The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival celebrated annually on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, this year it falls on September 29. Similar mid-autumn holidays are celebrated in Japan and Vietnam. Here are some books to read with kids to celebrate the festival.
Angel in Beijing
By Belle Yang
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763692704 | Candlewick
In a lost-and-found tale that soars far beyond just a happy ending, Taiwanese fine artist Belle Yang pays affectionate homage to the city of Beijing. In busy Beijing, New Year’s Eve firecrackers scare a stray white cat into the courtyard of a young girl. The two become fast friends, riding the girl’s bike through the city and seeing all kinds of people and things. Trrrring-trrrring! the girl chimes with her bicycle bell. Niaow-niaow! answers Kitty. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, the girl and the cat watch the kites soaring above crowded, chaotic Tiananmen Square. Kitty is enthralled by the enormous, colorful dragon kite, and she leaps to catch it as it sails up into the sky – taking Kitty with it and carrying her out of sight! The girl searches the city, visiting all their favorite spots and ringing her bell along the way, but Kitty is nowhere to be found. Will the two ever be reunited? Or could another unexpected friendship be in store – for both of them?
Dim Sum Palace
By X. Fang
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774881989 | Tundra Books
Liddy is so excited about going to the Dim Sum Palace tomorrow with her family that she can’t sleep. So when a delicious smell wafts into her room, she hops out of bed, opens her door and steps into . . . an actual palace of dim sum! There are dumplings, baos, buns and more delicious treats than one girl can possibly eat. Liddy just has to take a bite, but she slips and falls . . . into a bowl of dumpling filling. The chefs are so busy rolling, folding and pinching dough that they don’t notice they’ve prepared a most unusual dumpling for the Empress – a Liddy dumpling! Worst of all, she looks good enough to eat . . .
Night Market Rescue
By Charlotte Cheng
Illustrated by Amber Ren
32 Pages | Ages 4-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593531723 | Rocky Pond Books
A stray dog stumbles upon the gift of friendship – and maybe even the promise of home – while wandering the delight-filled night market in Taipei. While resting on a stoop, GoGo smells something sweet and spicy on the breeze. It leads him to a place he’s never been – a bustling night market where vendors sell delicious treats. As he wanders, sniffing for scraps, GoGo discovers something else as well: a little girl who has gotten separated from her parents. He knows he can help and guides her through the market . . . to where her worried parents wait for her – with open arms for their daughter and GoGo, their new pet!
Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Puffin Canada
In the city of Tainan, there lives a very special family – special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning and discovering her own talent – a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her own path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her own daughter, her own little dumpling. Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.
Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind
By Misa Sugiura
384 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593564066 | Labyrinth Road
All Momo wants for her twelfth birthday is an ordinary life – like everyone else’s. At home, she has to take care of her absentminded widowed mother. At school, kids ridicule her for mixing up reality with the magical stories her mother used to tell her. But then Momo’s mother falls gravely ill, and a death hag straight out of those childhood stories attacks Momo at the mall, where she’s rescued by a talking fox . . . and “ordinary” goes out the window. It turns out that Momo’s mother is a banished Shinto goddess who used to protect a long-forgotten passageway to Yomi – a.k.a. the land of the dead. That passageway is now under attack, and countless evil spirits threaten to escape and wreak havoc across the earth. Joined by Niko the fox and Danny – her former best friend turned popular jerk, whom she never planned to speak to again, much less save the world with – Momo must embrace her (definitely not “ordinary”) identity as half human, half goddess to unlock her divine powers, save her mother’s life, and force the demons back to Yomi.
By Rebecca Lim
192 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593648971 | Delacorte Press
Wen Zhou is a first-generation daughter of Chinese migrant parents. She has high expectations from her parents to succeed in school, especially her father whose strict rules leave her feeling trapped. She dreams of creating a future for herself more satisfying than the one her parents expect her to lead. Then she befriends a boy named Henry who is also a first generation immigrant. He is the smartest boy at school despite struggling with his English and understands her in a way nobody has lately. Both of them dream of escaping and together they come up with a plan to take an entrance exam for a selective school far from home. But when tragedy strikes, it will take all of Wen’s resilience and tiger strength to get herself and Henry through the storm that follows. Tiger Daughter is a coming-of-age novel that will grab hold of you and not let go.
Fake Dates and Mooncakes
By Sher Lee
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593569955 | Underlined
Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs – in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn. Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan’s stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. In Theo’s glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo’s relatives reveal their true colors – but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can’t risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems. Can Dylan save his family’s business and follow his heart – or will he fail to do both?
My Father, The Panda Killer
By Jamie Jo Hoang
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593642962 | Crown BFYR
San Jose, 1999. Jane knows her Vietnamese dad can’t control his temper. Lost in a stupid daydream, she forgot to pick up her seven-year-old brother, Paul, from school. Inside their home, she hands her dad the stick he hits her with. This is how it’s always been. She deserves this. Not because she forgot to pick up Paul, but because at the end of the summer she’s going to leave him when she goes away to college. As Paul retreats inward, Jane realizes she must explain where their dad’s anger comes from. The problem is, she doesn’t quite understand it herself. Đà Nẵng, 1975. Phúc (pronounced /fo͞ok/, rhymes with duke) is eleven the first time his mother walks him through a field of mines he’s always been warned never to enter. Guided by cracks of moonlight, Phúc moves past fallen airplanes and battle debris to a refugee boat. But before the sun even has a chance to rise, more than half the people aboard will perish. This is only the beginning of Phúc’s perilous journey across the Pacific, which will be fraught with Thai pirates, an unrelenting ocean, starvation, hallucination, and the unfortunate murder of a panda. Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Phúc, My Father, The Panda Killer is an unflinching story about war and its impact across multiple generations, and how one American teenager forges a path toward accepting her heritage and herself.