Thing to Read - Books About China for Kids

books (6 of 17)

Lately the girls have been asking a lot of questions about different cultures and countries, so I decided to buy them some books on China. Why China? Well, first of all, almost all of their toys come from China (hence they dream of China like I used dream of of Santa's workshop at the North Pole). Further, two of our good friends are moving with the State Department to Malaysia in a few months (I didn't think I could find a whole series of books on Malaysia) and the kids are taking the loss of their best adult-friend, Val, pretty hard. Further, one of their friends is living in Mongolia with her grandparents for two years (and I didn't think I could find several books on Mongolia).

So here's what we've been reading:

The Seven Chinese Sisters

The girls love this book, in which a dragon abducts sister seven (the baby) and the six older sisters utilize their various skills to save her. It's a little scary (the dragon wants to eat the baby) but a really nice fable about working together and using everyone's "special" talent.

Great Race

The Great Racetells the story of the Chinese horoscope and how the animals' competition to win the name of the first calendar year. In the story, the rat tricks everyone and wins the prize. It's a fun read, especially as the girls like to compare their personal horoscopes at the end.

Chinese Children's Favorite Stories

In many ways, this is the perfect book. I've been trying to move the girls away from picture books, but P refuses to read anything that doesn't have illustrations on every page. This book has several "longer" stories, with only a few illustrations for each one, which I appreciated. Plus many of the stories introduce Chinese gods and heavens, which helped me discuss different religious views with the girls. On the downside, some of the stories are sexist - such as "The Mouse Bride" where the mayor basically auctions off his daughter and "Chang-E Flies to the Moon" where the heavenly guards explain that a good wife should not leave her husband. But I also like that the stories allowed us to talk about sex-related issues, such as "how do you think the Mayor's daughter felt when her father treated her like property?" and "do you think Change-E was right to leave her husband?" And some of the stories are simple, beautiful tales, such as "Dream of the Butterfly" where the "scholar" dreams he is a butterfly and learns to appreciate the natural world around him. And the girls really like the story of "The Ghost Catcher" where special paintings scare away bad ghosts (after we read it we made several pictures of our own to scare away ghosts).

China (A to Z)

This was the only non-fiction book I bought on China and the concepts it introduces are quite simple - such as food, puppets, holidays, etc. The girls have enjoyed learning about a different culture's everyday life and holidays (I've discovered that Communism is actually quite difficult to explain to children as they're used to living in a world where other people always tell them what they can and can't do).

The Dancing Dragon

This fold out book (which becomes one very long illustration) tells the story of a Chinese New Year Parade. I think F was a little too old for it (she's 5.5), but the illustrations are beautiful and now all three kids want to go to see the puppets at a New Years' parade.

What about everyone else? Any good book recommendations for kids?


  1. I love the Seven Chinese Sisters!! I listened to that folklore all the time when I was a kid :)

    <3 Belly B



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