I thought I’d do a post featuring books by Chinese authors and with Chinese characters since Chinese New Year is tomorrow. Happy New Year to everyone who celebrates! A little bit about Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is also celebrated in other countries Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
This year is the Year of the Rat, the first in the 12-year cycle of animals, the date of Chinese New Year varies on the Gregorian calendar because it’s date is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar.
People born in the Year of the Rat are seen as being quick-witted and intelligent. Celebrations vary but usually include fireworks, red paper lantern decorations, and dinners with the family. In fact, the migration of people in China coming home for Chinese New Year is one of the biggest yearly migrations in the modern world.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao is a lovely middle-grade book with magic, and humor that discusses identity and belonging. The main character Faryn Liu has trained in secret to honor her family and the gods with the hopes of becoming a warrior. But Faryn is shunned by the main organization that does that kind of work called The Jade Society. She and her brother have been shunned by the Jade Society ever since their father disappeared years ago. But something draws Faryn into the world of being a warrior and leads her on a journey that could change her life and the world.
It’s important to note the Faryn is multi-racial she is Chinese as well as Egyptian, Turkish, and Greek.
Author Katie Zhao is a Chinese #ownvoices author as well as a young adult author.
Another one of my favorite books about Chinese characters is Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Based on Yang’s experience coming to America and running a motel with her parents. Front Desk is about Mia Tang.
She’s just trying to be a typical American girl, but she’s keeping a lot of secrets, like the fact that she doesn’t live in a big house and instead lives in a motel where her parents clean the rooms and manage the motel for the cruel Mr. Yao. Her parents are also hiding immigrants in their empty motel rooms, something they’d be doomed for if Mr. Yao finds out.
Finally, Mia wants to be a writer but faces criticism from her mother who wants her to stick to math since English isn’t her first language.
Yang artfully mixes her real-life experiences with fiction to create a beautiful book. It was one of my favorites in 2018.
Kelly Yang is a Chinese immigrant, she is a winner of the 2018 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and founder of The Kelly Yang Project (kellyyang.edu.hk), a leading writing and debating program for kids in Asia.
Beautiful book about a disabled girl and her family. A collection of short stories, it explores the neighborhoods in Bejing and what makes them special.
Nie Jun lives in Bejing teaching drawing to college students. He began drawing as a child by copying lianhuanhua (Chinese sequential art).
I hope everyone enjoys the Chinese New Year, and a special shout out to all the international book bloggers who are celebrating!
The Independent: Year of the Rat
Photo by Sindhu wijaya from Pexels