GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Shortlist: Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan (China)

Sunflower is an only child, and when her father is sent to the rural Cadre School, she has to go with him. Her father is an established artist from the city and finds his new life of physical labor and endless meetings exhausting. Sunflower is lonely and longs to play with the local children in the village across the river. When her father tragically drowns, Sunflower is taken in by the poorest family in the village, a family with a son named Bronze. Until Sunflower joins his family, Bronze was an only child, too, and hasn’t spoken a word since he was traumatized by a terrible fire. Bronze and Sunflower become inseparable, understanding each other as only the closest friends can. Translated from Mandarin, the story meanders gracefully through the challenges that face the family, creating a timeless story of the trials of poverty and the power of love and loyalty to overcome hardship.

A beautifully written, timeless tale by Cao Wenxuan, best-selling Chinese author and 2016 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Cao Wenxuan is one of China’s most esteemed children’s book writers and has won several of China’s important awards for children’s literature. Bronze and Sunflower is his first full-length book to be translated into and published in English. A professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, Cao Wenxuan has seen many of his books become bestsellers in China, and his work has been translated into French, Russian, Japanese, and Korean.

Helen Wang studied Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and is now a curator at the British Museum. She has been a translator for more than twenty years. She lives in London.


‘This quiet and gentle story woven through with thoughtfulness and bright love will stay with me a long time.’ Playing By the Book

‘…Sticking with international books, but in an entirely different vein (though likewise pretty special), there’s the heart-warming Chinese novel Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, in a translation by Helen Wang. It’s a lyrical, engaging story […] set during the Cultural Revolution, which began in China in 1966, but the story feels somehow timeless, too.’ The Independent

‘However old you are, this book will expand your horizons.’ A Year of Reading the World

‘It is a rare treat to come across a book that you want to keep with you for days after reading, to dip into again at leisure, be it for the beauty of the writing, the resonance of the story, or the luminosity of the imagery. Such a book is Bronze and Sunflower.’ Children’s Books Ireland

Bronze and Sunflower
Cao Wenxuan, illus. by Meilo So
Translated from the Chinese by Helen Wang
2017, Candlewick Press / 2015, Walker Books (UK)
US ISBN: 0763688169
UK ISBN: 9781406348460

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