We have just published the fourth of six stories in our iBook series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods, in which two teen adoptees return to the rural towns in China where their lives began, meet girls growing up there, and learn from them how learning happens in 21st century China.
The interactive book, rich with digital media, invites Westerners into the school-day lives of Chinese girls. From an early age, family and teachers direct children’s total attention toward preparing for China’s life-determining standardized tests. Our interactive graphic explores the foundational Confucian principles that guide learning. Each girl’s score on key national exams determines her next destination. With videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics and narrative text, we follow these girls as they leave their rural towns to live at vocational programs, attend universities in China, or travel alone on a first visit to the United States to enroll in a university.
Touching Home in China is a transmedia project, anchored by its iBook stories and its storytelling website. Its content is enriched by commentary and news about the circumstances of women and girls that appears on our social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. This project unites two American adoptees with six Chinese girls whom they meet for the first time as teenagers in the rural towns where each of them was born but only the Chinese girls grew up. The Americans are back “home” to learn from these girls what their own lives might have been like as daughters in 21st century China.