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Joanna Ho, Catie Chien (Illustrator)

On the Tip of a Wave: How Ai Weiwei's Art Is Changing the Tide

On the Tip of a Wave: How Ai Weiwei's Art Is Changing the Tide

Regular price $18.99 USD
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2023 CA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award Silver Medal

2024 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Recommended Title

Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

Starred Review from School Library Journal

Starred Review from Booklist 

From New York Times bestselling author of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, Joanna Ho, and critically acclaimed illustrator, Cátia Chien comes a moving, powerful picture book about the life and work of activist and artist, Ai Weiwei.

On the Tip of a Wave: How Ai Weiwei's Art Is Changing the Tide at Starry Ferry Books

He [Ai Weiwei] felt the life jackets and an idea curled and crested through his fingertips. The way it always did.

Told in Joanna Ho’s signature lyrical writing, this is the story that shines a light on Ai Weiwei and his journey, specifically how the Life Jackets exhibit at Konzerthaus Berlin came to be. As conditions for refugees worsened, Ai Weiwei was inspired by the discarded life jackets on the shores of Lesbos to create a bold installation that would grab the attention of the world. Cátia Chien masterfully portrays the intricate life of Ai Weiwei with inspirations from woodblock printing and a special emphasis on the color orange, the same color of the life jackets that became a beacon of hope. Through Cátia’s dynamic and stunning illustrations, we see how Ai Weiwei became the activist and artist he is today while proving the power of art within humanity.

On the Tip of a Wave: How Ai Weiwei's Art Is Changing the Tide at Starry Ferry Books
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Editorial Reviews

Praise for On the Tip of a Wave:

“Inspiring insights into how art can reify vital current issues.” --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

''The creators treat with sophistication themes of political marginalization, creative risk-taking, and the power of art to shift sentiment.'' -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

''An outstanding biography of an important artist whose work challenges us to change the way we look at other human beings.'' -- School Library Journal (starred review)

''Visually stunning and thought provoking.'' -- Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Joanna Ho is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of many children's books including Eyes that Kiss in the Corners; Eyes that Speak to the Stars; Eyes that Weave the World's Wonders, Say My Name, and Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma, recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats Honor. Her debut young adult novel, The Silence that Binds Us, received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, Young Adult Honor. She earned her Masters in Educational Leadership at the Principal's Leadership Institute at the University of California, Berkeley and has been a classroom teacher, program designer and high school administrator. Her passion for equity in books and education is matched only by her love of homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoors adventures, and dance parties with her kids. Visit her at

Cátia Chien is a Brazilian Taiwanese artist. She's the illustrator of such titles as The Bear and the Moon, which was a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal for Original Art winner and a Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration winner, A Boy and a Jaguar, an ALA Notable Book and recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award. Her art has been shown in galleries worldwide, including the Beijing National Gallery and the Bologna Children's Book Fair exhibition. She is also the founder of A Thousand Worlds, a curated picture book directory celebrating BIPOC creators.

She lives in California.

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