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The Chinese Culture. Literacy Map. Map of China. The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong. Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee. Shanghai Messenger by Andrea Cheng.

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map of china
Map of China

The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

Shanghai Messenger by Andrea Cheng

Six words, Many Turtles and Three Days in Hong Kong by Patricia McMahon


fun facts about china
Fun Facts about China

Ice cream was invented in China around 2000BC when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture in the snow.

China is the fourth largest country in the world.

The Chinese year is based on the cycles of the moon.

Red is considered a lucky color in China.

Cormorants are used by some fishermen on the rivers to catch fish for them.

shanghai messenger
Shanghai Messenger

“He dips the brush into the ink and makes smooth black strokes on a paper fan until each fold is full of characters.”

(Cheng, p. 26)

Andrea Cheng, Author

chinese fans
Chinese Fans
  • Fans were used in China many thousands of years of years ago and made out of many different materials such as silk, paper, feathers and palm leaves. (Interestingly, the folded paper fan was actually developed in Japan and introduced to China during the 10th or 11th Century via Korea).
  • Circular Fan Making Activity

Print out the black and white pattern, preferably onto card stock, and color in. Cut out the fan and attach to a popsicle stick or chopstick.

shanghai messenger characterization
Shanghai Messenger:Characterization

The use of Characterization in Shanghai Messenger

  • Most important element of literature.
  • Xiao Mei is the protagonist of the story.
  • Xiao Mei is a dynamic character, which means that she changes in some important way throughout the book.
  • First-person narrative: narrator sometimes has limited knowledge/view.
annotated bibliography
Annotated Bibliography

Chen, Jiang Hong (2004). The Magic Horse of Han Gan. France: Enchanted Lion.

A look into the life of painter Han Gan, who lived in China 1,200 years ago, that incorporates a legend about one of the horses in his paintings coming to life. It's always a high burden to offer art reflecting a great artist, but Hong more than succeeds. Magical, indeed, with an underlying theme of the relationship between art and peace.

Suggested Grade Levels: 5 - 7

annotated bibliography continued
Annotated Bibliography Continued…

Cheng, Andrea (2005). Shanghai Messenger. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books Inc.

"You are my messenger. Look everything. Remember." Grandma Nai Nai tells eleven-year-old Xiao Mei as the girl heads off to Shanghai, China, to visit their extended family. At first battling homesickness, Xiao Mei soon ventures on her own, discovering the excitement of a different way of life and a new appreciation of her Chinese heritage. When it is finally time to leave, Xiao Mei must gather up her memories and bring "a little bit of China" back home.

Suggest Grade Levels: 3 - 5

annotated bibliography continued9
Annotated Bibliography Continued…

Mah, Adeline Yen (2005). Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

A girl is thrown out of her home by a jealous stepmother, is taken in by a kung fu school of multi-national teenagers, goes on secret missions to defy the Japanese invaders and rescues captured US airmen. The story itself reflects the day-dreams of a young girl whose real life was the poor, rejected Chinese Cinderella.

Suggested Grade Levels: 5 – 7

annotated bibliography continued10
Annotated Bibliography Continued…

McMahon, Patricia (1997). Six Words, Many Turtles, and Three Days in Hong Kong. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.

This well-written non-fiction account is illustrated in storytelling photographs that convey personality. It chronicles the daily life of Tsz Yan, an eight-year-old Chinese girl living in contemporary Hong Kong.

Suggested Grade Levels: K – 3

annotated bibliography continued11
Annotated Bibliography Continued…

Yee, Lisa (2003). Millicent Min, Girl Genius. New York, NY: Arthur Levine.

Millicent Min is (1) just about the enter her senior year in high school, (2) has no friends, and (3) is resented by other kids because she sets the grading curve. She's also eleven, which might have something to do with at least (1) and (3). Because of (2), Millie's parents sign her up for summer volleyball and make her tutor her mortal enemy.

Suggested Grade Levels: 4 - 7