Young readers can use this picture book to travel to China and learn about everyday life and culture from the point of view of a child who lives there.
This latest children’s book in Roman’s (A Flag for the Flying Dragon, 2015, etc.) cultural series focuses on the Middle Kingdom and offers a look at what life is like for kids in the Asian country. Just as in prior volumes, which traveled to Scotland, Greece, Mexico, and other locales, this book explains the land’s culture, customs, and everyday life from the perspective of a young native. It opens with a map of the world to show where China is located and then describes China’s geography and landforms as well as its history; she notes, for example, that people have lived in Beijing for more than 3,000 years and that the city is “the political, cultural and education center of China.” She also takes what American kids know and understand and then compares it to their peers’ lives in China—for instance, American kids go to school, and Chinese kids go to “xue xiao.” She also describes Chinese sports; popular holiday traditions, such as Chinese New Year; common Chinese names; and what Chinese children call their parents. Roman describes how people in different regions of China eat different types of food: people in Beijing make Mandarin cuisine, those in the south make Cantonese food, and those in the southwest make Szechuan fare. With colorful illustrations and photographs and a warm, engaging tone, Roman’s books continue to appeal to young readers interested in other cultures. The text is well-researched and organized, with each page devoted to one topic with a corresponding image. Since many of the vocabulary words will be unfamiliar, Roman offers in-text pronunciation as well as a pronunciation guide at the back of the book. It’s a useful tool for both teachers and parents who want to inform children about geography early in life.
This winning overview of Chinese life and culture offers kids a good introduction to life in another country.