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Chinese Culture Books for Children

Recommended books on Chinese culture for adopted children.

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Harmony: A Treasury of Chinese Wisdom for Children and Parents
By Sarah Conover and Chen Hui
This enjoyable and scholarly collection for children and adults presents 24 common moral tales and their respective sayings from China, including well known Buddhist, Confucius, and Taoist teachings. Each story is well written and fun, with more than a touch of humor. From children to their elders almost everyone in China knows the "chenggyu" in this fascinating book, making this a unique and wonderful resource for anyone interested in Chinese culture.
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Henry's First-Moon Birthday
by Lenore Look, Yumi Heo (Illustrator)

Jenny celebrates her baby brother's first month birthday in this colorful book. The story follows Jenny through her day as the family prepares the celebrations. The colorful pictures are a bit stilted but cheerful in this book illustrating Chinese American culture.
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Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes
by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, Meilo So (Illustrator)
From the publisher: 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. 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.
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Ling-Li and the Phoenix Fairy: A Chinese Folktale
by Ellin Greene
"This Chinese folk tale is the intricate story of a young women betrothed to be married and the beautiful robe she makes for her wedding."
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Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale
by Lily Toy Hong

"This fun and cheerful story based on a Chinese folktale is about a Chinese couple with a magic pot that duplicates everything. One day they have the surprise of falling in the pot, resulting in two of themselves. Twins especially will enjoy this book, but its a lighthearted tale that any young child will enjoy." Allison Martin
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Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding
by Lenore Look, Yumi Heo (Illustrator)

Once again the lively Jenny returns, this time to celebrate the Chinese wedding of her uncle.
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Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac
by Ed Young
"This folk tale based on the Asian zodiac tells the story of how the Cat and Rat became enemies."
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The Squiggle
by Carole Lexa Schaefer
"A cheerful book for young children about using your imagination. A little girl creates magical line drawings of Chinese images, with the help of her imagination and The Squiggle." (Allison Martin)
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Someone Says
by Carole Lexa Schaefer, Pierr Morgan (Illustrator)
Another appealing imagination book from Schaefer and Morgan. Asian children imagine their way through the day, "becoming ponies that prance, birds that swoop, tigers that slurp, and dreamers who invent a thousand other things to become." Ages 4-8 (Allison Martin)
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Five Heavenly Emperors : Chinese Myths of Creation
by Song Nan Zhang
This colorful children's book shares Chinese stories and legends of the creation of the world. Stories include Five Heavenly EmperorsYouchao and the First Dwellings, the Cowherd and the Weaving Girl, and Nuwu Mends the Sky. Chang-Er Flies to the Moon and other stories illustrate popular stories for various celebrations such as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Each story is dramatically illustrated with symbolic and mythic Chinese images. A nice reference book for children (and adults) who are interested in Chinese legends. (Allison Martin)
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A Time of Golden Dragons
by Song Nan Zhang, Hao Yu Zhang

A Time of Golden Dragons tells the story of the Chinese dragon's history and legends, its role in celebrations, and its image as a zodiac sign. Dragons are miraculous creatures, often helpful, which are said to embody parts of many animals - deer, camel, serpent, frog, fish, tiger, eagle and ox. The symbol of the dragon is represented in almost every aspect of Chinese life. This book explains celebrations such as the Dragon Boat race, the symbolism of being born in the sign of the dragon, and representations of dragons in ancient and modern times. This is a colorful and educational book for anyone who is fascinated by Chinese dragons. (Allison Martin)
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The Children of China: An Artist's Journey
by Song Nan Zhang

This colorful picture book shows off the paintings of Chinese-Canadian artist Song Nan Zhang. Commentary by the artist accompanies the pictures; he describes his paintings and provides some background on the culture and lifestyle of the people. The pictures illustrate a variety of ethnic minorities in China, including the Miao, Yi and Tajiks. Celebrations such as New Year among the majority, the Han are also illustrated. The pictures are very colorful, with elaborate costumes and backgrounds. (Allison Martin)
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Kite Flying
by Grace Lin

Celebrates the Chinese tradition of kite making and kite flying and lovingly depicts a family bonded by this ancient and modern pleasure.
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Fortune Cookie Fortunes
by Grace Lin

This exhuberantly illustrated story about every kid’s favorite part of a Chinese meal also includes a brief history of the fortune cookie.
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Dim Sum for Everyone
by Grace Lin (Illustrator)

On a visit to a bustling dim sum restaurant, a family picks their favorite little dishes from the steaming trolleys filled with dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts.
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One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers
by Roseanne Thong, Grace Lin (Illustrator)

Counting book with Chinese objects and images.
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Red Is a Dragon: A Book of Colors
by Roseanne Thong, Grace Lin (Illustrator)

A Chinese American girl provides rhyming descriptions of the great variety of colors she sees around her, from the red of a dragon, firecrackers, and lychees to the brown of her teddy bear.
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Houses of China
by Bonnie Shemie

This is a fascinating introduction to the variety of native houses in China. China is a vast country, with many ethnic traditions, which are reflected in the breadth of this book. These houses vary dramatically from the circular houses near Mongolia to walled apartments near Nepal, and to post houses near Thailand and Vietnam. Amazingly 40 million people still live in carved out caves in the mountains. The illustrations are colorful and self explanatory; the text is informative and yet is not dry. A sure winner for your child's class room or a great reference for your home. (Allison Martin)
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C Is for China
by Sungwan So

An alphabetical and photographic journey through China, depicting its people, customs, history, religion, and beliefs.
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D Is for Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture
by Maywan Shen Krach, Hongbin Zhang

23 Chinese terms with both Chinese characters and hanyu-pinyin (Romanized Chinese), followed by an English translation and narrative. Chinese folk art illuminates the text.
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I Love China: A Companion Book to D Is for Doufu
by Maywan Shen Krach, Maychi Shen Wang

A language activity book based on the 46 characters in "D Is for Doufu". Along with the book, the pack includes red envelopes, postcards, bookmarks, and word cards.
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Colors of China (Colors of the World)
by Shannon Zemlicka, Janice Lee Porter (Illustrator)

Explains the significance of various colors in the history, physical features, and culture of China.
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Look What Came From China!
by Miles Harvey

Familiar and unfamiliar objects originating in China - inventions, food, tools, animals, toys, games, musical instruments, fashion, medicine, holidays, and sports.
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Count Your Way Through China
by Jim Haskins

"The easy way to learn to count in Chinese. An enjoyable book to share with your young child. The pictures of China and culture provide a educational and beautiful background for this simple and fun counting book." (Allison Martin)
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In the Snow
by Huy Voun Lee

"A pretty book, fun for young children. A mother shows her little boy how to make Chinese writing in the snow at the park one day.. See also In the Park by the same artist." (Allison Martin)
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