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Children's Books by Jimmy Liao

Updated on May 14, 2016

Introducting Taiwanese Illustrator Jimmy Liao

I have been a big fan of Jimmy Liao's art works and books for a number of years now, ever since I started working within the design industry and saw a documentary about him which has lead to me profiling Jimmy, his books and art for work. One issue I had however was since I can not read Chinese it was quite hard to find information online. The only useful resource was his official website but was out of dated. Accessing the site in English was even worst if the link worked at the time. So I decided to put together a Squidoo Len about Jimmy Liao which has now become my Hub page where all the fun and cool Jimmy stuff out there on the web can be found in the one single place.

So lets start with a bit about Jimmy Liao or just "Jimmy" as he is known. For over tens years Jimmy Liao has been creating books capturing the imagination of a generation of both children and adults alike. Telling stories of urban life and imagery characters in the city.

His books popularity are attributed to the emotions and feelings that the stories creates, touching on common feelings of being alienated, stressed out by work or the fears of losing a job and loved ones. Jimmy has created a cult following with his unique style of illustrated books and simple stories about people coping with daily life in the modern urban landscape.

Jimmy is liken to being the "J.K Rowling of Asia", and has achieved what the "Harry Potter" novels did in the west, by bring a traditional children's genre to an adult audience.

About Jimmy Liao

Jimmy Liao (Chinese Name: Lao Fu-Bin) was born November 15, 1958 in Taipei, Taiwan. He studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Design from the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. After graduation he worked in advertisement as well as a number of newspapers and magazine companies as an illustrator for twelve years before he began publishing children's picture books. In 1998 he published "Secrets In The Forest" and "A Fish With A Smile" in Taiwan, earning him numerous book awards and was regarded as "The Best Children's Books" by Taiwanese newspapers. "A Fish With A Smile" was also made into short animated film and was Jimmy's first venture into animation.

Since 1998, Jimmy has published several illustrated books with amazing originality and multi-faceted narratives. In 1999 his picture book "A Chance of Sunshine" , was voted "One of the Ten Most Influential Books" by the Taiwanese bookstore chain, Kingstones.

He had since set a trend in creating and publishing illustrated books in local and international markets. Utilizing images as a refreshing form of literary language, Jimmy Liao creates in his works poetic frames that emits both charms and appeals. He has published more then seventeen popular books so far, which have been translated into multiple languages such as English, French, German, Greek, Japanese and Korean.

His books has also be adapted into feature films, such "Turn left, Turn Right" staring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Gigi Leung and the Sounds of Colors staring Miriam Yeung and Tony Leung.

Jimmy is one of the most popular illustrator author in Asia, creating worlds of fantasy and touching hearts cross all generations. His stories captures the imagination of both children and adults. However in spite of all the fame Jimmy keeps a low profile personality, preferring to enjoy time with family and lives a tranquil life and devotes most of his time to his craft. Immersing yourself in his books is just like your entering into Jimmy's inner world, his inviting stories reflects the reality of real life. Increasingly more and more people are being intoxicated by his vivid strokes and the magic realism his books creates. In Asia, Jimmy has becomes an icon of the times beyond his stories.

Book Reading of The Sound of Colors

The Sound of Colors -Childrens Book by Jimmy Liao

Sound of Colors (English)
Sound of Colors (English)

In this breathtaking, evocative book, a young blind girl travels from one subway station to another while her imagination takes her to impossibly wonderful places. She swims with the dolphins and sunbathes on a whales back; flies through the air with the birds and travels to the station at the end of the world.

 

A fish with a Smile - Animation short film by Jimmy Liao

Winner of the Special Prize of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk for best short film at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival

Best animation award at the 51st Asia Pacific Film Festival in 2006.

MTV - Turn Left, Turn Right movie

Guang Liang (Micheal Wong) - Turn Left, Turn Right

Popular Jimmy Liao book made into a film

Turn Left, Turn Right (Heung joh chow heung yau chow)
Turn Left, Turn Right (Heung joh chow heung yau chow)

Staring Gigi Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro. This is a film about two people, Leung who plays a translator and Kaneshiro, a violinist who live parallel lives, They appear to be perfect for each other and destined to meet but by some twists of fate they never find each other.

 

"A Chance of Sunshine" the book

A Chance of Sunshine (Creative Editions)
A Chance of Sunshine (Creative Editions)

"A Chance of Sunshine" tells the story of a young man and woman who see each other in their neighborhood every day. Despite their seeming interest in one another, they do not take the risk to reach out and speak as they pass.

 

A must see! Jimmy Liao Art in Taipei - Jimmy Liao characters decorates Taipei metro station

If you are ever in Taipei in Taiwan, Then the place you should definitely visit is the NanGang metro station on the Blue line towards Exhibition Centre station. The entire station has been decorated with life size murals from Jimmy's books, both downstairs on each platform and the exits. You can easily spend an hour in the station exploring all the illustrations.

Beyond Stories & Books Jimmy Liao Merchandise

One of the things i really liked about Jimmy's children's book and stories is that they have also been transferred in to other mediums in order to bring the stories to life, for example his stories and characters has been turned in exhibitions where life size sculptors and scenes from his stories are on displayed, i personally have been to more then three exhibitions in which you can feel immersed into his stories and the imaginary worlds.

And then there are the theme Jimmy SPA stores of which i know one in Hong Kong. The one i visited was colorful like a fun house and with scenes from his book decorating the walls and filled with a variety of characters related merchandise. They make great gifts and i have purchased a number of them over the years when i visit Hong Kong.

The music box's & snow globes are one of my favorites items, they are well made and reasonably priced for the quality. I have seen a few versions of these items depicting scenes from different books however i have not seen many online.

I once brought a A3 size book of printed art works from his popular books, as well as jig saw puzzle which could be framed as gift. They were great and made wonderful gifts.

Other items included leather wallets, hand bags and even smaller items like pens & stationary. I especially liked some of the themed plates, kitchen ware or tea cups. I would love to review some of the products here but i have only experienced with a few items. So just explore one of the stores if you get a chance and my only comment is that i found the quality of some of the smaller items was not as high as i would have thought but they were still nice for the price.

Jimmy's product range will have something for everyone and they just make ideal gifts for kids or big kids to be immersed into one of jimmy stories or worlds.

Jimmy Liao Store Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Jimmy Liao Store Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

Buying Jimmy Liao merchandise in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Time Square shopping Mall in Causeway Bay has also over the year hosted Jimmy Liao Exhibitions, in addition there is a Jimmy Spa store selling books and other merchandise.

The other store is located

Sha Tin New Town Plaza,

YATA Department Store, Level 2, New Town Plaza, Phase 3

2-8 Shatin Center St, New Territory, Hong Kong.

NOTE: Unfortunately this concession stall no longer exists as of the end of 2012 and has moved to its flagship store in Causeway Bay.

Another place to search for Jimmy merchandise is also within the SOGO department store in Causeway Bay

Whats your thoughts on Jimmys books and his art works

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    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      He is a wonderful artist.