A book boom for children
The genre of children's literature wasn't firmly established in China until the 1930s, when acclaimed writers like Ye Shengtao and Bing Xin started composing for the young and Western classics began to pour into the country.
Ye's Scarecrow and Bing Xin's Words for Young Readers are considered the foundation works of China's original children's literature.
In the 1950s, the genre blossomed and gave birth to many standing classics including A Cat Wants to Fly by Chen Bocui, another fairy-tale master, and Adventures of a Little Rag Doll by Sun Youjun, which was also the country's first nominated work in the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing.
By the end of the 1970s, the genre has welcomed authors from all walks of life. Soldiers, factory workers and peasants are all encouraged to write for the young so those readers can learn about society.
Back then, A-list writers would also write for young readers. Wang Anyi, Tie Ning and Zhang Kangkang are among the authors whose compositions for children were loved no less than their works of adult literature.
In the 1990s, more professional children's writers surfaced. Zheng Yuanjie made the cartoon characters Pipi Lu, Lu Xixi, Shuke the Mouse and Rock the Wolf household names in China. He is also the editor-in-chief of King of Fairy Tales, which published more than 20 million words of children's stories in the heyday of the genre.
Now, while most children's writers are not professional ones, the number of published works has been on the rise. The number of imported works is dramatically growing, too.
As of now, there are 370 million readers under 18 in the country.