A Little Mandarin Book Review

Doubly Diverse

WenMin Min Lightsdy Lee, the protagonist in The Mystery of the Min Min Lights by Janelle Diller, is an American visiting Australia.  The book is part of the “Pack-n-Go Girls Adventure” series introducing young readers (6-9 years old) to destinations around the world.  The book gives children exposure to Australia and Australian culture.  It concludes with a “What to know before you go” section including a recipe for Lamingtons (yum) and even a ‘Say it Like an Australian’ section, mate.

What is intriguing about the book is that Wendy Lee is Asian American and she is, well, simply Asian and American.   Wendy brings the perspective of an American experiencing a different culture whilst representing the diversity of the United States. As she says in the book “She was mostly American. But she was also still a little Chinese.”  Wendy has an adventure with her neighbors while being exposed to Australian idiom, dialect, and norms out on their sheep station.  Part of the beauty of the book is that it normalizes Wendy’s experience as typically American while recognizing her ethnic background.  I am heartened to read the author’s dedication noting that “all little girls should get to see themselves on the pages of the books they read.”

The Mystery of The Min Min Lights is a great little book for new readers and a simple way to introduce Australia to children of all cultures.

This review is done as a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. View our 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/mcbd2018-medallion-level-sponsors/

View our 2018 MCBD Author Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

In celebration of the Year of the Rooster, we’re offering a FREE download of A Little Mandarin’s version of the traditional Chinese Happy New Year song, 新年好 – xīn nián hǎo! Here are the lyrics. Enjoy!

Hoping for an extra special year for all of the roosters out there.  Did you know that those born in the year of the rooster are supposed to be trustworthy and responsible with a strong sense of time?

2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster, one of the five element-signs.  The last fire roosters were born in 1957.



Lucky numbers: 5, 7, and 8
Lucky days: the 4th and 26th
Lucky colors: gold, brown, and yellow

Happy New Year 新年快乐 xīn nián kuài lè!  

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋快乐 zhōng qiū kuài lè

During the Mid- Autumn Festival countless families experience the  warmth and nostalgia related with this traditional celebration. Much folklore exists concerning the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival; be it the exciting tale of the Moon Goddess Chang’e or the fact that one time mooncakes were used as a vessel to transport messages secretly. Regardless of it’s origin, most notable are the loving memories shared with family and friends on this joyous occasion”.mooncakes-2016

Wishing you and your family all the best for a wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival.  I wanted to share with you this marvelous message on the mooncakes (月饼) I received this year. These salty ones (bottom pic) are Suzhou-style savory pork mooncakes (肉月饼) , loved by all Shanghainese, from my paternal grandparent’s hometown. I hope  the holiday brings you many mooncakes(月饼) and more importantly the opportunity to connect with your family.

Happy Year of the Monkey!

Happy New Year 新年好 xīn nián hǎo

To celebrate the Lunar New Year and welcome the Year of the Monkey, I am pleased to be able to share a special monkey drum craft with you.  This fun craft is provided by world music children’s performer DARIA (www.dariamusic.com). 

Bolang Gu creft + real one


Here’s a simple music craft to make and play for Chinese Lunar New Year!

The Bolang Gu (波浪鼓;pinyin: bo lang gu) is also called a monkey drum or a pellet drum and is a small, two-sided drum with beads or pellets that bounce off both sides.  Although bolang gu are often considered children’s toys – especially at Chinese New Years celebrations – they actually date back to ceremonies held in the Song Dynasty of China and are part of religious rituals in Tibet, Mongolia, India, and Taiwan.  Continue reading

Press Release: ALM on Putumayo’s Asian Playground

Asian-Playground-CoverNew York, March 31, 2015 – A Little Mandarin (www.alittlemandarin.com) joins the international artist lineup on Putumayo Kids latest album, Putumayo Kids Presents Asian Playground, available at retailers worldwide and iTunes.  A Little Mandarin’s song “Yī Fēn Qián (One Penny)” is featured on the album;  preview the music at Putumayo Kids.

“I’m proud to once again be included on a fun, high-quality Putumayo Kids production. I have long admired Putumayo Kids and share their passion for introducing children to other cultures through music” Says Toni Wang, creator of A Little Mandarin.

Asian Playground celebrates the incredible diversity of Asia. Featuring 11 artists from nine countries, this collection of children’s music mixes traditional sounds and instruments with modern styles. Toni is proud to be part of a line-up that includes such luminaries as Kailash Kher (India), The Shanghai Restoration Project (China) and Elena Moon Park (Korea).