Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







Red Kite, Blue Kite

line Red Kite, Blue Kite
by Ji-li Jiang (Author), Greg Ruth (Illustrator)

 A tale of optimism

I first came across this book at Non Fiction Monday event hosted by a group of children’s literature bloggers. Perogyo’s lovely blog featured “Red Kite Blue Kite” as a celebration for Father’s Day this year. And since reading her review on the book, I have been waiting to read it myself.

“Red Kite, Blue Kite” is a story of a little boy, Tai Shan and his father, Baba and their love for flying kites. Their Red and Blue kites bob up and down, backwards and forwards. From the rooftops, the city looks small, the people look like ants. Up in the sky the kites fly free. Up on the rooftops, Tai Shan feels free. As they fly their kites, Baba tells Tai Shan stories.

Red Kite Blue Kite together

But hard times are coming. The Cultural Revolution sweeps the country. Tai Shan’s school is shut down and he sees people wearing red armbands everywhere. Families are broken. Tai Shan is separated from his father.

Red Kit Blue Kite going away

Baba is sent to a labor camp and Tai Shan has to go live with a granny near the labor camp. Fortunately, Baba comes to visit Tai Shan every Sunday and then they climb the hills, fly their kites and forget about their worries. Baba tells Tai Shan stories that make him proud.

Red Kite Blue Kite when will you be back

But soon things get worse and Baba is not able to visit Tai Shan anymore. As Tai Shan looks to the sky and flies his Red Kite every day, he wonders when he will be able to see his Baba again?

This is a beautiful poignant tale of family, a tale about parent and child bonding. The setting is a dark one, the Chinese Cultural Revolution was a time when millions of people were persecuted and a large number of population was displaced. But “Red Kite Blue Kite” focuses on hope, on optimism. It introduces an important event in history through Tai Shan’s point of view. Ji-li Jiang’s narrative is simple yet strong. Written in first person from Tai Shan’s point of view is an amazing way to engage an early reader into the tale.

Red Kite Blue Kite together at last

Greg Ruth’s pen and watercolor illustrations feature realistic depiction of the events. The images keep the strong negative events in the background, highlighting the more positive aspects or emotions in the foreground.

It is easy to see why this book deserves merit. Whether you read it because it is a powerful tale about a father and son bond, or because it is about a historic event, you will be moved.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


26 comments

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  1. bamauthor

    Sounds like a powerful book with beautiful illustrations….

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  2. Thanks for this review! I have just added the book to my Goodreads TBR list. It looks wonderful!

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    • reshamad

      I am glad you found this book. Do let us know how you like it!
      -Reshama

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  3. Lovely review. I read this book a while back and loved it.

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    • reshamad

      So glad you stopped by Darshana. Yes the book is very powerful. Thanks for sharing!
      -Reshama

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  4. I must get this book! I lived in Beijing plus use to study Chinese politics so I’m fascinated to read this children’s book on the cultural revolution.

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    • reshamad

      The beauty of the story is how the author has woven a dark theme like Cultural Revolution into a children’s book. Do let us know how you like it, Kriss!
      -Reshama

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  5. Oh it looks so powerful. I know I would be crying at page 4. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful story with us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop.
    (ps, ooh, did I see you are at Write On Con…catch you in the forums, he he) Cheers Julie

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    • reshamad

      Thanks for stopping by Julie.. and i must confess that i teared up myself and more than once!
      -Reshama

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  6. Sounds like a lovely story. Thanks for sharing

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  7. Dorothy Teel

    This sounds like a wonderful book about family and bonding..

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  8. Katie

    What a beautiful story! And the illustrations are absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing this with all of us at the Hop!

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  9. Beautiful illustrations – it’s fascinating how authors are able to convey large, complex times into one powerful story – I can’t wait to read it. Have you read Jiang’s memoir “Red Scarf Girl” {Here’s my review: http://talesofabookworm.com/the-red-scarf-girl-review/} Highly recommend it!

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    • reshamad

      My thoughts exactly! I am glad you stopped by to share the review on Red Scarf Girl. After I had read Red Kite Blue Kite, i looked at Jiang’s other books and noticed this one. I will definitely be looking out for it. Thanks for sharing!
      -Reshama

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. I added it to my list of books to read. The illustrations look beautiful.

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    • reshamad

      Thanks for stopping by Aly, I am glad you found this one.
      -Reshama

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  11. What a great example of literature for children! Fantastic subject matter and emotion coming through. Thanks for sharing and for hostessing once again, Reshama!

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  12. That is a very moving story and the illustrations are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop and for hosting with us once more!

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    • reshamad

      Thanks Renee. I love participating, I always find some good reading material on the hop. Thanks for hosting!
      -Reshama

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  13. Looks like a great book. Featuring it on iGameMom – thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library. http://igamemom.com/2013/08/14/how-to-encourage-kids-to-read-more-moms-library/

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    • reshamad

      Thanks for stopping by Beth! and big thank you for sharing the link.
      -Reshama

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