Recommended Books

Grades K to 3 – China

d is for doufu book cover

D Is for Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture

Maywan Shen Krach

An alphabet book approach exploring the beauty and richness of the Chinese culture.

ruby's wish book cover

Ruby's Wish

Shirin Yim Bridges

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage.

The Great Wall Of China (Aladdin Picture Books)

The Great Wall Of China (Aladdin Picture Books)

Leonard Everett Fisher

A brief history of the Great Wall of China, begun about 2,200 years ago to keep out Mongol invaders.

A Grain of Rice

A Grain of Rice

Helena Clare Pittman

Over 200,000 copies sold! This classic mathematical folktale tells the story of a clever farmer who outwits the Emperor of China and becomes the wealthiest man in the world—all starting with one grain of rice.

When a humble farmer named Pong Lo asks for the hand of the Emperor’s beautiful daughter, the Emperor is enraged. Whoever heard of a peasant marrying a princess?

But Pong Lo is wiser than the Emperor knows. And when he concocts a potion that saves the Princess’s life, the Emperor gladly offers him any reward he chooses—except the Princess.

Pong Lo makes a surprising request. He asks for a single grain of rice, doubled every day for one hundred days. The baffled Emperor obliges—only to discover that if you’re as clever as Pong Lo, you can turn a single grain of rice into all the wealth and happiness in the world!

Praise for A Grain of Rice:

“Gracefully illustrated. . . . This original story set in fifteenth-century China will captivate readers and perhaps teach them a little about mathematics.” —Booklist

Clever and quietly told in simple, yet evocative language.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Any young reader (with calculator handy) will enjoy the tale.” —Scientific American

“[A] book that is wise and humorous, and one to be perused and savored.” —School Library Journal

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Ai-Ling Louie

“…A worthwhile addition to picture book collections.” — Booklist.”Executed with chromatic splendor–a unique combination of brillinace and restraint.” — The Horn Book“Every library will be enriched by it.” — School Library Journal

The Empress and the Silkworm

The Empress and the Silkworm

Lily Toy Hong

Almost five thousand years ago, a young Chinese empress was having tea in the garden. A cocoon from a mulberry tree fell into her cup. Through a dream and her persistence, the first silk cloth was made.

The Only Child

The Only Child

Guojing

New York Times Best Illustrated Book

Hailed by Entertainment Weekly and the Wall Street Journal as a best book of the year, this gorgeous and imaginative story—part picture book, part graphic novel—is utterly transporting and original. USA Today declared it “a compelling and melancholy debut from an important new talent” as well as “an expansive and ageless book full of wonder, sadness, and wild bursts of imagination.” And like Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, it is quickly becoming a modern classic.

A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But… home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?

In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

“A haunting, wordless, gorgeously drawn picture book.” People

“Told wordlessly through soft, dreamy illustrations, Guojing’s tale evokes the loneliness of growing up under China’s one-child policy.” —Entertainment Weekly

“A dreamy, wordless debut.” —The New York Times

“Majestic…. Rare is the book containing great emotional depth that truly resonates across a span of ages: this is one such.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Reminiscent of Raymond Briggs’s classic, The Snowman (1978), this is quiet, moving, playful, and bittersweet all at once.” —Booklist, Starred

The Emperor and the Kite (Paperstar Book)

The Emperor and the Kite (Paperstar Book)

Jane Yolen

Largely ignored by her own family, Princess Djeow Seow spends her days playing with a kite made from paper and sticks. But when the Emperor is imprisoned in a high tower, only the Princess can save the day, flying her kite high up into the sky to rescue her father.?A familiar jewel polished to unaccustomed brilliance.? ? Booklist?It is rare to find a book where the beauty of the language and image are so finely meshed as in this tale of loyalty and love.? ? United Press InternationalJane Yolen lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts and Scotland. Ed Young lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

The Ch'i-lin Purse: A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories (Sunburst Book)

The Ch'i-lin Purse: A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories (Sunburst Book)

Linda Fang

A Storytelling World magazine award winner

In turns funny, poignant, and wise, these nine lively stories are peopled with an array of unusual characters, including a young woman raised as a boy who is then faced with the complicated business of marriage; a carp-fish spirit who changes herself into a young woman for love’s sake; a Miracle Doctor who can cure all illnesses except one; and a shopkeeper who learns the hard way the true meaning of justice.

The Moon Lady (Aladdin Picture Books)

The Moon Lady (Aladdin Picture Books)

Amy Tan

A MAGICAL NIGHT WHEN SECRET WISHES CAN COME TRUE
On a rainy afternoon, three sisters wish for the rain to stoop, wish they could play in the puddles, wish for something, anything, to do. So Ying-Ying, their grandmother, tells them a tale from long ago. On the night of the Moon Festival, when Ying-ying was a little girl, she encountered the Moon Lady, who grants the secret wishes of those who ask, and learned from her that the best wishes are those you can make come true yourself. This haunting tale, adapted from Amy Tan’s best-seller The Joy Luck Club and enhanced by Gretchen Schields’s rich, meticulously detailed art, is a book for all to treasure.

The Weaving of a Dream (Picture Puffins)

The Weaving of a Dream (Picture Puffins)

Marilee Heyer

A retelling of the Chinese folktale “The Chuang Brocade”

The Weaving of a Dream is the story of a widow who provides for her sons by creating intricate brocades. One day, she trades a brocade for a beautiful painting of a palace. She then spends years lovingly recreating the scene in brocade only to lose her work on a windy day. After everything she has done for her family, her youngest son seeks to recover the lost treasure, traveling through terrible weather and rocky terrain.

Great for ages 5 and up. Beautiful and vibrant full-color illustrations.

Monkey King

Monkey King

Ed Young

From a fantastic explosion is born the legendary Monkey King, the clever and courageous hero of one of the best-known stories from China.

Ambitious Monkey travels to Square Inch Mountain, where he trains with Master Putt to perfect the art of turning cloud somersaults, riding the wind, changing shape, and disappearing in the blink of an eye.Then Monkey eagerly shows off his magic skills by tricking Dragon King and battling Jade Emperor. Monkey is so arrogant, he even gets into trouble with Buddha himself.

Caldecott Award-winning author-illustrator Ed Young has created colorful and lively collages and specially designed two fold-out pages to animate the story of Monkey King and his acrobatic, high-spirited adventures. This unprecedented picture-book adaptation introduces just the beginning of the classic epic Journey to the West, about the mission to bring Buddhist scriptures to China. Monkey is only one of its many characters, but he is undeniably the most beloved of them all.

Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (An Owlet Book)

Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (An Owlet Book)

Ed Young

To select the animals of the zodiac, the Jade Emperor has called for a race between all the animals.

The Magic Fan

The Magic Fan

Keith Baker
When Yoshi, a remarkable young Japanese builder, runs out of ideas, a magic fan inspires him with new projects. It is only after losing the fan that Yoshi discovers he can depend on his own imagination after all. “Fan-shaped cutout pages are splendid enhancements to this well-designed, stylish tale.”–Publishers Weekly
How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven

How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven

Lily Toy Hong

A Chinese folk tale which explains why the ox was banished from heaven to become the farmer’s beast of burden

Childrens Book Pr

Why Rat Comes First: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Clara Yen

Explains why Rat comes first in the Chinese calendar cycle of twelve years.

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!

DEMI

“In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing (‘Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you!’). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. . . . The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi’s characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday. Infused with joy and filled with information.”—Booklist

The Ballad of Mulan: Zaj Lus Taum Mulan (Bilingual - English and Hmong)

The Ballad of Mulan: Zaj Lus Taum Mulan (Bilingual - English and Hmong)

Song Nan Zhang

Bilingual book – English and Hmong on the same page. According to legend, there was a young woman named Mulan whose aged and frail father was conscripted. Mulan, unwilling to see her father fighting in a war, disguises herself as a man and joins the army in his place. For the next ten years she shows remarkable skill as a warrior and becomes a famous general. Her true identity remains hidden from her comrades until the very end. Now, over fifteen centuries later, Mulan continues to be an inspiration to Chinese girls and women. She embodies the belief that woman—if given the opportunity—are capable of accomplishing the same feats as men.

Look What Came From China!

Look What Came From China!

Miles Harvey

Describes many things, both familiar and unfamiliar, that originally came from China, including inventions, food, tools, animals, toys, games, musical instruments, fashion, medicine, holidays, and sports

The Chinese Siamese Cat

The Chinese Siamese Cat

Amy Tan

To explain the markings on their faces and tails, Ming Miao tells her kittens the story of their ancestor, Sagwa of China, and how the kitten’s antics foiled the Foolish Magistrate. This fairy tale is the inspiration of a PBS animated series that ran from fall 2001 to fall 2002. Full-color illustrations.

C Is for China (World Alphabets)

C Is for China (World Alphabets)

Sungwan So
From Abacus to Lantern, from Jade to Wenzi, this photographic alphabet book introduces young readers to the rich culture and natural beauty of China. Sungwan So’s colorful variety of images explore the country’s customs ancient and modern, illustrating not only the hubbub of street life in the cities, but also the rhythms of day-to-day life in rural areas. Beautiful photographs feature scenes of old men drinking tea on the street, a little boy learning to draw in the ink-and-wash technique shuimohua, natives in textured tapestries selling food at a market, and more. Both entertaining and educational, C Is for China pays tribute to one of the world’s great cultures.
Kite Flying

Kite Flying

Grace Lin

The family from Dim Sum for Everyone! is back for a new outing– building and flying their own kite!

The wind is blowing. It is a good day for kites! The whole family makes a trip to the local craft store for paper, glue, and paint. Everyone has a job: Ma-Ma joins sticks together. Ba-Ba glues paper. Mei-Mei cuts whiskers while Jie-Jie paints a laughing mouth. Dragon eyes are added and then everyone attaches the final touch . . . a noisemaker! Now their dragon kite is ready to fly.

Kite Flying celebrates the Chinese tradition of kite making and kite flying and lovingly depicts a family bonded by this ancient and modern pleasure.

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem About China

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem About China

Ed Young

Ed Young’s spare prose, as lovely as a rice-paper painting, describes in measured detail the beautiful and mystical land that the author so clearly loves. The unique format and gorgeous paper-collage illustrations, highlighted with Chinese characters, combine to convey the many facets of China to form a poetic picture of the land s grace, depth, and majesty.

We're Riding on a Caravan

We're Riding on a Caravan

Laurie Krebs

Explore the world of stunning silk, delicious spices and exotic trade locations in this rhyming tale about a Chinese family s journey along the Silk Road, the trade route that runs thousands of miles through Asia.

The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching

The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, Demi

THIS IS THE LEGEND OF LAO TZU,

who may or may not have been born; who may or may not have founded Taoism, on of the greatest religions in the world; and who may or may not have written one of the greatest books of wisdom in the world: the Tao Te Ching, or the “Way of Heaven.”

This thoughtful and thought-provoking book opens with a biography of Lao Tzu, the mysterious philosopher who is said to have been born at the age of eighty-one with snow-white hair, the ability to walk and talk, and unparalleled wisdom. Many credit him with creating the Tao Te Ching, which was written for the good of all humankind. Twenty of the eighty-one passages of the Tao Te Ching are included here, paired with stunning illustrations by the award-winning artist Demi. On topics ranging from silence to moderation, from governing to the balance of earth and heaven, these passages carry a powerful message and are sure to give each and every reader something new to consider.

Bringing In the New Year

Bringing In the New Year

Grace Lin

In a brightly colored board book, perfect  for the youngest child, Newbery Honoree Grace Lin tells the tale of a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each family member lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to celebrate. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade at the end!

Lin’s bold and gloriously patterned artwork makes for an unforgettable holiday tale. Her story is simple and tailor-made for reading aloud to young children, and she includes an informative author’s note for parents, teachers and children who want to learn even more.

Monkey King wreaks havoc in Heaven: 美猴王大鬧天宮 (Bilingual - English and Traditional Chinese Characters) (Adventures of Monkey King Book 2)

Monkey King wreaks havoc in Heaven: 美猴王大鬧天宮 (Bilingual - English and Traditional Chinese Characters) (Adventures of Monkey King Book 2)

Debby Chen

Bilingual Book – English text and Traditional Chinese Characters on the same page. In Monkey King Wreaks Havoc in Heaven, our show-off hero is determined to prove to the Emperor of Heaven that he is more than equal to any of the celestial warriors or ministers. But first he trains and fine tunes his own little monkey army, then he sets off to equip himself with his trademark hero’s weapon. Only then is he ready for a show-down with the Jade Emperor of Heaven. Epic battles are fought, and eventually all the lords and ladies of Heaven must run for cover as Monkey King runs amok. The supreme Buddha is the only one capable of reigning in the rampaging simian– and he does it with the strangest of wagers.

Living in . . . China

Living in . . . China

Chloe Perkins

Discover what it’s like to grow up in China with this fascinating, nonfiction Level 2 Ready-to-Read, part of a new series all about kids just like you in countries around the world!

Hao! My name is Jin, and I’m a kid just like you living in China. China is a country filled with ancient wonders, high-tech cities, and lots of people—more than any other country on Earth! Have you ever wondered what China is like? Come along with me to find out!

Each book in our new Living in… series is narrated by a kid growing up in their home country and is filled with fresh, modern illustrations as well as loads of history, geography, and cultural goodies that fit perfectly into Common Core standards. Join kids from all over the world on a globe-trotting adventure with the Living in… series—sure to be a hit with children, parents, educators, and librarians alike!

A Coloring Book of Ancient China

A Coloring Book of Ancient China

Bellerophon Books, Nancy Conkle

An excursion into the joys of Chinese art, from the earliest painting and ancient bronze animals to the famous painters of priceless scrolls. Included are line drawings of famous emperors and empresses.

Happy New Year! / Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'ai!

Happy New Year! / Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'ai!

DEMI DEMI

“In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing. On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. Each food has meaning: pork, for example, brings wealth. The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi’s characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday, such as 14 heavenly beings. Infused with joy and filled with information, this will be a fine purchase for most libraries.”–Booklist

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes

Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz
Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year’s dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival and a kite at Qing Ming, or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi.
This stunning compilation from bestselling cookbook author Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz of the Children’s Museum, Boston, is the perfect gift for families that have embraced Chinese holidays for generations–and for those just beginning new traditions.
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

Ed Young

WINNER OF THE RANDOLPH CALDECOTT MEDAL, AWARDED TO THE ARTIST OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR

“(Young’s) command of page composition and his sensitive use of color give the book a visual force that matches the strength of the story and stands as one of the illustrator’s best efforts.” —Booklist

“Absolutely splendid.” — Kirkus Reviews. “An extraordinary and powerful book.” — Publisher’s Weekly

The now-classic Chinese retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and one of the most celebrated picture books of our time.

The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China

The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China

Ed Young

I knew nothing could happen to us within those walls, in the house Baba built.

In Ed Young’s childhood home in Shanghai, all was not as it seemed: a rocking chair became a horse; a roof became a roller rink; an empty swimming pool became a place for riding scooters and bikes. The house his father built transformed as needed into a place to play hide-and-seek, to eat bamboo shoots, and to be safe.

For outside the home’s walls, China was at war. Soon the house held not only Ed and his four siblings but also friends, relatives, and even strangers who became family. The war grew closer, and Ed watched as planes flew overhead and frends joined the Chinese air force. But through it all, Ed’s childhood remained full of joy and imagination.

This powerful, poignant, and exquisitely illustrated memoir is the story of one of our most beloved children’s illustrators and the house his baba built.

Ming's Adventure with the Terracotta Army: A Terracotta Army General 'Souvenir' comes alive and swoops Ming away! (Cultural China)

Ming's Adventure with the Terracotta Army: A Terracotta Army General 'Souvenir' comes alive and swoops Ming away! (Cultural China)

Li Jian

This beautifully illustrated multicultural children’s book tells a story about China’s most famous archeological site—the terracotta soldiers of Xi’an.

When a special exhibition of terracotta warriors comes to town, Ming and his mother go to see them at the museum. To remember this exciting event, Ming’s mother buys him a little figurine of a General to keep in his room at home. But at midnight, Ming wakes up and finds the General figurine is alive and he has a copper carriage ready to take Ming to his home in Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb in Xi’an, China. In this mysterious underground world over 2,000 years old, Ming meets the General’s army of terracotta warriors.

Read and find out more about Ming’s adventures with his new friends!

An's Seed (English and Chinese Edition) (Chinese and English Edition)
FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

An's Seed (English and Chinese Edition) (Chinese and English Edition)

Zaozao Wang

The master gave Ben, Jing, and An one dormant lotus seed each. Ben ran off to look for a hoe and buried his seed in the snow-covered ground. Jing chose the best flowerpot and compost. An led his everyday life as usual, waiting patiently until spring came.

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming (Tilbury House Nature Books)
FREEMAN AWARD WINNER

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming (Tilbury House Nature Books)

Sigrid Schmalzer

This beautiful book tells its story through the memories of a farm boy who, inspired by Pu Zhelong, became a scientist himself.

The narrator is a composite of people Pu Zhelong influenced in his work. With further context from Melanie Chan’s historically precise watercolors, this story will immerse young readers in Chinese culture, the natural history of insects, and the use of biological controls in farming. Backmatter provides context and background for this lovely, sophisticated picture book about nature, science, and Communist China.

My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder
FREEMAN AWARD Of Note

My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

Nie Jun

A 2019 Batchelder Honor Book

Yu’er and her grandpa live in a small neighborhood in Beijing―and it’s full of big personalities. There’s a story around every corner, and each day has a hint of magic.

In one tale, Yu’er wants to swim in the Special Olympics, a sports competition for people with disabilities. But she and her grandpa don’t have a pool! Their trick to help Yu’er practice wows the whole neighborhood. In another story, a friend takes Yu’er to a wild place full of musical insects. Later, Yu’er hears a special story about her grandparents. And in the final story, Yu’er and her grandpa show a cranky painter the sweet side of life.

FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

The Moose of Ewenki

Gerelchimeg Blackcrane

From one of China’s most beloved, bestselling children’s authors comes this touching story of friendship and empathy, which celebrates the traditional way of life for the Indigenous Ewenki peoples of Mongolia. When a Mongolian elder named Gree Shrek hunts a female moose by mistake, her young calf is left behind. Saddened by her loss, Gree Shrek names the calf Xiao Han (“Little Moose”) and the moose and man form an authentic attachment. Xiao Han accompanies Gree Shrek as the hunter-gatherer herds reindeer, sets up camp, forages for food in the forest, and visits his peoples’ village, where many fun adventures happen. But as the little moose grows bigger, Gree Shrek knows he must return his companion to the forest. Richly detailed, painterly illustrations by Chinese fine artist Jiu’er bring authenticity and beauty to this thoughtful book, which illuminates the traditional and vanishing way of life for the Ewenki peoples of Inner Mongolia.