Red Kite, Blue Kite

RedKite9781423127536_p0_v4_s260x420Red Kite, Blue Kite

Ji-Li Jiang, Author

Greg Ruth, Illustrator

Disney Hyperion Books, fiction, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Father/son relationship, Kites, Separation, Hope, Chinese Cultural Revolution, Multicultural

Opening:  “I love to fly kites.  But not from the ground.  My city is crowded, and the streets are skinny.  Baba and I fly our kites from the tippy-top of our triangle roof.  We are above but still under, neither here nor there.  We are free, like the kites.”

Synopsis:  When Tai Shan and his father, Baba, are separated during China’s Cultural Revolution, Tai Shan goes to live with Granny Wang.  Baba is able to visit Tai Shan every Sunday, but they stay close by greeting each other every day with flying kites.   It is their secret way of communicating their love for one another and ease the separation.  One day Tai Shan isn’t able to see Baba’s kite in the sky and worries if he will ever see his father again.

Why I like this book:  Ji-Li Jiang has written a beautiful poetic story about a father/son relationship that endures under the most difficult time in China’s history.  Greg Ruth’s double-page spreads are done in ink and watercolors.  They are large, evocative and a feast for the eyes. It is a compelling story that teaches children about the Chinese culture and a little history at the same time.

Resources;  There is an author’s note at the end that talks about the author’s relationship to the story and the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976.  The author was born in Shanghai and spent many years dealing with her childhood memories of surviving the Cultural Revolution.  Visit Ji-li Jiang’s website to learn more about using this book in the classroom.  She has a video presentation that can be downloaded.  Talk about separation with kids and ask them what they would do to stay in touch with a parent.

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About Patricia Tiltonhttp://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

22 thoughts on “Red Kite, Blue Kite

  1. Pat, this sounds like a wonderful book. I love the idea of the kites connecting the parent and child. Thanks for reviewing! Will try to pick this one up at the library.

  2. This sounds like a good one! Kites are fun for children. What a cool idea for the father and son to use them to stay “connected.” A little different from cell phones, isn’t it? :) Thanks for sharing the review.

    • I felt the same way Freeda. It has won awards and is a top book this year. I am late reviewing it. But, the relationship between the boy and his father is so special and the use of kits to remain connected is beautiful.

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