Friday, February 12, begins the celebration of Lunar New Year, and ushers in the Year of the Ox. The Ox is the second animal of the Chinese zodiac, and represents hard work, honesty, and positivity. Additionally, the folk wisdom holds that these traits will be manifest in all of us throughout the coming year.
To add to your celebration of Lunar New Year, I’ve collected a few recommendations. A great jumpstart to the festivities is the Dragon Dance. Here’s an exciting recent performance, Chinese New Year 2019 Lion Dance, Hong Kong. But if you prefer a more sedate observance, the New York Times offers this tour, Chinatown: Time Travel Through a New York Gem. And closer to home, our own San Francisco Asian Art Museum offers virtual programs, #MuseumFromHome.
Of course, being a Librarian, I’d suggest complementary books. Here’s a list that is sure to have a title for your child, Asian & Asian American Children's Books for ages 0 to 18. But two of my favorites for younger students aren’t on the list, they are: Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine and Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells. These books describe how shared interests can bring families closer, and readings of both can be found on YouTube.
My Middle and Upper School recommendations are all winners of the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award (APALA). Hildi Kang’s Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan is set in 630 A.D. and follows the adventures of a boy determined to unravel family secrets by traveling the Silk Road like his father. Set in modern times, When You Trap a Tiger, by Tae Keller, explores the richness a grandmother’s Korean folklore adds to a girl’s life. US students will appreciate the historical events that build throughout This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda and Kiku Hughes’ graphic novel Displacement. Both focus on the impacts of World War II on Japanese Americans.
And finally, for adults I suggest Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, with the ability to also stream the movie afterwards! Whatever way you choose to start the Year of Ox, I hope your celebration adds novelty and fun to your pandemic bubble. Gong xi fa cai!
- Karlyn Strand, Librarian