Tibet by Peter Sís


A father's diary, an artist's memoir.By the author of the best-selling Three Golden Keys.While my father was in China and Tibet, he kept a diary, which was later locked in a red box. We weren't allowed to touch the box. The stories I heard as a little boy faded to a hazy dream, and my drawings from that time make no sense. I cannot decipher them. It was not until I myself had gone far, far away and received the message from my father that I becam...

Details Tibet

Release DateNov 5th, 1998
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, History, Nonfiction

Reviews Tibet

  • stephanie
    this is an absolutely amazing book. i thought The Wall couldn't be topped, but this? i suppose i'm a bit biased, having been to tibet myself, and reading it now, when china has the olympics and tibetan monks are dying. but really, i don't see how you can't love this book - both for the story (of a boy learning about his father and his father lost in tibet) and the illustrations, which are truly stunning. there are stories within stories here, an...
  • Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
    This is a really unique book. I would consider it a book for older children or even adults. It's a strangely magical book that just sucks you into it. I envy Peter Sis for his red box and his unique father who really 'saw' Tibet. It is funny the difference in perspective between the father and the people building the road. One person saw a wonderful land and group of people and the other saw danger and barbarians. Really a unique thing.
  • Dolly
    Peter Sís has some very odd stories and this one is likely the strangest of them all. Oddly enough, it's a true story, a kind of homage to his father's travels. The narrative is entertaining, but somewhat tough to follow, especially with his characteristic placement of the text in odd shapes and designs. And the overall message of the story seems somewhat dark and confusing. Still, the illustrations are wonderful and the story is enlightening, w...
  • Chris
    Peter Sis is a gifted artist and a unique storyteller. This is a mystical story that provides a journey that will inspire the imagination, and it is relevant as geography and history for young readers.
  • Julietsangchan
    As I prepare for my trip to Tibet I found a lot of books on culture. Didn't realize this book was a children's book, I think it's a book for adults, or anyone. As I read it, I thought, how could this be true? Then I realized it was imagination. What a magical book! As the review in the book jacket says:In this very personal book, Peter Sis has given us a kaleidoscope fusion of truth, dreams, and memory. It is an unforgettable work of rare imagina...
  • Brian
    Red Box is a most personal book. Sis is writing about his father’s trip to Tibet when Peter was a young child. Within a red lacquered box, which sits upon his father’s desk, Sis discovers a diary of thin, old pages, filled with words, passages, and stories that would strain credibility. He finds the many bedtime stories his father had told him again and again – here, as a serious and first-time telling of real events.Sis’ father was a doc...
  • Laura
    I just cannot understand how Peter Sis keeps getting Caldecotts. I don't like his illustrations, they aren't extraordinarily amazing or fantastic. Sometimes I even find them crude or grotesque. And his stories! I don't get his stories. I am most often confused, wondering why he can't just stop trying to be intellectually superior and just write the story. He brings in elements and then takes them out again, only to bring them back in at the end, ...
  • Jlawrence
    The Red Box belong to Peter Sis's dad - it contains his father's diary of a peculiar, life-changing journey. A Czechoslovakian filmmaker during the Cold War, Sis's dad is tasked by the communist government with helping make a documentary film about a huge Chinese construction project - a great road that will cut through the mountains into the heart of Tibet. He leaves his family, travels to China and begins work, only to have part of the mountain...
  • Alison
    This is an exquisite book. I suppose it is technichally a "children's book", but to me it transcends age. Through the lense of a young child Peter Sis tells the story of his father's trek through Tibet and the Himalayas as a documentary film maker; a position imposed upon him by the communist government of Czechoslovakia. The purpose of the trek was the filming of the first highway into Tibet as the Chinese began their intrusion of the country. T...
  • Nancy Kotkin
    Text: 3 starsArt: 5 starsHard to know what is real and what is fantasy or a dream; the text fuses these together, leaving me confused. Also, the story arc feels incomplete. They reach the Dalai Lama, but what happens when they tell him about the encroaching road? Do they ever reconnect with the road crew? Did the road crew even survive the crumbling mountain? How does the author's father get home to Prague? I'm still not clear why the author's fa...
  • Emily Von pfahl
    Despite the fact that this was a Caldecott Honor Book it is not really a children's book. The pages are crammed (and I mean crammed) full of tiny details. Even after pouring over this book for an hour you won't find all of the bits. Brilliantly illustrated with recreations of his father's journal pages, maps, and different colored medallion pages that precede the three folklore stories. I was indignant that it hadn't won until I read Snowflake Be...
  • Luann
    Like no picture book I've ever read before, this is incredibly complex. It seems to be part dream, part memory, and part memoir. It isn't really an appropriate picture book for a large group setting such as a read-aloud in a classroom or library storytime. It has very detailed pictures which need to be studied closely. In fact, I'm not sure how many children would actually be interested in reading this. It's more of a picture book for adults. Som...
  • Timothy
    My college girlfriend had thing for Tibet. What college girlfriend worth her weight in salt doesn't? Wandering through a Borders one boring, Pennsylvania night we stumbled into the children's section and she found this book. I've never liked children's book, a fact I chalk up to being considerably younger than my siblings. At any rate, when I saw Sis's book, I thought "where was this when I was little?" I'd have love it. It's remarkably complex, ...
  • Mila
    I've been devouring everything I can find by Peter Sis since I read his wonderful The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain and this one blows me away as well. It gave me delicious goose bumps. The art complements the story beautifully. Since I just finished making some Czech Easter eggs, I'm really enjoying the symmetry of his drawings. This book is a Caldecott Honor winner but I think a lot of adults are missing out.
  • Karen
    Wonderful pictures. My kids didn't really get this book. As an adult I did.
  • Maria Rowe
    • 1999 Caldecott Honor Book •I love Peter Sis' illustrations - they're exquisite. He writes about incredibly interesting events, but something about his writing always makes me feel lost. His writing is flowery, and I wish it was more direct and simple. "Tibet" is the true story of his father, a filmmaker, who went to Tibet to make a movie and got lost there during a snowstorm for over a year in the 1950s. This is fascinating by itself, but t...
  • Nadine Jones
    Clearly a labor of love, this would be best approached as a sort of picture book for grown ups, a large-format graphic novel. Because while I found this mysterious and beautiful and magical and fascinating, I can't imagine any child sitting through this book, not even older children (not even most teens). There are A LOT of words - pages full of words - this would be too much to read aloud to a young child. Most of the magic of the book would go ...
  • Charlie Moses
    Now this was INTERESTING. And, really, I don't think it is a book for children, though it looks at first glance like a child's picture book. But no, that it definitely isn't. Filled with symbolic artwork, and stories told by the author's father to the author as a child, this is an ...well, autobiographical doesn't quite cover it, because there is much in the story that is rather fantastical. So, for older children, who can read well for themselve...
  • H
    Tibet: through the red box is a book that is part mythology, part travelogue, and part memoir. The story is told via a journal that tell of travels through a land untouched by the modern world where yetis still roam and folk tales live alongside reality. It is what I imagine a children's book written by Nick Bantock would be. I would definitely recommend it.
  • Mary Norell Hedenstrom
    A boy retells his father's adventures traveling from Czechoslovakia to Tibet where he is to teach Chinese soldiers how to film movies. The father gets lost and he shares the mysteries of his experience to his son, the author Peter Sis, as best he can.
  • Amie
    This was amazing. Now I want to know more about his father's time in Tibet. Maybe I want to travel there.
  • Becky
    I wonder how much is true.
  • Courtney Lau
    This book covers all facts Tibet including many maps and lots of facts of Tibet's history. This would be a good resource when doing projects on different countries.
  • Alicia
  • Jen
    Such richness. A unique lens into Tibet. What stood out to me - the pages about a single color, the Yeti creation tale, the jingle-bell boy story, the imagery.
  • Vilém Zouhar
    As interesting and goodhearted as any other Sís' book. He's the best short mystical story writer I know.Červená. Je barva pokoje.
  • Seema Rao
    A magical realistic retelling of the author’s father’s adventures in Tibet.
  • Vincent Reese
    The Caldecott winning picture book made me think instinctively that it had something to do with ancient history by its book covering. As I read the book I seen how a traveler can enlighten another individual about how things are different for another culture. I think that the book did very good at picture illustrating the concepts the story teller was telling per culture setting. The book made me think of Greek mythology as I read due to me knowi...
  • Rachel
    I loved "The Wall", and "Starry Messenger". Therefore I was excited to see another one of Sis's books on the Caldecott list, this time as a 1999 Caldecott Honor winner. Every time I read one of his books, the illustrations just blow me away. They are so detailed you could literally spend hours just looking at them. This book is no exception. In this book, we get a glimpse into the author/illustrator's childhood. Sis's father gets hired by the Chi...
  • Cynthia Larson
    Tibet Through the Red Box is one of the best illustrated books I've ever read. Much more than a children's book, this tale tells the intimate story of a young Czech man sharing excerpts from his father's diary. The father was invited by the Chinese to film the construction of a highway in the highest, most remote mountain ranges in the world, and while filming this project, was separated from his group. What happens next is the stuff of magic and...