On August 9, 2020, National Central Library and Reycraft Books (a U.S.-based international publisher of illustrated children's books in English) co-hosted a lectured entitled “Cross-discipline Heart Learning.” Close to 300 children and adults gathered in NCL's auditorium to hear from Ms. Min-lan Wu, the person in Taiwan who is best at telling English stories. Ms. Wu excels at a multicultural, cross-discipline approach that is filled with a humanistic spirit and English thought patterns. This combination helps students become accustomed to true dual-lingual education in a new, heartfelt environment.
The lecture started off with remarks from NCL Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng, who spoke on the Ministry of Education's active promotion of dual-language education. Illustrated English books can improve language ability and, through the professional guidance of teachers, have a deeper understanding of other cultures and thus expand one's own vision. Two of the producers personally attended the lecture, adding a sense of reality and reading wonder for the audience. The co-host Reycraft Books also thanked Director-General Tseng for championing children's literature, for holding lectures on children's reading, and giving children a reason to come to NCL. All of these are beneficial in the strengthening of parent-child reading habits.
The first part of the event was a viewing of a Youtube video clip introducing the Woodpecker Girl, which is based on a true story in Taiwan. The main character of the story has cerebral palsy. So her teacher makes a special tool for her to paint with. With a weak body, she relies on her strong willpower to paint, speck by speck using her head like a woodpecker. Through the promotion of the illustrated version translated in English, Taiwanese talent and confidence increased its international visibility. Following her remarks, Ms. Wu began sharing her illustrated cross-cultural stories. During her lecture, she mentioned the 2019 curriculum guideline lists “core literacy” as its main objective in curriculum development. As part of this, two of the most needed abilities for lifelong learners is multiculturalism and a global understanding of the world. Learning about the cultures of various countries through reading their cultural works is an interesting approach to reading. Ms. Wu spoke about her illustrated books, including the very creatively designed storybook by Hsin-yu Sun A Tour of Hong Kong that has no words in it, My Big Family that is based on Cuban culture, Dear Abuelo which has adorable illustrations and is presented through a series of letters, Bahar, the Lucky based on Iranian culture, and The Legend of the Coqui from Puerto Rico. Not only did Ms. Wu share vivid and lively stories with the audience, but also used pictures to show the cultural practices of different countries. Before finishing, she shared with the audience her book It's Okay, which talks about how things can be viewed from different perspectives. It is hoped that these illustrated books can help children better understand the pluralism that exists in the world, and thus have even more empathy and passion to learn respect, understanding, and love. After the lecture, the author of the book Hsiu-min Tsai was present for a book-signing session.
During the lecture, Ms. Min-lan Wu presented in a humorous and entertaining manner, sharing these cross-cultural books. The audience listened to her story-based lecture two hours and experienced through reading what it would be like to travel the world. It was a meaningful and beautiful weekend afternoon.