Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recommended Children's Books - Nov 09

Here are some children's books with Asian themes that we recommend:
  • Chinese Cinderella: The Mystery of the Song Dynasty Painting by Adeline Yen Mah. Is she dreaming, or has Chinese Cinderella lived a previous life? Following a fall at the river town of Feng Jie, Chinese Cinderella is whisked away to hospital. There she sees a copy of an ancient painting, 'Along the River at Qing Ming'. As she lapses in and out of consciousness, she is haunted by vivid dreams that seem strange, yet somehow familiar. A tale emerges, of friendship, wealth and poverty, eunuchs and an Emperor who loved art, as Chinese Cinderella recalls a life lived eight hundred years ago during the Song Dynasty. But is it real, or all in her imagination...
  • Georgette's Mooncakes by Adeline Foo; illustrated by Lee Kowling. Two little girls find themselves caught up in the middle of an uprising in ancient China, as the Chinese revolt against their Mongol rulers. With a backdrop of mystical Chinese lanterns and monstrous Japanese kites, this story traces the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, weaving in the magic of mooncakes painted by one of Singapore's pioneer artists, Georgette Chen.
  • Baby Panda Finds His Way by Emily Lim; illustrated by Li Dan. This is the second book in the 'Asian Values' series, which aspires to introduce children to Asian values in an accessible and enjoyable way through simple, engaging and thought-provoking stories. In this book, Baby Panda learns about the importance of Respect. Baby Panda was not very good at showing respect - to his mother, his elders or even to his environment. One day, he becomes lost. With the help of Tiger, Baby Panda is finally reunited with his mother, but not before he has learnt about the importance of respect. The first book in the series is Water Buffalo's Reward.
  • Under The Cherry Blossom Tree: An Old Japanese Tale by Allen Say. There were eggs in every bird's nest, the air buzzed with honeybees, and cherry trees bloomed all at once. The poor villagers forgot their cares and gathered in the meadow to sing and dance their time away. But their miserly landlord refused to be happy. Mumbling and grumbling, he sat all alone eating a bowl of cherries and glaring at the merry villagers. Then, quite by accident, he swallowed a cherry pit. The pit began to sprout. Soon the landlord was the wonder of the village - a cherry tree was growing out of the top of his head! What happened to the cherry tree and to the wicked landlord is a favourite joke in Japan. Illustrator and storyteller Allen Say recounts this tale with wit and vitality, and his beautiful drawings complement this classic Japanese tale.
  • Hachiko Waits by Newman Leslea. Inspired by the true story of Hachi, the faithful dog in Japan that would wait at the train station for its master long after the man had died. This is a profoundly touching story about loyalty and devotion, suitable for readers aged 8 years and older.
  • Fatimah and Her Magic Socks by Zizi Azah Abdul Majid and Izmir Ickbal. Lively colour illustrations enhance the tale for small children of how a young girl, enpowered by the lion of her imagination, takes her journey which encourages independent thinking. The story is related to a production of Singapore's innovative Teater Ekamatra.

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