Ed Young
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American artist re-creates wartime childhood in occupied China

Award-winning illustrator Ed Young has lived in the United States for decades but he spent his childhood growing up in China.

In his new book The House Baba Built, Young re-imagines those years in a sprawling three-storey home in Shanghai. His father, who had studied at an American university, bought the house partly because it was in a safe neighbourhood close to the British and Italian embassies.

After the Japanese army seized control of Shanghai in 1937, Young says that living in the international part of the city meant he experienced a different occupation to that of many other Chinese during the war.

Using a combination of artistic styles including archive photographs, maps and his own pastel drawings, he reminisces about the war-time spent in the relatively safe haven of his family home.

After more than 20 years away, Young finally returned to China and the house Baba built with his sister and decided to write a children's book about his memories. In this interview with the BBC he discusses how both the home and his homeland have changed dramatically.

Video by Irina Khokhlova

  • 08 Dec 2011