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Patrons of the Forest Hills Library received a once-in-a-lifetime lesson on Chinese culture on October 13.

The first lady of the Republic of China, Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching, visited the library, located at 108-19 71st Avenue, to present a donation of 10 children’s picture books. The books, which are written in Chinese, were contributed with the purpose of encouraging young Americans to learn more about the traditions of China.

Along with her gift, Madame Ma entertained children with tales about the Chinese Zodiac and educated them in the art of creating an origami mouse – the first of the 12 animals of the Zodiac.

A group of elementary school students from the southern Taiwanese county of Pingtung who are traveling with the first lady regaled visitors with a musical performance, which included ancient melodies from the Paiwan aboriginal tribe.

“Queens Library was honored to welcome Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching and her guests,” said Joanne King, the associate director of communications for Queens Library. “Queens has more than 195,000 people whose first language is Chinese and who have strong cultural ties to their homeland. It is our mission to provide them with reading material in their own language, and to provide our English-speaking library users with a greater understanding of the great art, culture and economy of China. Library users in Queens will make good use of this generous gift, and we are so appreciative.”

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