Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, February 8th, 2013

The Year of the Snake slithers in this weekend but have no fear! Ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is actually a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. The sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the snake represents wisdom, intelligence and self-control. The snake also represents the ability to strike at will, quickly and powerfully. The Year of Snake promises to be a time of steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for all of us to achieve what we set out to create.

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar and celebrations take place around the world . What better way to get into the spirit by reading some Chinese New Year children’s books! Here are a few books we’ve blogged about that we would definitely recommend:

Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series by Oliver Chin,

The Great Race / The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson;

The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard, illustrated by Carolyn Reed Barritt

Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year by Sally Rippin

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by SallyRippin

Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat by one of my favorite authors Grace Lin. Be sure to visit Grace’s blog t0 read about her plans for bringing in the New Year with  her daughter Rain Dragon and to get some New Year crafts suggestions.

My Mom Is a Dragon and My Dad is a Boar and Hiss! Pop! Boom! by Tricia Morissey

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year! written and illustrated by Demi. Read our interview with Demi here and see our gallery of her stunning illustration work here.

And here’s a special kidlit New Year celebration  for those of you who live in San Jose, CA, USA.  Children’s author Oliver Chin will be reading from his new book The Year of the Snake: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, on Feb. 19th at the Joyce Ellington Branch library. Details here.

The Tiger’s Bookshelf: Celebrating Words in Two Languages

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Everyday LifeHam and eggs, hugs and kisses, poetry and painting–there are some things that were always meant to be together. This is colorfully, exuberantly, and bilingually pointed out by Everyday Life by Tricia Morrissey and Ding Sang Mak, illustrated by a group of artists from Jinshan, China (ThingsAsian Press).

Following the four seasons through the activities and festivals of a Chinese year, this book is filled with short verses, each one written in English, Chinese characters, and romanized Chinese, complete with tone marks, so those of us who don’t speak Chinese can still attempt to give the music of its sounds a try. Dragons dance, pictures are “sewed into life,” kites swoop, trees are decorated with toys during the harvest festival, and winter is greeted with the Chicken Feather Game–while children “Pile Up a Snowman” with “brown mushroom ears, black olive eyes.”

Everyday LifeEach of the joyful, rollicking verses is accompanied by a painting, done in vivid, gleaming colors and filled with people who are so vitally present that they almost seem in motion. Every picture draws the viewer into the scene and into the lives that leap straight from the page to imaginations. They have been created by folk artists, farmers who paint scenes from their daily lives in tempera mixed with chalk, whose work is now exhibited in a Shanghai gallery.

Through art and the use of English and Chinese, this is a book that shrinks global distances by bringing another culture close while introducing the youngest of children to the delight of rhyming, rhythmical words in two languages and the pleasure of exploring paintings. And what could be better than that, after eating a plate of ham and eggs and before receiving bedtime hugs and kisses?