PLAYING WITH LANTERNS
By: Wang Yage
Illustrated by: Zhu Chengliang
Translated by: Helen Wang
Published: January 11, 2022
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
With the upcoming Winter Olympics being held in China beginning February 3, 2022, and the celebration of the Chinese New Year beginning on February 1, 2022, it is the perfect time to share some of the Chinese cultures with your children through this beautiful picture book.
Zhao Di can’t wait to spend the next fifteen days celebrating the new year. She is anxious for her uncle to bring her a new lantern as is their custom. When her new colorful accordion lantern arrives, she can’t wait to show her friends and see their lanterns. Everyone’s lanterns are colorful and unique with the most popular being the red palace, traditional lanterns.
Each night, Zhao Di and her friends light their candles and carry their lanterns up and down the street, being careful to keep the wind from blowing out the candles. On the last night, Zhao Di is sad knowing the new year celebrations are over. She doesn’t want to smash her lantern, to symbolize the end of the celebrations, but knows it’s important and folk tradition says if she doesn’t her uncle will have red and sore eyes.
As Zhao Di crawls into bed, she is sad the celebrating is over, but anxious to know another new year is coming and she will have a new lantern again.
The painted illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. The story flows well and the translation is smooth. Kids will relate to Zhao Di’s excitement around celebrating the new year and her sadness of the celebrations being over. You may want to find your own Chinese lantern and celebrate with your family.
Wang Yage was born in Shaanxi, a central and historical province of China, where the custom of playing with lanterns was once a popular Chinese New Year tradition. A doctor of classical Chinese literature, she teaches at the University of Tibet. Playing with Lanterns is her first picture book. First published in China, the book made the prestigious White Ravens international book list.
Zhu Chengliang is an award-winning Chinese illustrator. Born in Shanghai and raised in Suzhou, he studied at the Department of Fine Art, Nanjing University, and has worked as an author, illustrator, editor, and designer. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016, which is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. His books have been named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books by the New York Times and to the IBBY Honor List.
Helen Wang is a writer and translator from the UK. In 2017 she was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor as part of the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards for her work in bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-speaking audiences. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels, including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.