Children's book combining poetry and stamps a colorful hit

A professor of environmental engineering at Tongji University met with dozens of readers celebrating his latest book integrating poetry with stamps.
Yang Meiping / SHINE

A professor of environmental engineering at Tongji University became a star at the Shanghai Book Fair yesterday as he met with dozens of readers celebrating his latest book, which integrates poetry with stamps.

An excited group of children gathered to read the poems contained in the book Children's Poetry on Stamps, which includes 60 English and Chinese poems, as well as photos of more than 1,600 stamps from the collection of its author Yang Jian.

"The poems describe the pictures on the stamps, which are from more than 130 countries, and the stamps show the things the poems describe, including stars in the sky and animals on the land, and friendship and stories about children," said Yang. "I hope the beautiful words and pictures can add wings so children can travel all over the world using their imaginations."

Huang Yijin, a local pupil who read at the meeting, said she loved the book as it was interesting and beautifully edited.

"Both the stamps and poems are beautiful," she said. "Meanwhile, the illustrations were informative and I can learn some historical knowledge through it."

Huang's mother said the book was also interesting for her, so she believed the 288 yuan (US$43) price tag, which is considered relatively high in China, was well worth it.

Yang Meiping / SHINE

It is the sixth book written by Yang, all of which feature stamps together with different topics, such as Hans Christian Andersen's Fair Tales, and other British and French literature.

Yang told Shanghai Daily that the publication of the series has helped him realize his dream to be a writer, a dream he's held since his passion for literature began as a child.

"I did best at Chinese when I was young and dreamed of learning literature in college," he said. "But my academic study was suspended due to the Cultural Revolution."

Yang Meiping / SHINE

"When I had the chance to go to university, there were few choices and I eventually chose environmental engineering," he added. "But I have always kept my childhood dream in mind."

Yang said stamp collecting was another of his hobbies.

Yang Meiping / SHINE

"I used to collect Chinese stamps and after I went to the UK for study in 1988, I began to collect stamps from all over the world."

"So the books not only realized my literature dream, but also combined by two favorite hobbies into one."

Yang Meiping / SHINE

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