Thomas Handforth was the second person to win a Caldecott Award for his book Mei Li (1938). It was based on his personal experiences in China. Born in 1897, Handforth was fascinated with the Far East from a young age. He filled sketchbook after sketchbook with drawing of Eastern symbols, monuments, and characters. After high school he studied art at the University of Washington and then at the L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. He lived in various locations such as Paris, India, North Africa, Mexico, and China before moving back to the US. Despite the magnificent drawing of Chins, Mei Li is seen as sexist by contemporary standards. Even so, Handforth's heart seems to be in the right place. Handforth is considered a "single author" as he only wrote and published one book. However, he worked for years as a lithographer and illustrator for magazines.