For the past year, I have been working with journalist Melissa Ludtke on our first transmedia project, Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods.
Through interactive storytelling, a rare journey unfolds as two teen adoptees from America return to the towns in China where they were abandoned as newborns. There, they meet girls who grew up in these towns and learn about what their own girlhoods might have been like in 21st century rural China. In sharing the realities of their distant upbringings, the girls open a fascinating cross-cultural dialogue about girls and women’s lives in contemporary China.
Today we published the first iBook story in the series, Abandoned Baby. In this story, two girl babies are abandoned in rural China. Taken to the same orphanage and adopted by American families, they return as teens to the towns where their lives began. Videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, and audio narrations tell their story in the context of China’s one-child policy and its ensuing gender imbalance.
This iBook includes intimate videos of the girls’ adoptions in China; a unique interactive timeline of population policies, “From Mao to Now”; a seesaw graphic illustrating China’s extreme gender imbalance; and artists’ interpretations of the consequences of the one-child policy – from “missing daughters” to lonely childhoods.