The Hans Christian Andersen Award

2016 - Cao Wenxuan

Born: January 1954, Yancheng, Jiangsu, China

Field: Children's Literature

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Cao Wenxuan

About Cao Wenxuan

Cao Wenxuan  born January 1954) is a Chinese novelist, best known for his works of children's literature. Cao is the vice president of Beijing Writers Association. He is also a professor and doctoral tutor at Peking University. His novels have been translated into English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Korean.

Cao was born in 1954 in Yancheng, Jiangsu. He entered into the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Peking University in 1974 and started to publish novels in 1983.

In April 2016 Cao was announced as the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's writing. The International Board on Books for Young People's jury, announcing the award, said Cao “writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges. He is a deeply committed writer, whose own difficult childhood has been deeply influential on his writing in which there are no easy answers.” He received the award in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 August 2016. His acceptance speech was titled “Literature: Another Form of Housebuilding”.

Cao's Dingding Dangdang (2012) series follows the life of two brothers with Downs Syndrome living in a small rural Chinese village. This series was selected as one of IBBY’s Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities 2015.


Bronze and Sunflower - Cao Wenxuan

By Nick and Lauren

This is a sweet and lyrical tale, part folktale, part myth, part historical fiction, part children’s adventure. With simple prose, the author takes the reader through the history of Sunflower, as she follows her father to the Cadre School. During the Cultural Revolution in China, her father, an artist, is sent to the country to be “educated” in the ways of the simply farmer. His named his sweet and shy daughter for his favorite flower. When he dies, she is sent to live with a nearby country family, who’s only child, a boy named Bronze, is mute. There, through the seasons and cycles of the village, Sunflower and Bronze, brother and sister, face with courage, wisdom, and love the many trials that come upon them.

I would highly recommend this for children. It is an honest book. It doesn’t pretend that life on a farm wasn’t hard, that starvation and death aren’t real. But it does show that family and love are what helps us survive. In addition, the exposure, in a colorful, honest way, to the life in China during this time is perfect for young minds. Enough explanation is given to open up understanding but not overwhelm with useless facts. The story deftly weaves bits of Chinese culture into the narrative and it is excellently done, gibing a clear picture of the wonderful and fascinating world.
Worth reading.


Bronze and Sunflower - Cao Wenxuan

By Lady D.

Throughout the 400 pages, words paint pictures of little wooden boats, beautiful sunflower fields, paper lanterns, and so much more. You will meet Bronze, an only child who is mute, along with his mother and father and grandmother. Next, you will be introduced to good little Sunflower who has lost her father in a storm and soon is adopted by Bronze's family who is so poor but extremely kind. This lovely story is sure to warm your heart as you see a special close-knit family endure hardships with locust invasions, sacrifice, and hard work with making woven-reed shoes to sell. I especially like how Sunflower teaches her brother the beautiful world of characters and how Bronze makes a wonderful ice necklace for Sunflower. Discover how life in China can be delicate, fragile and fascinating! I love the book very much. Made me cry... Worth reading!