List of Chinese-Themed Books for Kids and Teens – by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, in Toronto, offers a selection of helpful themed lists of books on its website (thank you, CCBC!) including a List of Chinese-Themed Books for Kids and Teens (look under Resources). These books were published between 1989 and 2013, suggesting that the list was compiled in 2013/2014. If you can add any titles to this list, please leave a comment below.

There are 58 books on the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s List, arranged in alphabetical order of titles, the first book being

Awakening the Dragon: The Dragon Boat Festival // Written by Arlene Chan // Illustrated by Song Nan Zhang // Tundra Books, 2004 //  ISBN 978-0887768057 // Grades 2-3 / Ages 6-9 // Category: Picture Book

I’ve sorted them by category (and then date) below, and added one cover image per category:

Picture Books (24 books)


Weighing the Elephant – by Ting-xing YE, illustr. Suzanne Langlois (picture book)   (source: amazon)

  • Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, written and illustr. by Ian WALLACE (Groundwood Books, 1992) ISBN 978-0888991676
  • Three Monks, No Water, by Ting-xing YE, illustr. Harvey CHAN (Annick Press, 1997) ISBN 978-1550374421
  • The Boy in the Attic, by Paul YEE, illustr. Gu XIONG (Groundwood Books, 1998) ISBN 978-0888993304
  • Weighing the Elephant, by Ting-xing YE, illustr. Suzanne LANGLOIS (Annick Press, 1998) ISBN 978-1550375275
  • The Dragon New Year: A Chinese Legend, by David BOUCHARD, illustr. Zhong-Yang HUANG (Raincoast Books, 1999) ISBN 978-1561452101
  • Me and Mr. Mah, by Andrea SPALDING, illustr. Janet WILSON (Orca Book Publishers, 1999) ISBN 978-1551431680
  • Share the Sky, by Ting-xing YE, illustr. Suzanne LANGLOIS (Annick Press, 1999) ISBN 978-1550375787
  • The Chinese Violin, by Madeleine THIEN, illustr. Joe CHANG (Whitecap Books, 2001) ISBN 978-1552852057
  • Courage to Fly, by Troon HARRISON, illustr. Zhong-Yang HUANG (Red Deer Press, 2002) ISBN 978-0889953611
  • The Jade Necklace, by Paul YEE, illustr. Grace LIN (Tradewind Books, 2002) ISBN 978-1566564557
  • Emma’s Story, by Deborah HODGE, illustr. Song Nan ZHANG (Tundra Books, 2003) ISBN 978-0887766329
  • Roses Sing on New Snow: A Delicious Tale, by Paul YEE, illustr. Harvey CHAN (Groundwood Books, 2003) ISBN 978-0888992178
  • Awakening the Dragon: The Dragon Boat Festival, by Arlene CHAN, illustr. Song Nan ZHANG (Tundra Books, 2004) ISBN 978-0887768057
  • A Song for Ba, by Paul YEE, illustr. Jan Peng WANG (Groundwood Books, 2004) ISBN 978-0888994929
  • The Fragrant Garden, by Day’s LEE, illustr. Josée BELLEMARE (Napoleon Publishing, 2005) ISBN 978-1894917261
  • Bamboo Written, by Paul YEE, illustr. Shaoli WANG (Tradewind Books, 2006) ISBN 978-1894965538
  • The Hidden Treasure, by Ruowen WANG, illustr. Wei XU (Kevin & Robin Books, 2007) ISBN 978-0973879810
  • Motherbridge of Love, by Anonymous, illustr. Josée MASSE (Barefoot Books, 2007) ISBN 978-1846860478
  • The Day I Became a Canadian: A Citizenship Scrapbook, by Jo BANNATYNE-CUGNET, illustr. Song Nan ZHANG (Tundra Books, 2008) ISBN 978-0887768927
  • To Share One Moon, by Ruowen WANG, illustr. Wei XU and Xiaoyan ZHENG (Kevin & Robin Books, 2008) ISBN 978-1897458013
  • My Friend Mei Jing (My Friend), by Anna MCQUINN, illustr. Ben FREY, photography by Irvin CHEUNG (Annick Press, 2009) ISBN 978-1554511525
  • Ghost Train, by Paul YEE, illustr. Harvey CHAN (Groundwood Books, 2010) ISBN 978-0888999801
  • Maggie’s Chopsticks, by Alan WOO, illustr. Isabelle MALENFANT (Kids Can Press, 2012) ISBN 978-1554536191
  • Mooncakes, by Loretta SETO, illustr. Renné BENOIT (Orca Book Publishers, 2013) ISBN 978-1-45980107

Early Chapter Books (1 book)


Shu-Li and Tamara, by Paul YEE, illustr. Shaoli WANG (early chapter book) (source: amazon)

  • Shu-Li and Tamara, by Paul YEE, illustr. Shaoli WANG (Tradewind Books, 2007) ISBN 978-1896580937

Folktales (3 books)


Tales from Gold Mountain: Stories of the Chinese in the New World, by Paul YEE, illustr. Simon NG (folktales) (source: amazon)

  • Tales from Gold Mountain: Stories of the Chinese in the New World, by Paul YEE, illustr. Simon NG (Groundwood Books, 1989) ISBN 978-0888990983
  • Mei Ming and the Dragon’s Daughter: A Chinese Folktale, retold by Lydia BAILEY, illustr. Martin SPRINGETT (Scholastic Canada, 1990) ISBN 978-0590733694
  • The Dragon’s Pearl, by Julie LAWSON, illustr. Paul MORIN (Oxford University Press, 1992) ISBN 978-0773728820

Junior Fiction (10 books)


The Mystery of the Frozen Brains (Marty Chan Mystery), by Marty CHAN (junior fiction) (source: amazon)

  • Next-Door Neighbours, by Sarah ELLIS (Groundwood Books, 1989) ISBN 978-0888990846
  • White Lily, by Ting-xing YE, illustr. Bernadette LAU (Doubleday Canada, 2000) ISBN 978-0385258968
  • Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories, by Paul YEE, illustr. Harvey CHAN (Groundwood Books,2002) ISBN 978-0888994752
  • Tunnels of Treachery (Moose Jaw Adventure), by Mary Harelkin BISHOP (Coteau Books, 2003) ISBN 978-1550502701
  • The Mystery of the Frozen Brains (Marty Chan Mystery), by Marty CHAN (Thistledown Press, 2004) ISBN 978-1894345712
  • An Ocean Apart: The Gold Mountain Diary of Chin Mei-Ling (Dear Canada), by Gillian CHAN (Scholastic Canada, 2004) ISBN 978-0779113538
  • Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul (Marty Chan Mystery), by Marty CHAN (Thistledown Press, 2006) ISBN 978-1897235003
  • White Jade Tiger, by Julie LAWSON (Sandcastle Books, 2006) ISBN 978-1550026535
  • Mystery of the Mad Science Teacher (Marty Chan Mystery), by Marty CHAN (Thistledown Press, 2008) ISBN 978-1897235386
  • Blood and Iron (I am Canada), by Paul YEE (Scholastic Canada, 2010) ISBN 978-0545985932

Non-Fiction (11 books)


Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled, by Sarah TSIANG, illustr. Martha NEWBIGGING (non-fiction) (source: amazon)

  • West Coast Chinese Boy, written and illustr. by Sing LIM (Tundra Books, 1991) ISBN 978-0887762703
  • A Little Tiger in the Chinese Night: An Autobiography in Art, written and illustr. by Song Nan ZHANG (Tundra Books, 1993) ISBN 978-0887763205
  • Cowboy of the Steppes, written and illustr. by Song Nan ZHANG (Tundra Books, 1997) ISBN 978-0887764103
  • Red Land, Yellow River: A Story From the Cultural Revolution, written and illustr. by Ange ZHANG (Groundwood Books, 2004) ISBN 978-0888994899
  • My Name is Number 4: A True Story, by Ting-xing YE (Doubleday Canada, 2007) ISBN 978-0385663052
  • Once Upon a Full Moon, written and illustr. by Elizabeth QUAN (Tundra Books, 2007) ISBN 978-0887768132
  • The Kids Book of Canada’s Railway and How the CPR Was Built (Kids Books of…), by Deborah HODGE, illustr. John MANTHA (Kids Can Press, 2008) ISBN 978-1554532568
  • The Chinese Thought of It (We Thought of It), by Ting-xing YE (Annick Press, 2009) ISBN 978-1554511952
  • Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled (Jobs in History), by Sarah TSIANG, illustr. Martha NEWBIGGING (Annick Press, 2012) ISBN 978-1554513901
  • Beyond the Moongate: True Stories of 1920s China, written and illustr. by Elizabeth QUAN (Tundra Books, 2013) ISBN 978-1770493834
  • The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now, by Arlene CHAN (Dundurn Press, 2013) ISBN 978-1459707696

Teen Fiction (1 book)


Learning to Fly (Orca Soundings), by Paul YEE (teen fiction) (source: Kirkus)

  • Learning to Fly (Orca Soundings), by Paul YEE (Orca Book Publishers, 2008) ISBN 978-1551439532

Young Adult (8 books)


Throwaway Daughter, by Ting-xing YE (Young Adult) (source: amazon)

  • Breakaway, by Paul YEE (Groundwood Books, 1994) ISBN 978-0888992017
  • The Bone Collector’s Son, by Paul YEE (Tradewind Books, 2003) ISBN 978-1896580258
  • Throwaway Daughter, by Ting-xing YE (Doubleday Canada, 2003) ISBN 978-0385659529
  • Midnight at the Dragon Café, by Judy Fong BATES (McClelland & Stewart, 2004) ISBN 978-0771010972
  • What Happened This Summer, by Paul YEE (Tradewind Books, 2006) ISBN 978-1896580883
  • Shen and the Treasure Fleet, by Ray CONLOGUE (Annick Press, 2007) ISBN 978-1554511044
  • Mountain Girl, River Girl, by Ting-xing YE (Puffin Canada, 2008) ISBN 978-0143168126
  • Money Boy, by Paul YEE (Groundwood Books, 2011) ISBN 978-1554980932

David Jacobson’s survey of translations of children’s and YA Literature translated from Chinese, Japanese and Korean

David Jacobson, editorial consultant at Chin Music Press, and author of Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, contacted us recently, asking if there are any lists of children’s and YA books translated from Chinese into English. He wanted to do a survey of translations from Chinese, Japanese and Korean in preparation for the 12th IBBY Regional Conference, at the University of Washington, Seattle, 19-22 October 2017. He will be on the panel “Asian American Experiences in Children’s Books” (Panel presentation: David Jacobson, Uma Krishnaswami, Philip Lee, Linda Sue Park).


12th IBBY Regional Conference – “Radical Change Beyond Borders: The Transforming Power of Children’s Literature in a Digital Age” – Seattle, 20-22 October, 2017

Were there really so few translations of children’s literature from China?  I wondered.  As a Japanese specialist, I was aware that there was a big gap between the number of US books translated into Japanese vis-à-vis the number of Japanese books we translate into English.  But the Chinese case shocked me.  Was the gap in translations from Asia really that big?

We’re delighted that David has done this survey – which includes a list of books translated from the three languages.

David Jacobson’s Survey of Translations of Children’s and YA Literature Translated from Chinese, Japanese and Korean – Jacobson – Survey of Translations (2017)

If you know of any titles that are missing from this list, please leave a comment below.



12 Books for the Holidays

Earlier this week, Tomorrow Publishing House (Tiantian chubanshe 天天出版社) posted a piece recommending some good reads for children during this holiday week in China. If you need a rest from National Day, moon-gazing, mooncakes and so on, try these: Continue reading

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2017

Meng Yanan’s picture book Happy Mid-Autumn Festival  (孟亚楠:《中秋节快乐》) won the gold prize in the 2016 Bronze and Sunflower Picture Book Awards 青铜葵花图画书奖. Congratulations to Meng Yanan, and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to everyone! Continue reading

Little Soldier Zhang Ga

As part of the China Changing Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, there will be a performance of Little Soldier Zhang Ga on Saturday 7 October. Continue reading

CFP: Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Call For Papers: for the 9th Asian Festival of Children’s Content 亚洲少儿读物节 , to be held in Singapore, 5-9 September 2018 (details here). Deadline: 15 September 2017. Continue reading

The Only Child, by Guojing

The Only Child by Guojing was published to great acclaim in 2015. The following year it was published in China (郭婧: 《独生小孩》). This “silent book” (wordless picture book) tells the story of a little girl and her deep feeling of loneliness. The title and the setting – Guojing’s memory of her own childhood in China – makes an English reader immediately think of The One Child Policy in China. Introduced in 1979, the phasing out of this policy began in 2015, and families are now allowed two children. Li Xiaocui, a young professional in Beijing, has been reading The Only Child with her three-year-old daughter, and very kindly agreed to an interview. She is known to some of us as Lisa, who does a phenomenal job at Candied Plums, sharing the best of China’s new picture books with readers around the world. Continue reading

“Plums” for Your Tongue: Chinese Children’s Literature for Language Learners

One question I repeatedly hear from Chinese immigrant parents and Chinese language teachers in America is, where can they find books that children would enjoy reading at the same time as improving their Chinese. As we know about literacy acquisition and language learning, continual and active engagement with texts, through either shared reading with caregivers or voluntary independent reading, is crucial to the expansion of vocabulary, mastery of grammar, and growth in comprehension and composition skills. Continue reading

Starfish Bay Children’s Books

Starfish Bay Children’s Books is an independent publishing house based in Adelaide, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, and has published several children’s books translated from Chinese since 2015. Their website is colourful, and gives information about the authors and illustrators, and sample pages of the picture books. Continue reading