A few years ago I came across a cute postcard book of a couple and their chance-encounter resulting in love at first sight. I had no idea that it was illustrated by such a famous Taiwanese picture book writer. A few weeks ago I happened to stumble upon an exhibition of his at HuaShan Cultural and Creative Park, here in Taiwan. His name is Jimmy Liao or 機米, and he is unbelievably talented. As soon as I saw the images from my postcard book, I immediately bought the actual book- A Chance of Sunshine, which was voted one of the ten most influential books and was actually made into a movie- Turn left, Turn right. It’s the story of two neighbours who never meet because one always turns left and one always turns right, but then one day they have a fateful encounter in the park and share a magical day. But typical of fate, they lose touch because the rain ruins their hand-written notes which they exchanged, containing the ever-important telephone numbers. Will they meet again? Or are they destined to have only ever shared one unforgettable day together? Read it to find out!
This is the book in video form:
It’s a really sweet story, and although his pictures are illustrated in a cute way, he’s aiming to reach an adult reading-audience. He has a very witty and philosophical approach towards the dream world, and I feel like if I do decide to start taking my writing of children’s stories seriously, he’s going to have a big influence on me.
He was diagnosed with Leukemia, and that was when he started really focusing on his whimsical ideas and putting them into practice in his stories. As he started to mend, his ideas became more hopeful, and gave birth to the famous books that he has created and had published today.
I’m using his books as a way of ‘practicing’ my Chinese reading skills, and I’m pretty sure they have been translated into many languages so I truly recommend picking up one of his stories and letting your mind follow his characters into the lovely world that he has created. He allows other urbanites to really connect with the feelings of being alienated and stressed out in a bit city, and emphasises that you are not alone, and that it’s not all destined to be doom and gloom. Just focus on the small things in life, those uplifting moments that really capture those magical times. Live a simple life, that’s what Jimmy does!
Here are a few of my favourite images from his books:
The inspiring man himself!