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Ji-li's Books - Eighteen Vats of Water

Eighteen Vats of Water
by Ji-li Jiang (Author), Nadia Hsieh (Illustrator)
Published by Creston Books, LLC

As long as he can remember, Xian has wanted to be a great calligrapher, like his father. When he turns six, he's finally old enough to start studying. Calligraphy is more than writing - it's painting - and Xian learns how much work and creativity go into what look like effortless strokes.

Eighteen Vats of Water was inspired by the stories of Wang Xianzhi and his father Wang Xizhi, the distinguished examples of great calligraphers. Although they lived almost two thousand years ago in the fourth century, they are remembered today as the "Two Wangs," and their beautiful work continues to be displayed, admired, and studied in all of China.

by Ji-li Jiang (Author)
Nadia Hsieh (Illustrator)
Published by Creston Books, LLC


Winner of Following Awards:

  • Freeman Book Award Winner
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Eureka Honorable Mention
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Book
  • CBC Children’s Favorites Award 2023 List

To write Eighteen Vats of Water, my intension was not only to introduce the famous Chinese calligraphers- the "Two Wangs", but also Chinese language. Since I was little, I was impressed by Chinese characters and their development evolved through Chinese long history. In my eyes, they are art, with breath, spirit and life. Picasso once said that if he had started his life as an artist with the knowledge of Chinese calligraphy, he would have been a calligrapher rather than a painter.

The character "DRAGON"

The character "FISH"

Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review

Based on stories still told about Xian and his father, famous calligraphers of the 4th century, "Eighteen Vats of Water" by the team of author/storyteller Ji-Li Jiang and artist/illustrator Nadia Hsieh is about determination, creativity, and learning how to see, as well as the importance of family traditions. Critique: With truly elegant illustrations in full support of an inherently interesting and original picture book story, "Eighteen Vats of Water" is a truly memorable and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers ages 7-11.


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