A Book of Happiness


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American Printing History Association - New England Chapter Purchase Prize | Purchase prize winners receive a cash reward and the books are added to the Fleet Library at RISD Special Collections' Artists' Book collection.


artists' books, Baker & Whitehill, American Printing History Association - New England Chapter Purchase Prize, award


Book and Paper

Student Status

Undergraduate student

Year of Graduation




Faculty / Course

Pamela Unwin-Barkley

Materials + Techniques

Ink and gouache on paper

Student Narrative

I pulled out heart-warming and nostalgic fragments from letters and postcards I have received over the years and collected them into this small volume. The illustrations on each page build up a separate narration which tells the little adventure of a girl and a bear and lots of letters and postcards they found on the way. It's not easy to show the text of the book in a video format, so I’ll talk a bit more about it here: There’s something special about physically received words that I carefully stored in my treasure chest. For this project, I picked out some favorite sentences of mine from the stack and arranged them into chapters according to their topic. Now out of context, these fragments become little glimpses into the lives of those who have written to me or the connection they have shared with me. Much of the original text I translated from Chinese, so perhaps now they bear the tone of my writing, too. Samples here: “After a long and hard journey, my second letter has finally arrived at your letterbox! I wonder what your letterbox looks like.” (from Chapter 1 Letters and Postcards) “About that bread giraffe...because his neck is too long to fit into the oven, my intelligent mum folded his neck. We discovered only after baking that we CANNOT unfold the neck!!!!!” (from Chapter 3 Food) “Do you see stars on your little island?” (from Chapter 4 Questions) “I couldn’t find a box to fit the doll. It’s too big. Hope you don’t mind.” (from Chapter 6 Gifts) “(My handwriting is actually not this ugly) let me write you a few verses then: You are not the burning, / blooming fireworks that fill the sky with splendor / But a far better view - / You are / the bracing, tender wind that touches the face / of one running wild in the country fields.” (from Chapter 8 Poetry) “And remember to take care, drink lots of milk, eat lots of vegetables, don’t just eat meat all the time.” (from Chapter 11 Remember) “Happy Chestnut Day!” (from Chapter 12 Wishes)


Music credit: Nancy Wilson, Family Table

A Book of Happiness