Selected East Asian Books For Children (Grades 1-6)
The Paper Dragon Davol, Marguerite W 32pp. Atheneum/Simon, 1997, ISBN 0689319924.
Tells the story of Mi Fei, an artist, who paints the stories of gods and heroes on paper scrolls while living in his village. News that a great dragon has awakened from its hundred-years' sleep and is destroying the countryside, prompts Mi Fei, t o take his scrolls and paints to the dragon's mountain where he encourages the fiery breath and lashing tail of the terrifying creature. He learns he must perform three tasks or he will be devoured. Sabuda uses triple-page gate-fold illustrations to il lustrate the story in the style of Chinese scrolls.
The Great Wall. Mann, Elizabeth. 48 pp. Firefly, 1997, $16.95. ISBN 0965049329.
The author's focus is the history behind the building of the Great Wall, not its architecture. She begins with events during the reign of the first emperor of China and follows the long conflict between the Chinese and the nomadic people wh o inhabited the grasslands north of China that provided the touchstone for the wall's construction.
Houses of China Shemie, Bonnie. 24pp. Tundra Books, 1999, $13.95. ISBN 0887763693.
Shemie explores the lives of people through the homes they build and describes the beliefs that influence Chinese design: Fengshui and Confucianism.
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The Crane Wife. Bodkin, Odds.32pp. Harcourt Brace, 1998, $16.00 ISBN 0152014071.
This vivid retelling of a Japanese folktale, features Osamu, a lonely sail maker, who nurses an injured crane back to health. Osamu's next visitor is a beautiful and mysterious woman whom he takes in as well. They fall in love. His guest offers to weave him a magic sail to sail, but he is not allowed to watch her work. This well-known tale's tragic outcome is a finely tuned drama. Gennady Spirin's watercolor and gouache compositions are filled with Japanese motifs and period details cast an othe rworldly mood, including several beautiful and memorable scenes of trees in autumn and people draped in elegant costumes of historical Japan.
Chibi A True Story from Japan. Brenner, Barbara and Takaya, Julia.64pp. Harcourt Brace, 1998, $16.00 ISBN 0152014071.
A wild mother duck nests beside the pool of a downtown office to raise her young and eventually leads them across an eight-lane highway to a roomier body of water-the great moat in the Emperor's Imperial Gardens. Chibi, the smallest of her brood, becmes the favorite duckling of the citizens of Tokyo. Japanese words used in the text are featured in one page glossary.
The Dragon Kite. Luenn, Nancy.32pp. Harcourt Brace, 1992, $6.00 ISBN 0152241973.
This story is based upon a historical thief who lived in Japan in the late 1600s or early 1700s and stole food to feed the poor. The paintings and illustrations by Michael Hague make this version of a Japanese folktale hum with suspense.
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Yumni and Hal-moni's Trip. Choi Sook Nyul. 32pp.Houghton Mifflin, 1997, $15.00. ISBN 0395811805.
Yumni visits Korea with her grandmother and looks forward to meeting relatives she has never seen, but she worries whether Halmoni will want to return to New York. This story explores the difficulties Korean American children face because they feel they are outsiders while in Korea.
The Chinese Mirror. Ginsburg, Mirra. 32p., Harcourt Brace, 1988, $6.00 ISBN 0152175083.
This is a sensitive retelling of a Korean folktale about the chaos a mirror creates when simple folk fail to recognize themselves.
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This bibliography is compiled by Mary Miller.