Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grace Lin: My Daughter's Favorite Illustrator

Over the past week or so, my daughter has gravitated toward the two Grace Lin books we have in our house.

First, Chronicle Books sent us the paperback version of Red is a Dragon: A Book of Colors, written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Grace Lin. It's a concept book written in rhyme that features gorgeous spreads of Chinese characters in both Asian-themed and familiar settings with objects in the color featured on the spread.

For example, here's the opening of the book:

The text is "Red is a dragon/ Red is a drum/ Red are the firecrackers--here they come!" The book continues with many more colors: yellow raincoats, flowers, and a taxi; green toads, bottle gourds, and jade; a blue pool, dragonfly, and pair of sneakers; pink peonies, white dumplings, and more. A glossary in the back explains more about some of the items in the book that some kids may not be familiar with, such as lychee fruit, chopsticks, silk fans, and more. This is a wonderful way to not only teach colors but to also introduce children to another culture.

And speaking of teaching kids about different cultures, take a look at Lin's book, Bringing in the New Year (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008). Both written and illustrated by Lin, this book follows a Chinese family as they prepare for and then celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The entire family participates in the preparations: "Ba-Ba hangs the spring happiness poems. Ma-Ma makes the get-rich dumplings. Mei-Mei gets a fresh haircut."

The preparations lead up to an exciting celebration with firecrackers, the arrival of "lions" to scare away last year's bad luck, and an exciting pull-out three-page spread of the arrival of the dragon. Here's just one page of this impressive and vibrantly-colored spread:

At the end of the book is a two-page summary of the Lunar New Year, which includes information about the customs and traditions of this special holiday. And if anyone doubts the importance of having fun, colorful end papers, check out my little one who is fascinated with the end papers in this book. This one was taken earlier this week during our post-bath time reading session.

Yes, she loves Grace Lin, and we're definitely going to add to our collection. Check out Grace Lin's Website for more information about all of her books.


  1. Grace Lin is one of our favorites too! My oldest always loved The Seven Chinese Sisters, illustrated by Lin. You should check that one out!

  2. Stephanie...
    I'll definitely check out The Seven Chinese Sisters. It definitely seems right up our ally. Thanks for stopping by!