Books by Yong Chen

A GIFT by Yong Chen
by Yong Chen, illustrated by Yong Chen
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

It's Chinese New Year, and Amy and her mother (there's no mention of a father) are preparing for the holiday in their suburban house. Detailed watercolors show the big American kitchen, filled with dishes that Amy's mom is making with her wok and electric rice cooker. Amy is clearly excited about the holiday, but her mom just looks sad, gazing at a family photo. As the very brief story unfolds, a letter arrives in the mail that makes her much happier, accompanied by a gift for Amy: a beautifully carved jade pendant in the shape of a dragon, the "symbol of China." Mom's siblings, a farmer, a fisherman and a nurse living in China, have all contributed to making and sending the gift and letter. The author's note gives some insight into the Chinese New Year, though more information would be helpful. The story succeeds in evoking the importance of meaningful family relationships, especially over a distance. Quietly told, it is probably best for a child and a caregiver to read while sitting close together. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >