Friday, September 2, 2011

China Children's Books

Not surprisingly, there were a handful of great options for picture books about China.  I figured out what angles we wanted to cover and found some books accordingly.  I was hoping to find a book that explored some aspect of Chinese history, but they seemed geared toward older kids.  Still, I couldn't quite limit myself to five, so there's a top five and a few bonus books. 

As a reminder, you can find all of the books we've read (with reviews) on the Whirls and Twirls Goodreads page.  They are shelved by country for quick searches.  (You can also see what's on our current shelf on the right sidebar of this site).

Here's the top five for China:

Lin Yi's Lantern
written by Brenda Williams, illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe
It's Mid-Autumn Festival time and we had to have a book about the festival.  I loved the story of this one, about a boy who has to collect festival items at the market.  The market illustrations are vivid and lively.  And there's a nice message about being selfless and generous.

The Seven Chinese Sisters
written by Kathy Tucker, illustrated by Grace Lin
I just know The Whirl Girl will love this book based on a folktale.  It features seven sisters who each use their own special skills to save their baby sister from a dragon.  It has just the right mix of suspense and girl power. 

In the Snow
written and illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
This book features a small boy who is learning Chinese characters with his mom by tracing them in the snow.  I wanted to do something centered around Chinese language and calligraphy and this book was a perfect fit.  It is a quiet book that features a different Chinese character on each page (tree, forest, rain, sun, moon, etc).  The evocative illustrations reflect the characters of each page.

Little Panda
written and illustrated by Renata Liwska
The animal books are always a big hit with The Whirl Girl, so we had to have a panda book.  We're still waiting for this one to come in from the library, but it got good reviews on Amazon.

Good Morning China
written and illustrated by Hu Yong Yi
This book depicts all of the activities that go on in a Chinese park, like exercising, painting doing tai chi, and playing games.  I liked the simplicity of it.  It has a distinctively Chinese feel but the idea of going to the park is universally familiar to kids.

Bonus Books:

Thanking the Moon
written and illustrated by Grace Lin
This book about the Mid-Autumn Festival is a nice compliment to Lin Yi's Lantern.  It has a simpler story, showing a family celebrating with traditional foods and activities at an evening picnic.  The illustrations are colorful and clear, and give a nice sense of participating in the festival.

Yum Yum Dim Sum
written and illustrated byAmy Wilson Sanger
We have the Indian version Chaat and Sweets which we love.  I thought that The Whirl Girl would like a book about Chinese food, since I'm reading one for the grown-up book of the month.

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
written by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson
There's a handful of great books about the Chinese New Year, which falls in January or February, like these on a list compiled by InCulture Parent.  I liked this one, which isn't specific to the new year, but does introduce the Chinese zodiac.  Animals racing - always a hit with The Whirl Girl. 

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