The Hanmoji Handbook

Your Guide to the Chinese Language Through Emoji

Illustrator: Jason Li

Binding: Hardcover

Imprint: MITeen Press

Age 11+

General Knowledge & Trivia

Learn Chinese with a new twist! This full-colour illustrated handbook introduces and explains Han characters and idioms through the language of emoji.

Even though their dates of origin are millennia apart, the languages of Chinese and emoji share similarities that the average smartphone user might find surprising. These “hanmoji” parallels offer an exciting new way to learn Chinese – and a fascinating window into the evolution of Chinese Han characters. Packed with fun illustrations and engaging descriptions, The Hanmoji Handbook is entertaining, accessible and educational – as well as a quirky, visual gift book.


Jennifer 8. Lee is a vice-chair of the Unicode emoji subcommittee and cofounder of Emojination, a grassroots group that advocates for more inclusive and representative emoji. She is also a former New York Times reporter, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, and producer of the documentaries The Search for General Tso and The Emoji Story. Jennifer 8. Lee runs the Plympton literary studio.

An Xiao Mina is a technologist, writer and artist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, the Atlantic, and Hyperallergic. She was a research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and she works at the technology nonprofit Meedan, and is the author of Memes to Movements.

Jason Li is an independent designer, artist and educator. His practice revolves around promulgating bottom-up narratives, exploring networked technology, and helping people live safely on the internet. His works have appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and on the BBC. He is an editor at Paradise Systems and a member of Zine Coop.


Leveraging widely recognizable and pictographic emoticons, this innovative work appeals to humans’ language instinct and innate playfulness. . . Using crisp layouts, thoughtful descriptions and examples, and illustrated charts, this comprehensive primer entertains while explicating a high-context language family. . . Clever, complex, yet concise and fun: This guide promises to engage language learners and curious readers.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A fascinating look at how one of the oldest writing systems compares to one of the newest. By drawing comparisons between emoji, with which most students are very familiar, and some of the basic characters that form the Chinese hanzi (written characters) the authors dispel many of the mysteries of this logographic language. . . a very enjoyable and engaging read.

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