselves.”
—Library Bookwatch, January 2002

“Intended to introduce young readers to the beauty of China's traditional poetry, it is also suitable for adult Chinese language learners who can learn the profound meaning of these poems, which are popular among the educators both in Chinese speaking lands and abroad. . . . The book contains illustrations such as beautiful watercolors done in a traditional Chinese painting style and pen and ink drawings with Chinese calligraphy. . . .a very attractive publication.”
—National Association for Asian and Pacific American Eduction, Fall 2001

“An authentic introduction to Chinese poetry and culture. Each of the 35 poems, selected from two millennia of Chinese literature and translated into graceful English verse, is placed on its own page in a handsome, open design. Several prose paragraphs offer cultural context for each selection, while a sidebar displays the poem in its original characters, adding their pinyin transliterations and a literal English translation. Small black-and-white drawings that highlight a relevant character complete the page. Different English translators of compressed, allusive classical Chinese have interpreted these well-known poems in various ways. This unique collection invites readers to get into the act by comparing the Chinese original with this version, and perhaps exercising their own poetic skills in an attempt to understand another culture. Introductions to the three thematic sections explain social structure, scholar-officials, and love of nature. A concise, cogent introduction to the Chinese poetry begins the collection and an author’s afterword explains the translation process. . . . This new volume spans the years between the third century Han Dynasty and the Communist era, and features many female poets. It’s about as close to Chinese literature as young English-speaking readers can get.”
—School Library Journal, February 2, 2002

"Both the selection of the poems, and the arrangement and presentation of the poems with their accompanying notes and illustrations, show the meticulous care and thoughtfulness of the authors. What the reader may well find most impressive within this little collection lies in the translation into English. Not only is the surface meaning captured for each poem, but also its poetic spirit and quality --- something which can only be accomplished and conveyed by a discerning, skilled, and insightful translator possessed of the requisite cultural, linguistic, and literary sensitivities of both Chinese and English."
----Professor Hua-yuan Li Mowry, Dartmouth College, N.H.

"A superbly thought-out thematic organization, page layout of Chinese characters/transliterations, translations, and contextual notes! Could be appreciated by readers of all ages, though apparently intended for a middle-school audience."
----A. Elgin Heinz, Global Education Marin, Ca.

Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 4 Write a review.

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
This book is Treasure! December 28, 2008
Reviewer: Anonymous from Undisclosed  
We love this book!  (Well especially me.)  My kids love the poems and more so since there are connected historical stories beneath it.||The Pinyin and Chinese translations of the poem will be very useful to those studying the language.

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  7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China May 29, 2008
Reviewer: Carol Hampe from Germantown MD  
I was so pleased to find this book.  My daughters ages 10 and 12 have memorized some of the poems.  They enjoy reading them aloud and appreciate the beautiful illustrations.  It is a beautiful way for us to continue improving our Chinese and appreciation of Chinese literature.

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  38 of 38 people found the following review helpful:
GREAT BOOK! March 11, 2008
Reviewer: Tina Matsunaga from Gillette WY Un  
As an avid reader and educator this is a great book if you want to learn about Chinese culture and the poetry that spans dynasties.||Whether you are 12 or 112 this is a wonderful book that explores great poetry and the dual inspired meanings.

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  7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent informative content and fine polish February 13, 2008
Reviewer: C. L. from Camarillo CA U  
This book samples the well-known verses of the Tang dynasty as well as some from other periods in Chinese history.  The categorization by themes is an excellent approach to tie poems poets and history together.  The historical background to each poem are fine gems of knowledge.  Inclusion of works by female poets is a great idea too.  The only disappointment is the lack of traditional Chinese c

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