Booklist: Living Books on China

Living Books about China

First off, if you (like I) am a bit lost on the history of China and want a guide to walk you through it, try Judy Wilcox’s  Ancient China to the Great Wall . . . and Beyond. What I liked about this guide is that it gave me a framework on which to hang any topics we might study. It goes through Chinese history dynasty by dynasty and along the way also deals with other topics like art and poetry. It suggests other resources and readings as well as providing summaries for each dynasty. It also suggests activities such as doing one’s own calligraphy, but we did not use these. I did find that it gave different dates for the dynasties than other sources I looked at so I would use those with caution. You can see how we divided up the readings when my kids were little in this post.

Bell, M.C. Little Yellow Wang Lo. The name probably tells you this is an older book. Upper elementary, I believe.

Beshore, George. Science in Ancient China. Not the most living but a good resource. Elementary; could be used in middle school as well.

Brother Yun. The Heavenly Man. The account of a modern Christian. See my blurb here. Teens.

Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. A classic. Teens.

Coerr, Eleanor. Chang’s Paper Pony. Easy reader level chapter book.

Compestine, Yin Chang. Revolution is not a Dinner Party. 20th century. We really enjoyed this one. Middle-teens.

DeJong, Marguerite. House of Sixty Fathers. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. This one-named author has lots of lovely picture books on all things Chinese. Some are folk tales and others are biographies of famous people. Elementary.

Flack, Margorie. Story about Ping. Classic picture book.

Fritz, Jean. China’s Long March. 1930s. Middle-teens.

Goldstein, Peggy. Long is a Dragon. On Chinese writing.

Greenberger, Robert. The Technology of Ancient China. Not the best living bok. Elementary.

Hong, Lily Toy. Empress and the Silk Worm. Picture book on silk.

Lattimore, Eleanor. Little Pear. Wonderful older story. I believe there is a sequel as well. I think it is chapter book level.

Lewis, Elizabeth. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Chapter book level. Upper elementary-middle school.

Mahy, Margaret. Seven Chinese Brothers. Picture book.

Major, John S. The Silk Route: 7,000 miles of History.

Marx, Tricia. Elephants and Golden Thrones. Shorter stories. Elementary.

Morley, Jacqueline. You wouldn’t want to be in the Forbidden City! Not the best living book but fun. Elementary.

Nagda, Ann Whitehead. Bamboo Valley. About the bamboo forest.

Ng, Teresa. Strange Stories from Ancient China. Elementary +.

Paterson, Katherine. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. Re Christians in the 1850s. Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. Tale of the Mandarin Ducks. Picture book. Elementary.

Phillips, Eliza Caroline. Peeps into China. Elementary.

Preston, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion. Events of the early 1900s. Teens.

Raper, Eleanor. The Little Girl Lost. Elementary.

Seeger, Elizabeth.  The Pageant of Chinese History. Middle-teens.

Shepard, Aaron. The Monkey King. We loved this one. Elementary.

Silbey, David. The Great Game in China. 20th century/the Boxer rebellion. Teens.

Silverberg, Robert. The Long Rampart. Re the Wall. Middle-teens.

Tappan, Eva Marie. The World’s Story, Volume I: China, Japan, and the Islands of the Pacific. Part of her  The World’s Story series which covers different regions of the world, telling their stories and culture through their own myths, legends, songs, and historical accounts. Various ages.

Treffinger, Caroline. Li Lun, Lad of Courage. Elementary-middle.

Whelan, Gloria. Chu Ju’s House. Upper elementary-middle.

Williams, Susan.  Made in China. Not the best living book. Elementary-middle.

Yep, Laurence. Yep has a number of books set in China. Middle years.

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