Studying Chinese artists can be a springboard for learning more about ancient China and Chinese culture today. In this book list, you will find a few books that specifically call out paintings, calligraphy, and other pieces of artwork from China. The other books dive deeper into the history, traditions, geography, and celebrations in China. Take this opportunity to teach your child about China and everything that makes it such a vibrant country!
Start in the 1200s with Guan Daosheng and explore the lives of 49 other female artists. A full-page biography and captivating illustrations are included for each artist. The book covers painters, as well as photographers, graphic designers, sculptors, and others. The writing is sure to inspire young female artists and young boys will be interested in the book, too. It features more than 120 pages, so it’s a great choice for elementary and middle school kids.
Use this book to give your child an interactive introduction to Chinese writing and calligraphy. It discusses the history of Chinese writing, the basics of the calligraphy strokes, the five styles of calligraphy, and a few other related topics. There’s room for your child to practice writing calligraphy, too! This book can serve as an extended project for upper elementary children to work through at their own pace.
Discover the legend of the Chinese Zodiac race! There are 13 animals competing for a place in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The problem? There are only 12 spots. Watch the animals race and see the lessons they learn about teamwork, friendship, and trickery along the way. The book’s illustrations, done in warm earth tones, will introduce kids to traditional Chinese art styles. Preschool and early elementary children will love the excitement of this book.
Teach your child the ABCs as you learn about Asian food, culture, geography, and more! A is for Asia, but it’s also for the city of Agra and the beautiful áo dài dresses worn by Vietnamese women. Each letter is applied to multiple topics and although several new ideas are introduced, they’re each explained through simple sentences and engaging illustrations. It’s a great resource for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners.
Give your curious children new ways to learn about Chinese culture and history. In this book, they will read about the people, the folklore, the language, and the day-to-day life of Chinese people. Kids will learn folk songs, solve puzzles, and create art! The illustrations throughout the book are vibrant and add a lot of detail to each concept. Sit by your elementary kid and work through the book together!
Engaging photographs and descriptive text make this book from National Geographic Kids a real gem! It covers the meaning of Chinese New Year and the traditional celebrations of the holiday. Kids will see both historical and cultural aspects of the holiday. The small size and simplicity of the book make it a great choice for all children.
It’s not often that you come across a princess story that is also a tale of dramatic adventure. This book changes that! It’s the origin story of a beloved Buddhist saint, but there are a few new plot twists included. All the princess wants to do is spread love throughout the land, but her father has different plans for her life. Children will love to see the princess’ journey of sisterhood, courage, and strength. The illustrations, moving from rich colors into soft pastels, perfectly mirror the story. Read it with your early elementary kids.
Explore the history of ancient China by building the projects in this book. Each chapter focuses on a certain tradition, invention, or other item from Chinese history. Kids will read historical facts, anecdotes, and “words to know” vocabulary. Then they’ll create yurts, a compass, and much more. There are 25 projects in all. Kids in 1st–6th grade will be able to complete the projects with a little help from an adult while older children can do the projects all on their own.
Have the children met their match? Will this dragon slip through all their traps? Find out in this edition of the “How to Catch” series! It’s set in China during Chinese New Year. The illustrations show the celebrations: paper lanterns, red lunar envelopes, fireworks, music, and more. It’s a non-intimidating introduction to Chinese culture for preschoolers and kindergartners.
This book uses the Great Wall of China as a backdrop to go deeper into history and explain the dynasties, culture, and current status of China. It includes information on why the wall was built and the people who played a part in its construction. There’s also a map of China, a timeline, and several black-and-white illustrations. Confident readers can tackle this one on their own, but it makes an interesting read-aloud for first and second graders, too.
Meet the 12 Chinese zodiac animals as a little girl journeys to her grandmother’s house. She has a special Chinese New Year card to give her grandmother, but she can’t get there without the help of her furry friends. The colorful illustrations creatively use shapes in ways that will engage young readers. It’s a nice storybook for preschoolers and early elementary children.
This multicultural guide has something for every child. There are pages filled with information on several Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan, and others. Plus, there are extension activities like making bubble tea, folding a Japanese fan, decorating an immigrant trunk, and much more! The projects are relatively simple, but the text is dense. It’s best to read it to elementary kids and complete the projects together.
This incredibly basic book makes it easy to learn Mandarin Chinese. Each word is listed in Mandarin and in English. Plus, there’s a picture and pronunciation guide for every word. One hundred words are translated in this book, making it a great learning experience for the entire family!
It’s the Chinese Moon Festival and Mei is very excited. She’s making all kinds of preparations with her family. In addition to Mei’s story, this book includes the origin story of the Moon Festival. As an added bonus, the stories are written in both English and Chinese. The text is easy enough for early readers to tackle by themselves.
How do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Learn about all the ways in this book. The people watch fireworks, clean their homes, make paper lanterns, and have a feast with their friends. This book is a great choice for preschoolers and early readers who would like to know more about Chinese culture and traditions.
Whimsical illustrations sit alongside simple text that describes Lunar New Year celebrations. This one is a charming board book that emphasizes the main traditions of Chinese New Year and a little bit about the old fairy tale that prompted the start of many of those traditions. It makes a wonderful book for introducing the holiday to toddlers and preschoolers.
Use this book to teach your child 100 Chinese characters. It has a guide for getting started and plenty of room for practice. Learn how to write numbers, emotions, animals, and much more! The directions are quite clear, so this book is appropriate for children ages 6 to 10.
With this book, readers can take a journey through the history of Chinese painting by learning about 50 masterpieces that have been recognized throughout history. A few pages are dedicated to each piece. There are close-up images and plenty of discussion about each piece. You’ll learn about landscape paintings as well as figure paintings and bird-and-flower pieces. The work of Shen Zhou, Fan Kuan, Guan Daosheng, and others is highlighted. Teens and adults will enjoy this book.
This book traces the history of art in China from 2500 BCE to current times. It’s divided into sections that cover art in each of the dynasties, art in Buddist temples, art in the Chinese marketplace, and more. The text helps readers understand how artists like Shen Zhou and Guan Daosheng fit into the larger history of Chinese traditions, government, and art. There are dozens of reproductions in this book, but the text is quite dense. We recommend this one for kids ages 13+.
Introduce children to the beauty of Chinese poetry with this anthology. The first pages present a general discussion of Chinese poetry and how it has evolved over time. After that, the book jumps into hundreds of poems. They’re all arranged by author and there’s biographical information provided for each of the poets. Two of Shen Zhou’s poems are included and many more from the Ming dynasty. This book provides a wonderful way to expand the literary world of kids, teens, and adults.
This retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears takes place in China during Chinese New Year. Little Goldy is supposed to deliver a plate of turnip cakes to the next-door neighbors, the Pandas. Even though they’re not home, Goldy invites herself inside and tries out their rice porridge, their rocking chairs, and their beds. The story follows the traditional plot, but it continues after Goldy runs home. She eventually considers her actions and works to right her wrongs. She also ends up making a new friend! This book effortlessly winds Chinese culture through a traditional English story and makes for an engaging read for elementary kids.
This in-depth book invites kids to trace the history of Chinese dynasties from their beginning in the Bronze Age to their final years in the early 1900s. There are several pages devoted to art and the “three perfections,” but the book also covers a wealth of other topics like health and medicine, festivals and games, clothing, gardens, and inventions. The text is very informative, but it’s divided up into small sections so it’s not overwhelming for kids. Each page also features several photographs that take kids back in time. Early elementary children will enjoy paging through this one alongside an adult. Kids 10+ can begin to read it on their own and discuss the information with an adult.
With a comprehensive view of the Chinese imperial age, this book is a must-have for any family that’s interested in studying the country. Readers will learn about important people, popular philosophies of the time, cultural achievements, and more. Kids will really enjoy the visual aspect of this book. It’s packed with photographs and full-color images of art, artifacts, and historical figures. In all, the book covers 400 pages with each one bringing Chinese history to life! Read it section-by-section with kids ages 8+.