Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Fantastic Fiction for Kids: Asian Fantasies

Posted on | February 24, 2010 | 6 Comments


This week’s Fantastic Fiction for Kids is brought to you by Tarie, an editor and educator in the Philippines who has not one brilliant blog, but three!


She blogs about literature for the young and young at heart at Into the Wardrobe, Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind and Color Online. Her favourite children’s and young adult books are the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Welcome to Junior High! by L.E. Blair, and Good Enough by Paula Yoo.



Without further ado, here are Tarie’s books for this week – all on the theme of Asian Fantasies.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
Written by Ai-Ling Louie and illustrated by Ed Young


Yeh-Shen is a very interesting version of Cinderella because it incorporates elements of ancient Chinese culture. Ed Young’s amazing illustrations make it even more compelling. It’s a must read picture book for fans of Cinderella or fairy tales in general. For Tarie’s full review click here and for a fantastic round up of other Cinderella stories do take a look at Teach with Picture Book‘s recent post “The Cinderella Tale: A Mirror of Culture“.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin


Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a richly and gorgeously illustrated middle grade novel. It feels fresh because it is a retelling of several Chinese folktales. Yet it also feels like a classic because of its high literary merit. This is one of my new favorites! (For Tarie’s full review click here)
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Written by Nahoko Uehashi and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
(Translated from Japanese to English by Cathy Hirano)


Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit appeals to and is appropriate for teens and middle graders. The prose is vivid and vibrant. The story is full of mystery, suspense, and action. The book is beautifully illustrated and beautifully designed. (Tarie’s full review is available here)

I (Zoe) loved reading Tarie’s selections, not least as they reminded me of one of my favourite books as a child – Nezha stirs up the sea by Li Hongen – the illustrations were so exciting, interesting and magical. Rereading that book now I’m not impressed with the text (it’s rather crudely adapted from a film), but the illustrations transport me back to my childhood and I remember how much I enjoyed them.

For today’s listening you could try The Internet Chinese Music Archive – hundreds of free tracks (in various formats) of both traditional and modern Chinese music. I’d also recommend heading over to Mama Lisa who has a great page of Japanese children’s music

Photo: jimmiehomeschoolmom

As to fun activities which pair up with these lovely books you could try these:

  • Chinese New Year Fish from Julie K in Taiwan – it is a custom in China to associate fish with good fortune, and this belief features in both Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
  • A collection of fish craft projects from Artists Helping Children
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon also features a dragon so you could try making your own dragons to go with this lovley sounding book. Here’s a pull along dragon from instructables.com, and here are some dancing dragons I made with M and J that were great fun.
  • Finally, so beautiful and easy hanging Japanese fish from Enchanted Learning


  • Please do pop over to one of Tarie’s blogs (my personal favourite is Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind) and say hello! And then do come back and let us know what books and activities you would add to this list…

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    Comments

    6 Responses to “Fantastic Fiction for Kids: Asian Fantasies”

    1. Tarie
      February 24th, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much for hosting me, Zoe!! =D

    2. Keith Schoch
      February 25th, 2010 @ 1:27 am

      Some great reading recommendations here! I see a common motif in the first three of Tarie’s favorite books which are detailed in the introduction. Thanks also for linking over to Teach with Picture Books.

    3. Candy
      February 25th, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

      really curious about where to source these great books. are they published by american publishers?

    4. Zoe
      February 25th, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

      Hi Candy,
      As far as I know this is the info on who publishes these books:
      Yeh-Shen is published by Philomel Books which is US based (http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/publishers/yr/philomel.html)
      Where the Mountain meets the Moon is published by Little, Brown Young Readers, part of the Hachette group, which is US based (http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_little-brown-books-for-young-readers.aspx)
      Moribito is published by Scholastic, also US based (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/index.jsp)

    5. Maggy
      March 25th, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

      These look great. We are v booky household, so have just ordered all three! Yay. Love this blog. So amazingly creative, can’t wait to get stuck in with my kids (when they are a wee bit older!!)

    6. Zoe
      March 25th, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

      Hi Maggy,
      Reading book blogs is definitely bad for one’s bank balance! Just this week I’ve had 6 books arrive in the post as a result of reviews I’ve read elsewhere, so I quite understand where you’re coming from!

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