Carnegie Mellon University

An image of Gang Liu and illustrations from Luoluo Ting's Adventure into Chinese Mythology

January 29, 2021

Gang Liu Publishes Children’s Book Series

By Meghan Marino

Stefanie Johndrow
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-1788

Six-year-old Luoluo Ting and her two feline friends explore ancient China in the newly published children's series, "Luoluo Ting's Adventure into Chinese Mythology," written by Carnegie Mellon University associate teaching professor of Chinese studies, Gang Liu.

Influenced by over 50 ancient Chinese mythological tales, Liu — a faculty member in the Department of Modern Languages — initially wanted to write a "leveled children's book" to teach his daughter Chinese.

"Books that have a good control of language difficulty often don't have very interesting stories, and those with good stories are often too hard for young readers or language learners to read independently," said Liu.

"Luoluo Ting's Adventure into Chinese Mythology" seeks to equalize this balance. Targeting 5- to 10-year-old Chinese children as well as nonnative learners with some proficiency, Liu's work provides education along with entertainment.

"The books can be used in classrooms for teaching Chinese mythology or traditional Chinese culture," Liu said.

"It takes patience, belief and perseverance to accomplish something, even something small." — Gang Liu

Liu describes the protagonist, Luoluo Ting, as "kind-hearted — she likes to imagine and loves to interact with people." Liu said his daughter is the inspiration for Luoluo Ting.

With cover art featuring bright colors, dancing flowers and other natural elements, the series explores myths related to animals and nature.

"The animals on the book covers are mythical creatures, rather than real animals," Liu said. "We thought about a type of illustration that not only illustrates the story but can also inspire the readers to create new stories or plots based on their understanding of the written story."

Liu's journey writing and publishing the series spanned over four years. After switching publishers halfway through, Liu almost threw in the towel when struggling to find the right illustrator. "It takes patience, belief and perseverance to accomplish something, even something small," said Liu.

"Luoluo Ting's Adventure into Chinese Mythology" can be found in many online Chinese bookstores. Liu has discussed translating the books into other languages, and recently finished his manuscript for another related book.