A Little Time and a Keyboard: Multicultural Children's Book Day with What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? and Bowls of Happiness

Multicultural Children's Book Day with What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? and Bowls of Happiness

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

**Disclosure: I did receive complimentary copies of these books in order to bring you this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

Multicultural Children's Book Day is coming up on January 27 and I have two new reads about Chinese culture to check out for your little ones. Last year, we reviewed In the Forbidden City and were very impressed with the quality of the volume. So I was pretty excited to check out two new books in the series, What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? and Bowls of Happiness. I am happy to unveil these new treasures to you---and I have a surprise at the end!

The China Institute has published this two new volumes in order to further help children gain an understanding of Chinese culture in terms they understand. I have found both volumes to contain lively language that will appeal to children and keep them engaged in reading!

Bowls of Happiness

Bowls of Happiness is aimed at younger readers particularly the 4+ crowd. In Bowls of Happiness, we follow Piggy as he learns about the tradition of porcelain bowl painting and what the symbols on the bowls represent. Piggy is absolutely adorable and his story paints a picture of this tradition for children.

In the back of the book, you will discover a more detailed description of the colors and symbols used on the intricate bowls. While a wonderful and whimsical tale for young children, these additional details make the book a nice reference and great volume to keep on the shelf!

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? is geared towards children ages 8 and up but the layout, wording and artwork are so engaging that it is readable by anyone. I think 8 is the right age for the younger end of the spectrum but I enjoyed it myself and learned quite a few things--so anyone older would gain something by reading this book.

As the title implies, the book introduces the life of an Emperor in China's Forbidden City. From the Emperor's education to descriptions of the emblems on his Imperial Court Robe to the line of succession and the role of women, readers will gain a better understanding of Imperial China. I learned so much and every new fact had me eagerly waiting for more! Some of my favorites:
  • Princes only had 5 days off of school a year!
  • Military officials, young men and even princes practiced military drills every day.
  • Almost 1/3 of China's emperors were murdered, so tight security was stressed.
  • The most popular entertainment was the Chinese Opera.

The book also contains a section that briefly describes each emperor. Each description really sparks interest for further study. Overall, the images and dialogue jump off the pages. A wonderful book!


In honor of Multicultural Children's Book Day, we are giving away a copy of Bowls of Happiness and What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? Giveaway ends January 24 and is open to U.S. residents 18-years-old and older. Good Luck!

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