PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: Two Top-Ten picks of Chinese-themed Australian books by Chris Cheng

Monday, November 12th, 2012

In this final post in our 10th Anniversary Top-10 series, we present not one but two book lists from Australian author Chris Cheng, both with a Chinese theme.  The first focuses on picture books and the second on middle-grade/YA fiction.

Chris is the author of more than forty books for children of all ages, including two books in Scholastic’s My Australia series, The Melting Pot and New Gold Mountain, which explores racially-based conflicts on the New South Wales goldfields during the 1860s. Before becoming a full-time writer, Chris was a primary school teacher and then spent almost eight years teaching in the Education Centre of Taronga Zoo in Sydney, where he established Australia’s first Zoomobile.  He has written many non-fiction titles about animals and the environment, and do read this Personal View he wrote for us a few years ago, Drawing from eco-riches: Australia’s environment in children’s books.

Chris is just coming to the end of his stint as an ambassador for Australia’s National Year of Reading.  He is currently co-chair of the International Advisory Board for SCBWI and is Co-Regional Advisor for Australia and New Zealand.  As well as his website and author blog, do check out Chris’ New Kidz Books In Oz blog; and he reports on Asian, Australian and New Zealand books for Cynsations, where you can also read an interview.


(Current) Top-10 Australian Books with a Chinese theme X 2 by Chris Cheng

Far out… you want to limit this list to 10… that is night on soooooo difficult. We are a multicultural country with immigrants from many other places around the world coming to Australia and being integral to the foundation stones on which modern Australia is constructed.

So these are my ‘current’ top 10 favs of a multicultural nature – all by Australians and all have a Chinese theme … biased I know … and they don’t include my books!

Picture Books:

~ The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Lothian, 2006)

~ Big Dog by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Armin Greder (Scholastic Australia, 2004)

~ The Boss by Allan Baillie, illustrated by Fiona O’Beirne (Scholastic, 1992)

~ Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year by Sally Rippin (Omnibus Books, 1996)

~ The Kinder Hat by Morag Loh, illustrated by Donna Rawlins (Ashton Scholastic, 1985)

~ Moon Bear Rescue by Kim Dale (Lothian, 2006)

~ The Peasant Prince by Li Cunxin, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas (Viking/Penguin Australia, 2007)

~ The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by Sally Rippin (Walker Books Australia, 2010)

~ Rebel by Allan Baillie, illustrated by Di Wu (Phoenix Education, 2011)

~ The River by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Stanley Wong (Asian Education Foundation/Curriculum Corporation (Australia), 2001)


~ The China Coin by Allan Baillie (Penguin Group Australia, 1992)

~ Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson (Macmillan, 2003)

~ Foreign Devil by Christine Harris (Random House Australia, 1999)

~ The Garden of Empress Cassia by Gabrielle Wang (Puffin Australia, 2002/Kane Miller, 2011)

~ Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson (Macmillan, 2005)

~ A Ghost in my Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang (Puffin Australia, 2009)

~ Hungry Ghosts by Sally Heinrich (Hachette Australia, 2007)

~ Just One Wish by Sally Rippin (Penguin Group Australia, 2009)

~ The Secret Life of Maeve Lee Kwong by Kirsty Murray (Paw Prints, 2008)

~ Year of the Tiger by Alison Lloyd (Penguin Group Australia, 2008)

Asian Festival of Children’s Content ~ May 6 – 9, Singapore

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content has launched it’s new website. Be sure to check out the Programme Schedule as well as the Speaker Profiles! You can also see the schedule herewith the names of their relevant speakers. And what a rich programme it is – there will be some hard decisions to make as to which sessions to attend! Among the speakers lined up are Chris Cheng, Sally Heinrich, Rukhsana Kahn, Uma Krishnaswami, Anushka Ravishankar and Holly Thompson, to name but a few.

Two new children’s book awards will also be announced during the Festival: the Asian Children’s Book Prize, and the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award for Singaporean children’s books.

There was quite a buzz about this Festival at the Bologna Book Fair and I’m sure it will be a resounding success! The event is co-hosted by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), a non-profit organization that promotes storytelling, reading, writing and publishing. NBDCS does a fabulous job bringing the book industry and literary community together through social events, courses, seminars, conferences and author lectures. A visit to their website and blog gives great insight on the literary goings-on in Singapore.

Today while perusing the NBDCS website, I came across the inspiring story of Singaporean author Emily Lim. At the age of 28, Emily was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD), a rare neurological condition that was robbing her of her speech. A few years later, during a breather from her extremely successful corporate career, Emily decided to pursue her dream of writing and entered her story Prince Bear and Pauper Bear in the 2007 First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative, a competition co-organized by the NBCDS. Prince Bear and Pauper Bear, which drew on her own emotional responses to SD, was one of eight winners. With the cash prize and her own savings Emily went about getting (more…)