So far in our summer travel series, we have journeyed to Paris then Mumbai and now Beijing. Here are five books to introduce your little one to China whether to prep for an upcoming trip or explore the world from your own home.
Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett
This heart-warming tale was concocted during the author’s trip to China as she sailed down the Li River in the Guang Xi Province dotted with busy markets in small villages alongside lofty mountains. This image is beautifully captured in the book. Daisy is a little hen and children will love the story of her adventure out on the river and at the market. This is a wonderful book with the countryside of China in the backdrop.
The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine
The Changs, with their three little boys Ming, Cong and Da, are preparing to celebrate the New Year in spite of the drought in the village that has left them with just enough flour to make a single nian-gao (sticky rice cake). But even that nian-gao escapes and the Changs take to their heels behind it! This situation sets the perfect stage to take us to the village streets in China where we see people in ethnic wear, a variety of traditional foods, fishing nets, chicken coops and lion dancers. While children will find the chase of the runaway rice cake hilarious, the story itself sends out a message of compassion and kindness.
D Is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
This book on Chinese New Year is a great way to learn several traditions and practices from the culture to get you warmed up for a trip to Beijing. There’s a good chance you’ll come across incense and jade, or kites and lanterns or red envelopes and steamed dumplings during your stay, just like you’ll see in this book.
Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin
Isn’t food an important aspect of travel? This book gives children a great culinary and cultural experience through the simple activity of eating with family at a restaurant. We see a family getting busy with their chopsticks as they pick out and share samples of pork dumplings, turnip cakes, tofu and egg tarts served on a cart at their table. This is the popular Cantonese custom of dim sum that’s commonly offered in restaurants everywhere. Additional facts on the theme complete the book at the end. Perfect for little kids, particularly if you want to introduce Asian food traditions, Grace Lin’s book with sparse text and striking illustrations is tailored to fit their needs.
One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong
Featuring children from diverse races, this book is a neat introduction to Far East culture, especially for toddlers. Although not set in China, the book presents simple cultural elements like dragon boats, dim sum and mahjong, with more detailed explanations at the end. With bright colorful illustrations this book is a fantastic concept book on Chinese culture for very young children.
Interested in more ways you can travel to China?
Make a whole unit of learning out of it!
How about cooking a Chinese dessert with your child?.