Award-Winning Books Mentally Yours Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Magical Stories of Healing While In The White Bed In The White Room: Tibet Through The Red Box


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.



Tibet Through The Red Box

Written and Illustrated by: Peter Sis
Published by: Frances Foster Book, 1998
ISBN: 0374375526 (ISBN13: 9780374375522). Literary Award: Caldecott Honor (1999)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

When Peter Sis was a young boy, he had a spinal problem which was exacerbated by an accident that involved him jumping from the high wall of their garden, rendering him paralyzed for a period of time.


I was in a white bed in a white room, and I couldn’t move my arms or legs. I remember nothing except that another Christmas was coming. Then I remember opening my eyes and someone – a stranger – was sitting by my bed, talking to me in his deep voice. He was holding my hands and telling me a story about a jingle-bell boy. And I could feel my hands!


And I knew the stranger. He told me another story about some gentle giants, while touching my feet. And I could feel my feet, and I recognized the man. After he had told me a third story about a magic lake, he kissed me on my cheek. I felt the kiss and could see colors again.


When Peter was a young boy, his father was drafted along with an army film unit to China to teach filmmaking. His crew ended up doing not just that, but discovering the magical enchantment of Tibet with its giants, the Dalai Lama, and jingle-bell boys in red carrying mail from faraway lands.


This is an astounding piece of art that blends together magical realism and scraps of memory captured through a diary kept in a red box, along with stone fragments, butterfly wings, and beads that bring to life memories of colours, threads of transcendental travels through magic lakes and mountains that kiss the heavens. But more than that, it is a story of how stories often heal in ways that we could not predict or even truly understand, and a tribute that is passed from son to father to son again, as Peter Sis’ dedication says it. This is a book that you should experience for yourself.

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).

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