I’m coming clean. One of my favorite books was written for children aged 4 to 8. And it takes all of two minutes to read–if you don’t absorb the colorful illustrations and brilliant details of the 60+ pages.
Miroslav Sasek, a Czech writer and illustrator, was born in 1916, the same year as my maternal grandmother. This is Hong Kong (Universe) was originally published in 1965, the year my grandparents first visited Hong Kong.
The book’s illustrations show the Hong Kong my mom’s side knew and loved (although my mom first visited in 1962): Victoria Harbor filled with burnt sienna sampans; a countryside of lush rice fields and sturdy water buffalo; stylish Chinese women wearing high-collared, tight-fitting cheongsams; kimono-clad Japanese tourists; American soldiers looking on.
Sasek wrote more than a dozen “This is…” books, including Rome, Britain, Greece, Israel, Paris, London, Edinburgh, San Francisco, and New York, among others. But the Hong Kong one, which I treasure as a record of my family’s early travels to a place close to our hearts, will always be my favorite.