When preparing to travel, I always search to find books that will help me prepare and understand the place where I am going. I believe that children’s books offer a great introduction to people and places. So, when I was given the opportunity to travel to Northeast China with Holt International Children’s Services, I found some great books to help me get ready.
China (DK Eyewitness Books) offers a great view into the vast country of China. The book is filled with hundreds of wonderful photographs showing people, places, food, families, festivals, homes, sports and much more. The text is clear and gives a wonderful introduction to a broad variety of topics showing both traditional and contemporary life in China. This is definitely the book to start your exploration of China. (Author- Hugh Sebag Montefiore. Publisher – DK Eyewitness Books. Ages 8-12 years.)
Chinese Feasts and Festivals : A Cookbook was given to me by my friend Lisa who travels frequently to China. One of the best ways to learn about a country is through its food. Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year, The Hungry Ghost Festival, and the Moon Festival are described as well as the traditional foods that are eaten at each. Recipes are included with very detailed instructions. The illustrations are soft and warm and show the warmth of families celebrating together. ( Author and illustrator – S.C. Moey, Publisher – Periplus Editions, ages – children to adult.)
Little White Duck, a Childhood in China is a memoir about the author and her sister who lived through the tremendous changes that occurred in China after the death of Mao. I am a fan of graphic novels and I think this is one of the best I have ever read. The story is told in eight chapters, each describing what life was like between the years 1976-1980. Difficult themes are addressed such as a grandmother disappointed that her son had two girls and no boys and poverty. Chinese mythology is woven throughout the book which also shows the difference between country and city life. This is a powerful book which is a perfect introduction to the effects of the cultural revolution in China. Read this and share it!