PAGES: 128

TRIM SIZE: 7.5 X 9

ISBN: 978-1-61620-255-2

LIST PRICE: $19.95



PAGES: 128

ISBN: 978-1-61620-401-3

LIST PRICE: $19.95


A true story in paintings and words from internationally acclaimed illustrator and New York Times bestselling author James McMullan.

Artist James McMullan’s work has appeared in the pages of virtually every American magazine, on the posters for more than seventy Lincoln Center theater productions, and in bestselling picture books. Now, in a unique memoir comprising more than fifty short essays and illustrations, the artist explores how his early childhood in China and wartime journeys with his mother influenced his whole life, especially his painting and illustration.

James McMullan was born in Tsingtao, North China, in 1934, the grandson of missionaries who settled there. As a little boy, Jim took for granted a privileged life of household servants, rickshaw rides, and picnics on the shore—until World War II erupted and life changed drastically. Jim’s father, a British citizen fluent in several Chinese dialects, joined the Allied forces. For the next several years, Jim and his mother moved from one place to another—Shanghai, San Francisco, Vancouver, Darjeeling—first escaping Japanese occupation then trying to find security, with no clear destination except the unpredictable end of the war. For Jim, those ever-changing years took on the quality of a dream, sometimes a nightmare, a feeling that persists in the stunning full-page, full-color paintings that along with their accompanying text tell the story of Leaving China.

A Booklist Top 10 Biography for Youth


"A compelling and intricate tale."
- VanityFair.com

"Evocative and sensitive…The paintings bring significant emotional and cultural context to this story of a young artist’s struggle for self-acceptance."
- The New York Times

"Leaving China is a collection of 55 short scenes, each illustrated with a stunning, full-page watercolor impressionistically illuminating McMullan’s recollections…Leaving China is targeted for an audience 12 and up, but is by no means exclusively for children or young adults…Fascinating."
- TheAtlantic.com

Meet the Author

Photo Credit: Phillip Lehans

James McMullan is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in a variety of books for adults and young readers. He has been internationally recognized for his seventy posters for Lincoln Center Theater. McMullan received the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award in 2002 for the picture book I Stink! and was also awarded with the Society of Illustrator's prestigious Hamilton King Award.

Read an Excerpt