Crouching Tiger

A Chinese-American boy gains a new understanding of his Chinese grandfather in this celebratory story of family, martial arts, and the Chinese New Year.Vinson is very excited when his grandfather comes from China for a visit. When Grandpa practices tai chi in the garden, Vinson asks to learn, hoping it will be like kung fu, full of kicks and punches. But tai chi’s meditative postures are slow and still, and Vinson quickly gets bored. He can’t understand why Grandpa insists on calling him by his Chinese name, Ming Da, or why he has to wear a traditional Chinese jacket to the Chinese New Year parade. As the parade assembles, however, he notices the great respect given to his grandfather and the lion dancers under his training. And when Vinson is offered a role in the parade, he realizes that being part Chinese can be pretty cool—and is ready to start learning from his grandpa’s martial-arts mastery in earnest.

Shaolin Tiger

The unlikely heroes of the Cockroach Ryu face their greatest danger yet — a warrior seeking revenge against his former teacher, Sensei Ki-Yaga.The White Tiger Temple is under threat. To help the Shaolin monks, Sensei KiYaga and the whole gang of samurai kids— from Niya Moto, the boy with one leg to Taji, the boy who is blind— embark on a perilous journey across the Sea of Japan to China. But soon they discover that getting there is only half the battle. A great danger awaits them: a former student of Sensei named Qing-Shen, China’s Warrior, now the most skilled soldier in the Middle Kingdom. But Qing-Shen is also a man with a vendetta against his onetime teacher. Could there be anyone more dangerous? The samurai kids must train in the ways of the Shaolin monks before facing him. But will they be able to protect the temple and their beloved Sensei?

A Girl Named Faithful Plum

In 1977, when Zhongmei Lei was eleven years old, she learned that the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy was having open auditions. She’d already taken dance lessons, but everyone said a poor country girl would never get into the academy, especially without any connections in the Communist Party of the 1970s. But Zhongmei, whose name means Faithful Plum, persisted, even going on a hunger strike, until her parents agreed to allow her to go. She traveled for three days and two nights to get to Beijing and eventually beat out 60,000 other girls for one of 12 coveted spots. But getting in was easy compared to staying in, as Zhongmei soon learned. Without those all-important connections she was just a little girl on her own, far away from family. But her determination, talent, and sheer force of will were not something the teachers or other students expected, and soon it was apparent that Zhongmei was not to be underestimated. Zhongmei became a famous dancer, and founded her own dance company, which made its New York debut when she was in just her late 20s.  In A Girl Named Faithful Plum, her husband and renowned journalist, Richard Bernstein, has written a fascinating account of one girl’s struggle to go from the remote farmlands of China to the world’s stages, and the lengths she went to in order to follow her dream.

A New Year’s Reunion

Little Maomao’s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume IV, Issue 4