Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Last Dragon

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For Perfect Picture Book Friday this week I am continuing my Asian theme.

The Last Dragon

Written by Susan Miho Nunes and illustrated by Chris K Soentpiet

Clarion Books, 1995, Fiction

Suitable for: ages 5-8

Themes/Topics:  Chinese New Year, Chinatown in NYC, multicultural

Opening and brief synopsis:  “The Dragon hung in the window of the Lung Fung Trading Company on Jefferson Street collecting dust, cobwebs and bug skeletons.” Unhappy about having to spend the summer with his great aunt in New York’s  Chinatown, Peter discovers a lot of fun,  satisfaction and identity with his culture in repairing the old ten-man dragon he finds in a shop window, with the help of his new friends.

Links to resources: Chinese New Year Games and Activities

Why I Like This Book: I am always looking for books to help children become more aware of other cultures and festivals. This is a story that immerses the reader, from a child’s point of view, into the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the importance of culture for second-generation immigrants and a superb insight into New York’s Chinatown. It also offers a positive look at generations and close cultural communities working together on projects that reinforce the culture.

For more books that can be used in the school or home classroom, with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog!

The Chinese new year 2012 will be celebrated on 23rd of January and is the year of Dragon.

Chinese New Year - New York

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17 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Last Dragon

  1. Sounds fun! I have a PB WIP based in a Chinese Temple. I should probably read this one for research 🙂

  2. Joanna says:

    Good idea, but this one is fairly wordy as it was written 15 years ago, you are probably aiming for fewer words 😉 and of course, different focus.

  3. Susanna says:

    This book sounds wonderful! I am so enjoying seeing what everyone chooses and learning about all these great books. Our list is coming along 🙂 Thanks for anothe great choice!

  4. I’m glad to find a good book on the Chinese New Year. I, too, enjoy reading books about other cultures to my kids.

  5. Love this book! Glad to see a book on the Chinese New Year, through the eyes of a child. So many great entries this month. Sounds like a fun book.

  6. This book sounds great — educational but in a fun and accessible way. (And I love that dragon photo you’ve included!)

  7. I have to read longer books by myself for now, as my son doesn’t have the attention for it. I enjoy multicultural themes, because I enjoy traveling and exploring different cultures.

  8. I, too, love Picture books taking place in other cultures. This one gave me my idea for Picture Book Idea Month. About how we celebrated Christmas as a child in my country of origin, The Netherlands.
    Thanks so much for the idea.
    And yes, the book you picked for Perfect Picture Book Friday sounds like a great read.

    • Joanna says:

      I spent a couple of years in the Netherlands and absolutely loved celebrating Sinta Klaas…. always very creative. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t as commercialized as Christmas! It is true I haven’t really read any picture books about these Dutch celebrations. Great idea!

  9. Loved this! Right with you on this one Joanna! This also reminded me about Christmas in Europe and my travels through Asia.
    Thankyou Joanna.

  10. Joanna says:

    Yes, I love experiencing festivities in other nations, Diane. I have been in China too for New Year and it’s wild!!!! People travel for days to be with family for this festival.

  11. Sounds like a cute book Joanna, and great idea to do an Asian theme 🙂

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!



  12. Joanna says:

    Yes, Rach, it has been interesting to focus on Asia for a few posts.

  13. Great recommendation! We read a lot of multicultural lit in the library. Have you read Coolies by Chris Soentpiet? It is an amazing picture book about the Chinese immigrants’ experience building the transcontinental railroad in the US.

  14. Joanna says:

    Hi kelly, no I need to look out for Coolies, thanks for the tip!

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