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China

Chinese opera
China is a vast country, both in population and the span of history, the oldest continuous civilization in the world. China also has bunches of "earliest" and "firsts" – earliest writing and code of laws, first to use paper money, first to make silk, kites, gunpowder, paper and fireworks, first to print books. Poetry, painting, music and theater are highly developed arts, astronomy and medicine have always been important in Chinese life. Traveling with kids in China, there's so many directions to go, and here's some great places to start.
    BeijingThe Great Wall
  Xi'an
    Shanghai
    Around Guilin
    Hong Kong
family tours china

Home to the Great Wall, one of the new seven wonders of the world, and everyone's favorite pandas, a trip to China will stay with your kids forever.

Here's our editors' choice for China family tours. Each itinerary offers the option of travel with other families, and a balance of organized activities and freedom to explore, from the hustle and bustle of Beijing to the tranquility of country villages. Whether it's home-cooked lunches with a Chinese family, visits to a hutong, holding a young panda, an acrobatic show in Shanghai, or a boat ride down the Li River, these tour companies will arrange an unforgettable trip to China:

    Thomson Family Adventures
    Journeys International
    Quivertree Family Expeditions
kids books china
     
childrens china myths The Magical Monkey King  
The Magical Monkey King
Ji-Li Jiang, Hui Hui Su-Kennedy

Retelling of a Chinese classic, the mischievous Monkey King seeks out a sage to learn the secrets of life. Along the way, Monkey defeats the Demon of Havoc, steals a magic staff from the Dragon King, and gobbles all the peaches of immortality, but not even the Jade Emperor, ruler of Heaven and Earth, can catch him. (Chapter book)

 

     
Brush of the Gods
Lenore Look & Meilo So

Fabulous story of Wu Daozi, the great T'ang dynasty painter. Daozi trains in the classical style, but soon he's painting flying Buddhas, dancing peonies, galloping horses on teahouse and temple walls. His paintings are so real, they come to life! Luminous illustrations, this is a gem. (Picture book)

 

 
brush of the gods
     
grandma panda's chinese storybook  

Little pandas Lingling and Baobao go to stay with their grandmother every summer. They have a great time eating dim sum, hearing about "dotting the dragon's eyes" and why dim sum means "heart toucher," learning calligraphy and kung fu. Irresistible illustrations, and delightful stories! (Picture book)

 

     

Picture biography of Lao Tzu, the mysterious Taoist philospher who wrote of the great book of wisdom, the Tao Te Ching, plus 20 different verses from the Tao Te Ching, all exquisitely illustrated. (Picture book)

 

 
 The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching biography kids china
     
Ancient China kids history  
Ancient China (Eyewitness books)
Arthur Cotterell

Excellent overview of ancient China – the first emperor, lifestyles of the rich and powerful, peasants and farmers, secrets of silk and paper, calligraphy, poetry and painting, food, clothing, festivals, medicine and inventions. Rich, detailed historical illustrations. (Picture book)

 

     

Amazing discovery of the terracotta warriors, thousands of pottery figures guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Find out about the archeological site, how the figures were made, soldier's armor, weapons, and horses. Gorgeous close-up photographs of the terracotta warriors. (Picture book)

 

 
The Emperor's Silent Army terra cotta warriors kids
     
Day of the Dragon King china easy reader kids
 
Day of the Dragon King
Mary Pope Osborne

Jack and Annie are whirled back to China over 2,000 years ago, when Emperor Qin Shi Huang is the "Dragon King." They have to find the a bamboo book before it's burned, and escape the emperor's soldiers, but a ball of silk may save the day. (Easy reader)

 

     
Where Is the Great Wall?
Patricia Brennan Demuth, Jerry Hoare

Illustrated history of the Great Wall, 4,000 miles long and the largest man-made structure in the world. How the First Emperor built the first wall with towers, packed earth and towers, and a thousand years later, an improved wall was constructed with brick and stone, which has lasted to this day. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
Marco Polo for Kids china  
Marco Polo for Kids
Janis Herbert

Pictorial history of Marco Polo's amazing journey through China – the realm of Kublai Khan, Mongol and court life, imperial palaces, Chinese dynasties and culture, plus 21 activities – make your own clay warriors or paper, reorder your room with feng sui, qigong exercises, try Chinese-style painting, make moon cakes. Excellent historical illustrations. (Chapter book)

 

     
Daughter of Xanadu
Dori Jones Yang

Emmajin, the granddaughter of Kublai Khan, aims to become a warrior in the Mongol army. But when she meets Marco Polo in the gardens of Xanadu, another world opens up. Together they travel to western China on a secret mission and find themselves facing a fierce army mounted on elephants. Good for older kids. (Chapter book)

 

 
Daughter of Xanadu marco polo kids
     
kids action adventure china The Tiger
 
The Five Ancestors series:
Tiger, Monkey, Snake, Crane, Eagle, Mouse, Dragon
Jeff Stone

Five teenage warrior monks (one a girl in disguise), each amazingly skilled in an animal style of kung fu – tiger, monkey, snake, crane and dragon. Their secret temple destroyed, the teenagers take different paths to fight their arch enemy Ying. (Chapter book)

 

     

Young Chengli joins a caravan, traveling the Silk Road from Chang'an to Kashgar. Exciting adventures as he saves a princess from bandits, survives deadly sandstorms and snow in the Tien Shan mountains, learns to ride horses like a Kazakh, and follows the wind of the desert. (Chapter book)

 

 
Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan
     
Celebrating Chinese Festivals childrens books  

Celebrate seven major Chinese festivals – Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese Valentine's Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Double Ninth Festival, plus holiday tales, recipes for moon cakes, sweet dumpling, and zongzi, riddles and poems. (Picture book)

 

     
Chinese New Year Activity Book
Karl Jones, Steve Simpson

Learn about Chinese New Year traditions, fold together four different lion dancers, color lion and dragon mask, make confetti fireworks and pinwheels, recipe for steamed dumplings, stickers with zodiac animals, lions, food, lanterns and stars. (Activity book)

 

 
chinese new year activity book
     
The Great Race chinese calendar kids  
The Great Race
Dawn Casey, Anne Wilson

In the Chinese calendar, each year is named after twelve different animals – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. This is a delightful retelling of how the Chinese zodiac was created, and why there is no year of the cat. (Picture book)

 

     
Long-Long's New Year
Catherine Gower, He Zhihong

It's the Spring Festival and Long-Long has come to town with his grandpa. Everything in town is a new adventure for Long-Long – selling their vegetables in the open-air market, shopping, eating, celebrating good luck. Sparkling illustrations, filled with wonderful details, this is a gem. (Picture book)

 

 
Long-Long's New Year chinese festivals kids
     
 Little Pear china children  
Little Pear
Eleanor Frances Lattimore

Delightful story of Little Pear, a mischievous five year old boy. What happens when he flies kites, celebrates with firecrackers, walks to the big city, or eats too many green peaches? Charming line drawings, perfect for younger kids. (Chapter book)

 

     
Tracks of a Panda
Nick Dowson, Yu Rong

“High on a mist-wrapped mountain, cradled in a leafy nest, Panda holds her newborn cub gently in her paw.” Lyrical story of a mother panda and her cub, as she searches for a new bamboo patch in the mountain country. Fabulous illustrations in the style of Chinese paintings! (Picture book)

Also, an easy reader: A Perfect Time for Pandas.

 

 
 Tracks of a Panda china nature kids
     
Welcome to China country facts easy reader kids  
Welcome to China (DK Readers)
Caryn Jenner

Fun facts about the people and places of China today, the most populous country on earth – city and country life, history, school, food, sports, arts and music, wildlife, and festivals. (Easy reader)

 

     

Personal, homey experiences after a visit to China – splurping noodle soup, eating steamed dumplings under a willow tree, weird and wonderful fruits in the markets, boat ride on the canals, rocks that look like animals and lucky goldfish in a garden. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

 
My China Travel Journal kids
     
Not for Parents China  

Not a guidebook, this is filled with fascinating people, places and history of China – lucky dragons, emperors, Mongols and Mao Zedong, kite capital of the world, pedal power, secrets of silk, ice festivals, warrior monks, and more. Lots of fun! (Illustrated chapter book).

 

(More children's books on other China pages)
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