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Mei Mei Little Sister

Mei Mei Little Sister

Portraits from a Chinese Orphanage


By Richard Bowen, Introduction by Amy Tan, Afterword by Karin Evans


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The Chinese believe an unseen red thread joins those in this life who are destined to connect. For photographer Richard Bowen, that thread led him to China's state-run welfare institutions, where there are thousands of children, primarily girls, growing up without families to take care of them. Mei Mei presents a poignant glimpse of just a few of these remarkable children. Composed against neutral backgrounds, these portraits capture the girls inner lives, away from their often bleak surroundings. The images show an almost endless range of expressions: small faces filled with longing and hope, joy and sadness, humor and mischief, defiance and despair. Through the camera's eye these young children are no longer orphans, but individuals whose personalities are as vital, distinct, and beautiful as any mother's child. When that unique human being comes into focus, the connection is made and the red thread becomes visible. And once seen, the bond can never be broken.

More Details

Size: 8-1/4 x 9 in;
Pages: 144 pp;
90 duotone photographs
Format: Hardcover
Publication: July 2005
ISBN: 9780811847346
ISBN10: 811847349
Richard Bowen, with his wife and other adoptive parents, founded Half the Sky Foundation, which seeks to enrich the lives of children living in Chinese orphanages. A director and producer in film and television, he lives in Berkeley, California.

Amy Tan is an internationally acclaimed author of many books, most recently The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. On one of her many trips to China from her home in San Francisco, she toured an orphanage and saw firsthand the positive effect of Half the Sky's work.

Karin Evans, a journalist and the author of The Lost Daughters of China, is the mother of two girls from China and serves on the board of Half the Sky.