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February 7, 2017

Leaving China: A WWII Boyhood


James McMullan, an acclaimed artist, has created an illustrated book about his experiences growing up in China during wartime

By Xie Yi

James McMullan is a well-known artist and illustrator.  He was born in Tsingtao (now Qingdao), China, in 1934, the grandson of missionaries from Ireland who settled there.  As a boy, McMullan took his privileged life for granted until the Second World War erupted.  His life changed drastically.  In his book, Leaving China, McMullan unveils his childhood during wartime, his relationship with his parents, and his difficulties adjusting to his new life after eventually leaving China in 1949.  The exquisite full-color paintings, along with their accompanying text, offers readers a glimpse into what life was like for a child at that time, and how McMullan’s childhood experience shaped his personality and, eventually, artistic style.

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