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Children's Nonfiction Asia

The Chinese Thought of It

Amazing Inventions and Innovations

by (author) Ting-Xing Ye

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2009
Asia, Asia, Machinery & Tools
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 11
  • Grade: 4 to 6
  • Reading age: 9 to 11


Acupuncture, gun powder and the secrets to spinning silk are innovations that we have come to associate with China. But did you know that the Chinese also invented the umbrella? And toilet paper, initially made from rice straw clumped together, was first used in China!

Through the ages, the Chinese have used the resources available to them to improve their lives. Their development of the compass and the paddleboat helped facilitate the often difficult tasks of travel and trade, and many foods associated with health and wellness—from green tea to tofu—have their origins in China.

Other interesting innovations include
• the suspension bridge

• the wheelbarrow

• playing cards

With descriptive photos and information-packed text divided into sections including farming, food and games, this third book in the ‘Thought of It’ series explores the fascinating origins of much that surrounds us today.

About the author

by Ting-xing Ye and illustrated by Harvey Chan

Ting-Xing Ye's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A well-focused introduction to the history of technological innovation in China.”

Booklist Online, 12/09

“Educational and entertaining . . . Interesting facts, coupled with colourful and attractive illustrations will keep readers’ attention. Highly recommended.”

CM Reviews, 02/10

“Good introductions that could lead into deeper discussions and research.”

Doucette Library of Teaching Resources, 02/12

“The tightly packed pages overflow with color photos, illustrations and creative design, ensuring an informative and entertaining read.”

Foreword Reviews, 01/10

“Blends ancient and contemporary China, illustrating the country’s rich history and impressive modernity.”

VOYA, 06/10

Librarian Reviews

The Chinese Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations (We Thought of It)

Here is the latest in the We Thought of It series. The series, which includes The Inuit Thought of It and A Native American Thought of It, takes an interesting and informative approach to technology and innovation. Each book is written by a native of that culture. With this new title, we travel around the world to China where the noted Chinese-Canadian author, Ting-xing Ye, grew up. In her introduction, she tells us of her first-hand experience with some of the ancient Chinese inventions that she researched for the book.

We begin with a useful timeline and a simple map. The book is divided into mostly double-page spreads, each one covering different topics such as farming, working with metal, weapons, transportation and medicine. Rice planting in rows, metal ploughshares, gunpowder and acupuncture are just a few of the innovations that emerged from this ancient culture. Paper and printing is given a lengthy treatment as it is, of course, one of the most significant inventions of China. There is also an extensive section on silk. In the section “Everyday Innovations” we learn that the Chinese probably invented the umbrella in the first century CE and the toothbrush in the late 1400s!

As in the other two books, each invention is described in its own text box. Pictures overlap each other and the text – there is a lot of information, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. While the Inuit book has blue and grey pages, and the Native American has brown and green pages, the pages here are bright red, gold and yellow. It’s a nice design feature that distinguishes the different environment and culture of each place. This useful series combines history, science and culture in a unique way that is easy for students to understand.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2010. Vol.33 No.1.

The Chinese Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations (We Thought of It)

Did you know that the Chinese invented the folding umbrella, the toothbrush and toilet paper? See how Chinese ingenuity has transformed the world. Discover over 60 of their innovations and inventions in areas such as farming, navigation and health. A map, a timeline, a note on the Chinese language, a bibliography and an index are included.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Ting-Xing Ye