A sweet story about inquisitive duck siblings who didn’t listen to their parents advice and wandered down their stream to the Big River. Many dangers nearly befall them but they luckily advert all and make it down to the River and back home again safely. Cute.
The Five Chinese Brothers- Claire Hutchet Bishop
A folktale of five brothers who have different talents and how they use these talents to outwit the executioner. Simple and appealing.
The Magic Pillow – Demi A poor boy named Ping is give a magic pillow and dreams of what a lifetime of wealth and power would be like, he concludes the riches of family and freedom are much more valuable. Based on a famous Chines folktale. Exquisite illustrations.
The Great Wall of China -Leonard Everett Fisher
A very readable but informative picture book of the building of China’s wall to keep out the Mongol’s hordes. Well worth having.
The Peasant Prince by Li Cunxin author of Mao’s Last Dancer is a condensed picture book version of his chapter book. The Peasant Prince is bright and attractive and the text describes his childhood in a very poor village and the moment he was selected for the ballet.
The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack is so captivating and appealing.The hero is a spirited little duck who lives on a boat in the Yangtze River. His adventure is told with a rhythm that is catching. A timeless classic.
The Emperor Who Built the Great Wall of China – Jillian Lin
A fascinating picture book that introduces children to the first Chinese emperor, whilst easily understood, the book is packed with information. We learn how the seven kingdoms became one, of the unity Emperor Qin Shihuang bought to China through the use of one coinage and one writing system, of how he built roads and rivers. Yet we also learn of his cruelty to the people and destruction of all books. It was under Emperor Qin that the Great Wall of China was built in which more than one million men died during its construction, he also built a massive underground tomb for himself for after his death. The book concludes with yet more facts and a test your knowledge section.
Princess and I were so taken with this book that we set about making our own paper.
The Race for the Chinese Zodiac – Gabrielle Wang
A long time ago in ancient China, the Jade emperor, ruler of heaven and earth proclaimed a great race, the first twelves animals to cross the river would each have a year named after them. Some animals raced honestly, some deviously, some helped others, some were focused, some distracted. Thus became the Chinese Zodiac. Our children find the Chinese Zodiac rather interesting so this was a good find.
Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams is a fascinating story. A Chinese Town on the border is in danger from approaching marauders. They need saving but when a ‘fat little old man’ arrives claiming he is a dragon no-one listens except for a poor orphan boy who offers him hospitality. For the child’s sake the Dragon saves the Town. Great story.
A young aspiring dancer finds a scrap of beautiful ‘peacock’ material in her Grandmother’s Treasure Box. Her grandmother shares with her an untold story. Both her Grandmother and her Mother were also dancers, both wore a beautiful dress for their dancing debuts, the dress was a treasured family possession, until one day during the Chinese Cultural Revolution soldiers destroyed the dress, all that was left was the scrap. The grandmother made a new dress for the young girl’s dance debut and sewed the scrap of ‘peacock’ fabric into her dress. Heartbreaking, poignant, and generated plenty of discussion in our home about the Cultural Revolution and Communism. Lovely illustrations. Would also suit for Chinese History.
The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folktale – Caryn Yacowitz
Tells the story of when Great Emperor of All China commands a stonecarver to carve a Dragon of Wind and Fire in a piece of perfect jade, but the carver, Chan Lo discovers the stone wants to be something else and risks the ire (and his life) of the Emperor to carve what the stone wants.
Chapter Books Over 11s
The chapter books shared are all set after Mao’s Revolution
Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cunxin.
The memoirs of the author who is chosen from a farm commune to train in Beijing as a ballet dancer. Under a grueling regime of exercise he achieves international success and defects to the West. We read the edition adapted for younger readers.
In 1966 Ji-Li Jiang turned 12. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything – brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China’s Communist Party. But that year Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Intelligence suddenly became a crime, and having wealthy ancestors meant persecution – or worse. Over the next few years, Ji-Li and her family were humiliated and scorned, and lied in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji-Li was faced with the most difficult choice of her life. She could denounce her father and break with her family, or she could refuse to testify and sacrifice her future in her beloved Communist Party.