Disclosure: I received book samples to assess. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Whether your child has a heritage from another country or you just want to teach your children about the world, books that feature stories about places outside of the U.S. are a great way to expose children to other cultures.
I came upon two Chinese books for kids that keep traditional stories alive. They’re a great way to pass down the stories that parents have told their children for generations in China. Both books I mention below were written and illustrated by Mingmei Yip.
Grandma Panda’s China Storybook:Legends, Traditions, and Fun
I like that Grandma Panda figure as grandmas are an identifiable figure for kids. Children also love pandas, so put the two together and they create great interest. The illustrations are vivid and cute, and the book teaches about traditional stories in a fun and accessible way for kids.
Note that this is not a picture book for very young kids though parents can read the stories to them. Rather it’s more for primary and intermediate school kids. The only thing I don’t love is the font which is made to look like handwriting. I find it harder to read, especially since there’s a lot of text printed on each page. But other than this my daughter and I enjoyed the stories.
- Yum Yum, We Love Dim Sum! – Grandma and the children go to a restaurant to enjoy dim sum. Grandma explains what dim sum is and tells the legend of how it was invented.
- Grandma Panda Teaches Us Chinese Writing – Grandma shows the children how to mix ink and hold their brushes. She shows them characters in both their ancient and present forms and tells them the story of four-eyed Cang Jie.
- Dotting the Dragon’s Eyes – To explain the importance of paying attention to detail, Grandma tells the story of Zhang Sengyao.
- The Story of Mulan, the Brave Woman Warrior – Grandma tells the story of Mulan to teach the virtues of bravery, leadership, patriotism and determination.
- The Little Kungfu Warriors – The story of Mulan excites the little pandas into action, and they and grandma share a few moves.
- The Painted Faces of Chinese Opera – Grandma explains the meaning of the painted faces.
- Fun with Chinese Kites – Grandma takes the children kite flying and tells them the story of Luban the kite inventor.
- Grandma Panda Sings an Old Farewell Song – Grandma shows the children the Qin and sings “Three Variations on the Yang Pass”
Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories
The book features Thirteen Chinese folktales, some spanning back thousands of years. Author-illustrator Mingmei Yip was inspired to write the book based on her father’s nightly story-telling adventures when she was a child.
Beautifully illustrated, the book is geared towards children ages five to ten. For the younger set, parents can read the stories to them which are sure to stimulate their imaginations. Stories include many animal characters that also introduce Chinese culture through their adventures.
- The Fish-Basket Goddess
- The Mouse Bride
- Dream of the Butterfly
- The Ghost Catcher
- The Frog Who Lived in a Well
- Chang-E Flies to the Moon
- The Wolf and the Scholar
- Playing the Qin for the Water Buffalo
- Carp Jumping over the Dragon Gate
- How the Fox Tricked the Tiger
- The Monkey King Turns the Heavenly Palace Upside Down
- The Monkey Wu Kong Learns his Lesson
This book is a great way to pass down traditional stories to younger generations, something I strive to do for my daughter.
Find this book on Amazon.com or at www.tuttlepublishing.com.