Posted on December 31, 2018
So you want to assign (or recommend) a book to your students about Asia—written by an Asian? Let me guess: You are having a hard time finding one, right?
On the Global Learning blog at EdWeek, David Jacobson, a board member of the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, suggests a number of high-quality children's books written in Asia, translated into English, and readily available in the States. His recommendations include:
- From China: Helen Wang's translation of Bronze and Sunflower (by Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Cao Wenxuan) and the blog "Chinese Books for Young Readers," which Wang co-edits.
- From Japan: books translated by Cathy Hirano and Avery Fischer Udagawa, who also edits the Japanese children's literature blog "Ihatov."
On WWB Campus, we have collections of literature from China and Japan, with graphic literature, stories, essays, and poems for student readers ranging from elementary to college-level. Our Asian literature for children and middle-schoolers includes:
- From China: "Poem to the Tune 'Pure Peace'," an ancient love poem in an easy-to-learn format (comparable to a haiku), that can inspire students' own efforts; "The Old Cicada," an unusual animal story. ("The Old Cicada" includes some high-level vocabulary, but there are definitions next to the story, in the "About" tab.)
- From Japan: "Do Not Tremble," a poem about the 2011 earthquake, which could complement a unit on nature and/or the environment; "A Drifting Life," an excerpt from the graphic memoir of one of Japan's most famous manga creators, describing a childhood encounter with a personal hero; "Once Upon a Swing," a story that asks, "What's it like to be the older sister of a genius?"