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A collection of wonderful every-day sayings from all over the globe.

James Chapman has been illustrating international silliness since 2013, through his on-going series Soundimals. Continuing to find the fun in cultural differences, Worldly Words of Wisdom compiles illustrated versions of over 150 common sayings from Venezuela to South Korea.

Beautiful, full-page illustrations of wise words that never quite made it into the English language, as well as equivalents to the old classics like “too many cooks” (“too many grandmothers spoil the child” – Macedonia) and “it’s raining cats and dogs” (“it’s raining husbands” – Colombia).

Fun for all ages, this book highlights the diversity of the world, and the enjoyment that’s found when looking at things from a different view point. From beards to dancing, and from family to food, Worldly Words of Wisdom is an eye-opening, occasionally inspiring, collection of international silliness.

My name is James and I’m an illustrator obsessed with the different ideas that can be found around the world. I live in Manchester with my partner Catherine, and draw a lot of pictures.

I started to dip my toe into the artistic life back in 2013 - during my PhD, between experiments - I began drawing cute pictures of the sounds animals make in different languages and posting them on my blog Soundimals. For example, while dogs in English go ‘woof woof!’ in Romanian, they go ‘ham!’.

My website covers everything from the translated sounds of sneezing, gulping, smashing, splashing and crashing to the titles of TV shows in different countries and Christmas traditions all around the world.

I love looking at big concepts like cultural diversity in simple ways, and trying to convey them through informative illustration. It’s kind of a half-way house between my life as a scientist where presenting information is key and my life as an artist where I try and find the most enjoyable ways to present it.

I’ve self-published three books of international fun: Soundimals, How to Sneeze in Japanese (funded on Kickstarter) and When Frogs Grow Hair. And since then I’ve been working on my biggest project yet, Worldly Words of Wisdom.

When talking about different cultures and places, the conversation usually focuses on the food, the music, the clothes and the landscape. But language can be just as important when describing any society. Proverbs and day-to-day expressions passed down through generations can tell us so much about life in a specific place. This book is a collection of the more exotic phrases from all over the globe, shining a light on the subtle differences found in our lives, and the lives of our ancestors. The initial cultural differences – food, wildlife, attitudes – come out in these magnificent sayings in one way or another. They’re all ways to communicate a feeling or a sentiment, using anything that’s relatable in that culture.

“The cat dreams of the finest cuts of meat.” (India) – a kind of equivalent to a “pipe dream” in English

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Julia Christianson
Julia Christianson asked:

How many pages is the book going to be?

James Chapman
James Chapman replied:

Julia! Hello!
The book will be 208 pages long, I believe. Some of those will be the names of supporters in the back, but the rest is all phrases, facts, illustrations and explanations.

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