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  Chinese Way>Life

Innocent appeal

2013-08-13 09:45:14

(China Daily) By Sun Ye


Children's storybooks are big business. Sun Ye finds out that there is no time-tested recipe for success but generally story lines that are imaginative, adventurous and with good values fascinate the young curious minds.

Xu Dexia is not known for writing mega-hit fairy tales but children still crowd around her for autographs whenever they meet her.

The 60-year-old, sporting a head of tight grandmotherly curls, is editor-in-chief of Children's Literature, a magazine with a monthly circulation of more than one million.

Comparing it to adults' best-sellers of about 50,000, it is a huge number.

Having been introducing quality stories for more than 30 years, Xu is a storytelling connoisseur.

Children are among the country's most avid readers, Xu says. This is evident from the number of publishing houses involved in children's books: 530 out of some 600 of them.

She says the country's most popular children's stories are imaginative fantasy tales since such stories appeal most to an "innocent, curious mind".

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"Children are pure and born romantic, their love for good stories is perennial," she says. "The magazine's decades of success rests on the fact that we put out real literature for them."

The developing minds are demanding and hard to decipher, and there is no tried-and-true recipe for an appealing story, she adds. "They have so many more choices right now."

By looking into books that fly off bookshelves, one can have a better idea of children's tastes.

The Plant Vs Zombies series, written by established writers, launch new story lines and has just found its 10 millionth readers.

The stories, which have very little to do with the game, are more than a battle with evil. They are situational narratives aimed at emotional education. At the end of each chapter, there is a how-to-cope wise tip for the scenario.

The Magic of Luoling, a series of adventure stories that feature an otherworldly princess coming into grips with her wizardry home planet, while searching the meaning of friendship and family love, is also the country's first original children's literature to reach the 1 million benchmark.

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