Posts tagged ‘Chinese’

Mixed Feelings

Mina’s Ups and Downs (Written in Traditional Chinese, English and Pinyini)

Written by Katrina Liu

Illustrated by Rosalia Destarisa

This bilingual picture book written in Chinese and English walks the reader through Mina’s first visit to a carnival. She is so excited. As Mina experiences the rides, the petting zoo, and the sights and smells of the carnival, she displays a range of feelings

Mina feels happy when she flies up in the air but disappointed when she is too short for the roller coaster. She finds it difficult to choose from so many foods She feels angry when the goats cause her to drop her ice cream and sad when she first loses a carnival game. Young readers get the message that it’s okay to experience a range of emotions and that all works out for the best in the end.

This book is an excellent choice for toddlers and preschoolers. My only criticism would be that the font for English is rather small and a bit difficult to read as the Chinese characters draw the eye to it.

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FRIENDS OR FOES

The Jade Dragon

Written by Carolyn Marsden and Virginia Shin-Mui Loh

theJadeDragonpic

This is the story of two second grade Chinese girls struggling to find their identity. Ginny was born in America and is being raised by Chinese parents who follow traditional customs and live out their Chinese culture. Stephanie, on the other hand, was born in China and has been adopted by white, Anglo-Saxon parents and does everything possible to avoid anything that associates her with being Chinese.

When Ginny arrives at school for the new year, she is delighted to find that this year there is another Chinese girl in her all white school. Stephanie tries to avoid her because she does not like being “different.” Ginny tries her best to make friends and finally succeeds because Stephanie’s mother would like her daughter to be exposed to her Chinese culture. When Stephanie visits Ginny, her mother is insulted because Stephanie won’t even try to eat Chinese food. Stephanie wants to play with blonde haired dolls and American toys. She makes fun of Ginny for wearing a traditional Chinese dress, and makes Ginny feel bad that her mother refuses to allow her to wear a party dress like that of Stephanie. As the girls get to know each other better, they exchange secrets. Ginny admits that she does not always like eating Chinese food, learning Chinese calligraphy and eating traditional Chinese foods. Stephanie admits that sometimes she wishes that she were not adopted and that she lived in China so that her parents would look like her. It is so hard to deal with the stares of people who see her walking with her American parents. The two girls trade gifts. Ginny is terrified that her mother will discover she has given her jade good luck dragon to Stephanie. At one point the girls become so close that they wear matching friendship necklaces, but that friendship is threatened when Stephanie becomes jealous of Ginny’s new talents learned in Chinese school. Will these two girls who seem to have so much in common find a common bond to develop and nurture their friendship?

This story is set in the 1980’s which does make some of the variables a bit different. I do believe the conflicts and struggles do present many similar challenges in the twenty first century, even though the times present us with more diversification in schools and communities. The story still speaks to immigrant and adopted children who are coping with similar situations. Targeted reading audience is age seven through ten. The one hundred sixty page book might present an independent reading challenge for children at the lower end of that range even though it is written fairly well and the vocabulary is generally not too difficult. Dialogue seems appropriate and flows well. There is a glossary with Chinese language expressions at the end for interested readers. This book will make a great addition to elementary classroom multicultural libraries.

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