Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, as well as reading challenges that we have pledged to join this year.

We have just launched our new reading theme for May-June: Walking the Literary Silk Road – China and the Middle East. 


I happened to chance upon this gorgeous picture book biography while I was hunting in the library for books that would fit our current reading theme. So happy that Demi is so prolific.


The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching

Written and Illustrated by: Demi
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007
Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This book is a good primer to the life of Lao Tzu and his book Tao Te Ching, a voluminous book of 5,000 Chinese characters, divided into two sections: the Way of Heaven (Tao) and its virtue (Te).


I particularly love the way that Lao Tzu’s birth is described – apparently he was born an ancient and wise man:

Some say that on the fourteenth of September, 604 B.C., in the village of Ch’u Jen, in the country of K’u in the kingdom of Ch’u in ancient China, Lao Tzu was born, and nine heavenly dragons flew down from Heaven to wash his body. Lao Tzu’s mother had carried him for eighty-one years, and so at birth he already had snow-white hair and large ears, and could walk.


Not many people could claim such an auspicious beginning to life. Rather than a chronological presentation of Lao Tzu’s life story, this book appears more like snapshots of Lao Tzu’s life, his teachings, his sharp wit, and a celebration of his famous verses. There is a quiet truth to his teachings that poke and prod because of its absolute simplicity. Demi shared twenty out of his eighty-one verses from the Tao Te Ching. Here are a few of my favourites.



There is also wisdom in his thoughts about Governing:


This is a book that inspires quiet and thoughtful reflection. Teachers would do well to seek students’ responses and engage them in discussion about Lao Tzu’s words that provide illumination about the essence of human nature and what it means to live in this world.


#nfpb2015 Challenge Update: 30 (25)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Demi’s Artful Rendering of Lao Tzu

  1. rovingfiddlehead

    I am so glad I didn’t carry my children for 81 years! I’ve overlooked this Demi title, thanks for the reminder to dig in.


  2. I feel like every book you feature always has such stunning illustrations!


  3. Love the illustrations! Beautiful!


  4. As usual every time I see a Demi book, I say I really need to read her books, (I always thought this Demi was a guy for some reason. A quick Google search proved me wrong.)


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