School of Chinese Studies
We All Live in the Forbidden City is a dynamic educational program about the history, culture, architecture, and life of imperial China as seen through the lens of Beijing’s Forbidden City, one of the world’s most fascinating landmarks. There are books, games, e-book apps, professional development workshops, and a website (www.walfc.org) – all designed to be fun and engaging for children of all ages. Additional resources for parents and teachers have been designed to make cultural learning accessible in both the home and the classroom. This global program is produced by China Institute in America in conjunction with Design and Cultural Studies Workshop (CnC) in Hong Kong, the Palace Museum in Beijing, and academics in North America.
Background on We All Live in the Forbidden City (WALFC)
In 2008 The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation collaborated with the Design and Cultural Studies Workshop (CnC) in Hong Kong to create the We All Live in the Forbidden City (WALFC) program. Using a contemporary voice and a variety of media formats, this program celebrates the Forbidden City and the study of architecture, imperial life, and Chinese cultural history in ways that are accessible, appealing, and relevant to children, parents, students, teachers, and the general public.
About the WALFC Publications
China Institute has published four award-winning hardcover books for the WALFC program. Each of the books will have its own interactive e-book app, which will feature a bilingual option to toggle between reading and listening in English and Chinese.
What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? Life in China’s Forbidden City (Ages 8 and up)
Chiu Kwong-chiu & Eileen Ng, authors Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, illustrations Ben Wang, translator Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be the Emperor of China? In this book, readers will get the chance to ask the emperor all the questions they might have about life in the Forbidden City. How was the emperor chosen? What was school like? How did he celebrate his birthday? Who were his friends? What were his favorite foods? How hard did he have to work? Could he be punished?
Through fun and engaging stories reader will journey through the average life of an emperor and learn about the real people who lived in the palace, including the prince who fought off a rebel invasion, the palace maids who lived in the Inner Court, the emperor who ruled twice, and the emperor who loved crickets. This book can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, with lively illustrations that encourage reader interaction.
• Winner of A Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year Award, Kids Books • INDIEFAB 2015 Finalist for Best Young Adult Nonfiction • A 2016 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award Winner, Non-Fiction BooksAdd to cart
Bowls of Happiness: Treasures from China and the Forbidden City (Ages 4 and up)
Brian Tse, author Alice Mak, illustrator Ben Wang, translator Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor
Piggy’s mom loves her so much that she has decided to make a special porcelain bowl just for her. As mom makes the bowl, Piggy enters the world being painted on its surface. There she meets and learns about the plants, animals, and other natural elements used on Chinese artworks and the messages of happiness and good-fortune that they convey.
Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese artwork and culture and their universal spirit of generosity, love, and respect for nature. The loveable illustrations are coupled with photographs of porcelain art found in the Palace Museum’s collection. Children will learn about how bowls are made and be able to draw their own Bowl of Happiness after they have finished reading the story.
• Winner of A Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, Kids Books • INDIEFAB 2015 Finalist for Best Juvenile Nonfiction • A 2016 Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner, Non-Fiction BooksAdd to cart
In the Forbidden City (Ages 9 and up)
Chiu Kwong-chiu, author Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, illustrations Ben Wang, translator Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor
Serving as the seat of imperial power for six centuries, the Forbidden City is one of China’s most famous and enigmatic landmarks. Accompanied by a mischievous cat, readers will tour this colossal architectural structure, discovering the secrets hidden inside the palace walls. They will encounter the people who have walked through its halls and gardens, including emperors, empresses, and rebel leaders, and hear exciting tales about the power struggles and intrigues of everyday life.
This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely.
• Winner of Creative Child Magazine’s 2015 Book of the Year Award, Books on Foreign Culture • INDIEFAB 2014 Finalist for Best Young Adult NonfictionAdd to cart
This is the Greatest Place! The Forbidden City and the World of Small Animals (Ages 4 and up)
Brian Tse, author
Alice Mak, illustrator
Ben Wang, translator
Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor
Rabbit is eating breakfast with his friends Baby Squirrel, Young Porcupine, and Little Brother Panda when an unexpected visitor arrives. He is a master builder, searching for inspiration to design a great palace for the Emperor of China. Together, Uncle Builder and the little animals explore how nature supplies us with the wonders that enrich our lives.
Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture both the majesty of the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and liftflaps.
• Winner of a Parent’s Choice Recommended Award for Picture Books
• Winner of a Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award, Books on Foreign Culture
All We All Live In The Forbidden City-related programming has been made possible through the generous support of:
We All Live in the Forbidden City books and programming were originally created by:
We All Live In The Forbidden City is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council: