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Welcoming in the Chinese New Year

The Year of the Dragon, Chinese New Year, begins January 23, 2012

Ronna Mandel has chosen two books to review this week to help you kick off the Chinese New Year; the first is the winner of a New York Times BEST ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD and the second is a Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW.

I just loved the simple yet moving story of  A New Year’s Reunion written by Yu Li-Qiong with its dynamic and joyous illustrations by Zhu Cheng-Liang ($15.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3-5). Perhaps as early as preschool, I used to enjoy learning about holidays and celebrations around the world. Whether hearing stories about Children’s Day in Japan or Guy Fawkes Day in England, I would sit back, close my eyes and transport myself to the destination and imagine myself participating in the festivities.

A New Year’s Reunion manages to recreate the anticipation and excitement of the Chinese New Year for young readers as well as convey the beautiful story of a Maomao, a little girl in China, being reunited with her beloved father who works in faraway destinations building houses. Each year at the Chinese New Year Maomao’s Papa returns home for several days and together the daddy and daughter delight in all the little pleasures a parent can share with their child.  While Maomao was indeed sad to see her Papa have to pack up and once again travel hundreds of miles from home for his job, the fact that the two, together with Maomao’s loving mother, had spent such quality, love-filled time together was certainly what helped the family endure such a difficult separation.

Whether their parents travel on business for long or short periods of time, children will relate to the universal emotions so touchingly portrayed in this delightful book.



A NEW YEAR’S REUNION. Text copyright © 2007 by Yu Li-Qiong. Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Zhu Cheng-Liang.Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.


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