Chinese Lian Huan Hua and Literacy: Popular Culture Meets Youth Literature

  • Minjie ChenEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 2)


This chapter traces the trajectory of lian huan hua—a Chinese term referring to visual reading materials that include illustrated story books and comic literature—and discusses the relationship between this publication format and literacy in twentieth-century China. Heavily illustrated and cheaply available, lian huan hua enjoyed a wide cross-age readership in a country characterized by a low literacy rate and a low purchasing power. The format held huge appeal for young readers, even though the majority of the titles were intended for a general audience as opposed to youth in particular. The content, style, readership, and perceived functions of lian huan hua shifted as China underwent drastic political, social, and cultural changes. Being continually left out of formal teaching practices but remaining a significant part of children’s and young adults’ leisure reading, the format begs for research into its value and use in literacy education and learning.


Popular Culture Chinese Communist Party Cultural Revolution Picture Book Comic Strip 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author wishes to express heartfelt thanks to Professors Betsy Hearne and Christine Jenkins, faculty members of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, for kindly reading early versions of this article and providing insightful feedback.


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Major LHH titles examined:

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cotsen Children’s LibraryPrinceton University Library Rare Books Division, Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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