Book Review | All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More for Kids

Last December, I posted our review of Tuttle Publishing's All About Japan. We've been adding a few extra knowledge into our homeschool year and books are our first go-to reference. Our now 6-year-old Little V is fascinated about the world and we try to give him all the juices needed for his hungry brain. For the month of January, we used another book from Tuttle Publishing - All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More for Kids. It was also timely since Chinese New Year was just around the corner. In this blog post, I'll share with you our book review.
The book was written by Allison Branscombe, an avid traveler and researcher who adopted two children from China, and illustrated by Lin Wang, who studied at the prestigious Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China. This hardbound book takes us to a journey to China and learn more about the country's people, traditions, and different places.

Cousins Meiling and Liming travels with the reader as we read the book.

I really liked that at the beginning of the book a pronunciation guide has been provided. Although we've heard several Chinese words here in the Philippines, it still gets confusing when they are written in English.


The book is divided into 15 chapters: from its history and traditions to beliefs and arts.

1. Introduction to China
- fast facts were presented

2. Famous Historic Places
- amazing structures, natural wonders and sights

3. Geography
- kid-friendly map
- I was surprised to know that China is the world's largest producer of pork, wheat, and tobacco

4. Government

5. 5,000 years of culture and inventions
- culture and inventions from the 11 dynasties were presented
- Hey, I can still recite all of the dynasties even after more than 15 years (Asian history in Highschool)!

6. Homes
- I remembered the movie Mulan in this chapter
- For Chinese New Year, we placed these jars inside our home in tune with Feng Shui.

A little something for Feng Shui inside our bedroom

7. Daily Life
- Explains shopping, making a living and work, dressing, and education
- I didn't know that most Chinese don't eat cheese or beef, or drink milk

8. Games
- ways to have fun through games were presented some of them can be seen here in the Philippines like Mahjong and Jianzi (Sipa in Tagalog)
- There's also a DIY tangram indoor game on the boom which we will try next time

9. Family Traditions and Customs
- Reading this chapter reminds me how close Filipino culture is with the Chinese when it comes to family.

10. Food and Eating
- Dining etiquette, how to use chopsticks

11. Beliefs
- Yin and Yang
- Confucius
- Lao Tze
- gods and temple festivals

12. Zodiac Animals
- Little V loved the story of the Zodiac animals
- Zodiac signs

13. Ancient Arts
- Kung fu
- Tai-Chi
- traditional Chinese medicine
- Chinese language
- arts and crafts
- music, dance and theatre

We enjoyed singing this song in Chinese!

14. Festivals and Holidays
- chinese new year includes recipes, crafts, gifts, lion dance
- Qing Ming
- Dragon Boat
- Autumn Moon

For Chinese New Year, my kids worked on a lantern. It didn't look much of a lantern but I appreciate the hard work into it by my son. We also got to watch up close a lion dance as well as a dragon dance.

15. Endangered Species

First Impressions

I really liked that this book is hardbound as well. This gives me assurance that it would last long specially that we have young kids at home who are walking Tasmanian devils. Ha! Ha!

The book aims to target families with young kids as audience and it is reassuring to see its high quality.

Another thing that got me and the kids interested in the book are its beautiful illustrations. Like the booK All About Japan, the drawings were enticing to kids and adult alike. It also helps to read quick did-you-know facts presented on each chapter.

Here's a quick look into the book:

Lasting Impressions

For centuries, Chinese have been trading with us and a lot of their culture can be seen in ours, a clear indication of how China has influenced our ways. We wanted our kids to learn Chinese since their ancestor is from China. This book is a great introduction for them. The narration was clear and easy to understand even by young readers. Lengthy at some point but I understand that the author was trying to squeeze a country rich in history and culture into a 60-page book.

We also enjoyed the uncomplicated instructions on the recipes and crafts.

We were able to learn a lot about China, their traditions, and culture. The information presented in this book is a great refresher for adults and a good introduction to young ones.

Overall, I am impressed with this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who’d like to know more about China in just one sitting.

Book Facts:

**Winner of Creative Child Magazine 2015 Preferred Choice Award**
**Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal**
**Winner of Moonbeam Children's Book Awards 2015 Silver Medal**


Publisher:Tuttle Publishing



Date Published:11/11/2014

Illustrations:full-color illustrations throughout

Number of Pages:64

Trim Size:8 1/2 X 11