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蔡伦造纸 Cai Lun and the Invention of Paper

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Ever wondered about how paper is made? Why and how did it happen?

This book tells of how Cai Lun came to invent paper. His work at the imperial palace was to manage equipment and this meant that he had to keep detailed records of everything. Being frustrated with the writing process and materials available, he started experimenting with many different materials and conducted lots of experiments.

He examined the suitability of various materials and continuously tried to find ways to keep costs low, able to be produced in huge quantity, in consistent shapes and light enough to be carried around.

About year 105, Cai Lun had the idea to form sheets of paper from bark of trees, hemp waste, old rags and fishing nets. This was further developed by his apprentice Zuo Bo, later used across the country, and soon spread worldwide!

Why we love this book

  • Lovely Chinese illustration style
  • It's bilingual!
  • Chinese text is very beautifully written, each page contains 20 words divided into 4 lines of 5 characters each! (Meaningful math here!) They are meaningfully chosen, some even rhyme! Text is displayed vertically and reads from top to bottom, right to left - in reference to how text used to be read in ancient China! This is really rare in kid lit.
  • Book is Montessori-friendly! Based on reality with beautiful illustrations reflecting culture.
  • Jamine @3mm.montessori shares that this book is very compatible with the 4th Great Story on the Coming of Language in Montessori Education
  • We learn about growth mindset - from Cai Lun's example to find solutions for our daily problems, and learn not to give up despite failures! We marvel at how resourceful and methodical he is too!

Please note that the book was originally written in Mandarin and then translated to English - so the English translation may not be the best. I really do appreciate that it's bilingual, that makes this book more accessible for my husband who is not very confident in reading Chinese!

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蔡伦造纸 Cai Lun and the Invention of Paper