Father’s Chinese Opera – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

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Today’s review for my diversity reading challenge falls into category #1. If you are joining is this challenge as a reader or reviewer, feel free to mention in the comments what books you have been reading.10549007_812063368836968_6839586119509335608_o

chinTitle: Father’s Chinese Opera

Written and illustrated By: Rich Lo

Published By: Sky Pony Press, 2014

Themes/Topics: Chinese opera, hard work, patience

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Fiction, 40 pages.



Father was the band                                                                                                          leader and composer                                                                                                               of the Chinese Opera                                                                                                               in Hong Kong.

Sometimes I sat on                                                                                                                  top of the instrument                                                                                                            cases and watched                                                                                                                 the actors onstage


This story is loosely autobiographical. The Chinese opera is a rich and ancient art form. Songs, acrobatics, acting, flag carriers, musicians… make the opera a truly spectacular show to behold for one little boy who spends his summer backstage at his father’s Chinese opera in Hong Kong. He is fascinated with the skill of the performers, especially the acrobats, and starts to dream of being part of the show. To this end he rehearses the moves day and night: The striking leopard, the flying dragon, the white crane. Soon the boy thinks he is ready to perform with the professionals, but the choreographer doesn’t agree. In fact, he mocks the boy when asked to join the acrobats. The little boy goes home in a pout. He’s embarrassed that he has boasted to all his friends that he will take part. His wise father takes him aside that evening and explains all the preparation and training he went through before leading an opera troupe. The next day the little boy begins to practice with the flag carriers, the entry role into an opera troupe.


Why I like This Book:

There is so much packed into these forty pages. It is a creative and cultural story about the workings of a Chinese opera. It is a family story about a father and son’s relationship. It is a story about the value and rewards of hard work and patience. It is a story full of heart and depth with enchanting, vivacious, colorful illustrations. The book illustrates that dreams can be realized with commitment and determination. This would be a great classroom addition for lessons on China or the arts.


The book contains an author’s note about the Chinese opera and about his own father’s life as a composer, plus suggested further reading.

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4 Responses to Father’s Chinese Opera – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

  1. I really loved this book with it’s rich illustrations and fascinating story. I’m so happy you are reviewing it and giving it the attention it deserves. I love that it is based on Rich Lo’s relationship with his father. It has a lot of qualities you mentioned above.

    I love the diversity challenge. The more diverse books that we can review and put out there, the better.

    • Joanna says:

      I know you reviewed it a couple of months ago and I wanted to wait a little before I shared. It is a book I hope gets a lot of love.

  2. Catherine says:

    What a great lesson in this ‘I want it now’ world.

  3. I discovered this book through Patricia. I had to get my own copy since I watched a lot of Chinese opera as a kid. It is beautiful!

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