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Exploring Chinatown:

A Parents' Choice Honors Award

By Carol Stepanchuk, Illustrated by Leland Wong


Would you like to know why dragons parade for the Chinese New Year? Or where to buy mooncakes and lichis? Do you want to visit an herb store? Or have dimsum for lunch? Would you like to write in Chinese? Or create a traditional painting? Or, maybe, to learn to play Chinese chess?
Come along on a trip to discover Chinese culture. You’ll learn about family, religion, celebrations, music, food, martial arts, and more. You’ll discover how Chinatowns came to be, and how today’s lively neighborhoods are home to culture and traditions more than 2,000 years old. Welcome to Chinatown!
This is a book for kids, families, and teachers who’d like to get more out of their visit to Chinatown than an “I escaped Alcatraz” t-shirt or oversized pencil. It’s a guide to what makes Chinese culture, well, “Chinese.” It covers almost everything, from how to order in a restaurant, and what not to do with chopsticks, to how to write characters in Chinese and how to make potstickers. It tells about herbal medicine shops, temples, and tearooms. It explains musical instruments, the designs on dishes and paintings, and the costumed characters in the New Years’ parade. It describes traditional holidays, how people celebrate and what they believe. More, it shows how, and why, North American Chinatowns were established, and why these proud, lively and vital communities exist today.

A book for ages 10 and up.

Hardcover, 64 pages, full color, bibliography, index, 2002, ISBN 1-881896-25-0, LC 2001036661

Carol Stepanchuk is a writer, multicultural educator, and author of Red Eggs and Dragon Boats: Celebrating Chinese Festivals and Mooncakes and Hungry Ghosts: Festivals of China. She lives with her family in Michigan.
Leland Wong was born and raised in San Francisco's Chinatown. He works as an artist, screen printer, and photographer in the Asian-American community of San Francisco. His works have been widely published and have been exhibited internationally.
Floating Lanterns & Golden Shrines

2001 Benjamin Franklin Award

By Rena Krasno, Illustrated by Toru Sugita


Daruma dolls, mochi pounding, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples . . . Japan is a land of the old and the new, a blending of traditional culture and modern life styles. The newest in a series of festival books, Floating Lanterns & Golden Shrines is full of detailed and charming illustrations of seven Japanese celebrations.

Important information about arts and daily life are interspersed throughout the text: ikebana, taiko, lacquerware, bonsai, origami, haiku, traditional Japanese sports and martial arts, as well as how Japanese names are formed. There are recipes, games, and other activities. The historic text provides the background while the author's careful retelling of four folktales provide a more intimate sense of the culture. The Japanese language is explained with common, relevant phrases introduced.

The book begins with a discussion of the origins of the Japanese people and the creation myth, "Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess." The first festival presented is Setsubun (the day winter ends) followed by traditional family holidays: Obon (remembering one's ancestors), Kodomono Hi (Children's Day), Hina Matsuri (Dolls' Festival), Oshogatsu (New Year's). The Sapporo Snow Festival is a world-famous yearly event begun in 1950 and is followed by information on life in Japan today. Finally, the Cherry Blossom Festival focuses on the Japanese-American experience in the United States.

A book for children from 8 to 13, but enjoyable for all ages.

Hardcover, 49 pages, full color, map of Japan, index, 2000, ISBN 1-881896-21-8, LC 99-047162

Author Rena Krasno was born and educated in China, has lived in Japan, the Philippines, Israel, and Northern California. She is the author of Strangers Always: A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai and Kneeling Carabao & Dancing Giants: Celebrating Filipino Festivals.

Illustrator Toru Sugita is a Japanese painter and printmaker whose work has been exhibited in Japan, the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Mr. Sugita lives and works in San Francisco. E-mail Toru at toppi@torusugita.net

Piñatas & Smiling Skeletons

1999 Independent Publisher Book Award

By Zoe Harris and Suzanne Williams, Illustrated by Yolanda Garfias Woo


Piñatas, mariachis, and marigolds . . . Mexico's colorful festivals are exciting and serious, familiar and unique, blending the cultures of her ancient people and of Spain, creating new traditions for modern times. Here is a year of special Mexican celebrations, from December 12, the festival of Guadalupe, through Christmas, Carnaval, Corpus Christi, Independence Day, and the Day of the Dead. The story of the Mexican people from Olmec times to Delano provides the background, while crafts, recipes for holiday treats, legends, and spectacular illustrations help convey the richness of their traditions. For ages 9 - 13.

Hardcover, 48 pages, full color, map of Mexico, glossary of Spanish terms, 1998, ISBN 1-881896-19-6, LC 98-27409

Zoe Harris is a multicultural educator who lives in Marin County, California. This is her first book. Suzanne Williams is the author of Made in China: Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China and China's Daughters. She is an educator and lives in Nevada.

Illustrator Yolanda Garfias Woo was raised in Mexico and the United States. She has exhibited her work in Europe and the United States. As an anthropologist, Ms. Woo works in Mexico every year and lives in San Francisco.

Kneeling Carabao & Dancing Giants


By Rena Krasno, Illustrated by Ileana C. Lee

In this engaging account, the sounds, sights, and flavors of six Filipino festivals show how the modern Philippine nation developed. Folk tales, recipes, songs, vivid illustrations, and lots more bring the celebrations and celebrants to life. For kids 9 to 13, but enjoyable for all ages.

hardcover, 48 pages, full color, map of the Philippines, 1997, ISBN 1-881896-15-3, LC 96-72041

Author Rena Krasno was born and raised in China, and later moved to Israel. A professional simultaneous interpreter, she became interested in children's literacy while living and working in the Philippines. She helped to establish children's libraries and co-authored a collection of Filipino folk tales published in Hebrew in Israel. She is also the author of Strangers Always: A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai, and Floating Lanterns & Golden Shrines: Celebrating Japanese Festivals.

Illustrator Ileana C. Lee, a native of the Philippines, was trained there and in the U.S. Her paintings, prints, and illustrations have been exhibited in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and the U.S., and her illustrations have been published in numerous magazines. She currently lives and works in Northern California.