Kuan Yin: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion

Bala Kids. May 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781611807998.
K-Gr 2–Miao Shin is a princess who prefers to spend her days meditating. Her soothing presence is a calming force for her younger sister Princess Ling. Ling is also worried for her sister who will not marry one of the suitors their father has selected, which will inspire his wrath. Miao Shin calmly requests to be sent to a nunnery where her father ensures she will be given the most difficult tasks. Despite her hardships, she tells Ling that they must care not just for themselves but for all beings. Their father is enraged at Miao Shin’s accomplishments, bringing happiness to all, so Miao Shin disappears. When she returns after many years, Ling realizes her sister has fully realized the power of love and compassion. Miao Shin has transformed into Kuan Yin who is called for by all when compassion is needed. This retelling of the beloved Bodhisattva, enlightened being, takes the elements of the original story and includes themes of sisterhood and strength. Hsu’s illustrations are vivid and detailed. The line work and bold patterns pull readers deeper into the story. The deep, rich tones of the palace in the beginning shift to softer, brighter pastels as Miao Shin transforms into Kuan Yin. An author’s note at the end includes other names for Kuan Yin and informs how she is generally depicted throughout the Buddhist world.
VERDICT A beautiful illustrated retelling for younger readers of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Kuan Yin.

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