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Read Globally: 9 Folktales, Fables, and Stories That Introduce Chinese Culture and History to Kids

by Devon Corneal

We’re all familiar with the classic American children’s stories, whose characters and narratives are passed down through families. We carefully tuck away our favorite battered copies of Dr. Seuss books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlotte’s Web, and others for our children’s children. Our kids grow up playacting life on the American prairie thanks to Laura Ingalls Wilder and imagining themselves traveling to Where the Wild Things Are.

But children’s literature also gives us an incredible opportunity to fill storytime with tales from cultures and traditions around the world, and to discover authors who bring to life people and places our kids haven’t yet imagined or encountered. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to look at stories that reflect a particular place, a place full of great history and tradition: China. Learn more about the beauty and wonder of China with these books by Chinese authors, retellings of traditional Chinese folktales, and new stories set in China — all to whet little readers’ curiosity about the faraway and ancient land.

Interested in great books originally written in Chinese? Additional recommendations can be found here. And if you have any other book recommendations, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

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