Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Laurence Yep.
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
Miss Drake, a strong-willed dragon, has a new pet, a girl named Winnie who thinks Miss Drake is her pet. When Winnie's sketches come to life, can dragon and girl work together to put things right? Read in an appealing British accent, this is sure to delight listeners of all ages.
Case of the Goblin Pearls (Chinatown Mystery, No. 1)
When Aunt Tiger Lil comes to Chinatown, she and Lily, her niece and namesake, prepare for the New Year's celebration, solve the mystery of a stolen pearl necklace, and help a sweatshop worker. Humor is used in this lively mystery with likable characters in an authentic setting.
Teddy discovers he has protective instincts when he sees his younger brother, Bobby, being bullied. How Teddy overcomes the bully without fists, acquires a pet cockroach named Hercules, and starts a new friendship creates a gently humorous story. Teddy and Bobby were introduced in Later, Gator (Hyperion, 1997).
Dragon of the Lost Sea
Yep's sweeping fantasy tells of Shimmer, an exiled dragon princess, who must team up with a boy to try to restore her dragon clan's lost home.
The Lee family, first introduced in Star Fisher (HarperCollins, 1997), is Chinese. Living in Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1927, they stand out in the community. Joan Lee and her siblings want to fit in and celebrate a non-Chinese holiday, Christmas. The children's parents agree, but only if the children behave according to the parents high standards. Understanding and friendship gradually emerge in this touching novel based on the experiences of the author's mother.
Twenty traditional tales from Chinese traditional literature have been gracefully retold in this attractive collection. The stories introduce animals that talk, ghosts, and more, all punctuated and enlivened by illustrations.
The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale
In order to save her father, Seven, the youngest daughter, agrees to marry the dragon. As in the familiar European version of Beauty and the Beast, the dragon turns into a handsome prince and he and Seven live happily until she becomes homesick and leaves to visit her family. Fluid text and realistic illustrations combine to shape an elegant book.
The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island
Based on his father's immigration files from Angel Island, Laurence Yep and his niece Dr. Kathleen S. Yep bring us the story of a ten-year-old boy from China who must prepare for his interrogation at Angel Island. The young boy memorizes everything from the layout of his village to the number of doors in the house, and continues his study on the sea voyage to San Francisco with his father. The Yeps provide a powerful account of the intensity and challenge Chinese immigrants faced at Angel Island, as well as the complexity of the relationships for those families who were spread between China and the U.S.
The Earth Dragon Awakes
Henry and Chin both live in San Francisco, both are about eight years old, both adore “penny dreadfuls,” and both survive the 1906 earthquake. Chapters alternate between Henry and Chin’s narrations to provide a look at what happened in very different parts of the city on that fateful day. The story of destruction and survival is told from the perspective of two young boys.
The Khan's Daughter: A Mongolian Folktale
In this fluid retelling of a Mongolian folktale, a simple shepherd named Mongke must pass three tests in order to marry the Khan’s beautiful daughter not the least of which is the girl herself who is particularly taxing. Handsome watercolors evoke the setting and the difficulty of the challenges that Mongke must face.
The Man Who Tricked a Ghost
On his way home, Sung meets a menacing ghost. Using his wit, however, Sung manages to outsmart the ghost and get the better of him. This traditional tale is told in a lively narrative with dramatic, full-color illustrations.
The Tiger's Apprentice: Book One
Tom is his Chinese grandmother's somewhat reluctant apprentice in magical arts, but after she dies while defending a mysterious coral rose from evil foes, the eighth grader finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous world where Chinese myth is a reality.
When the Circus Came to Town
After being badly scarred by smallpox, Ursula isolates herself in the family stagecoach stop in Whistle, Montana. An unlikely friendship with a cook at the station brings the old Ursula back as she leads the preparations for Chinese New Year in the small town, which is even more isolated than usual by a blizzard. This riveting book explores difficult themes in an accessible way.
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