Being a Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Librarian in a multicultural school gives me the opportunity to read books I might not have picked up for myself. Today, I read a picture book titled Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe.
If you aren’t familiar, the Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar moon. As a full moon rises, families come together and celebrate by sharing stories, having reunions with loved ones, and eating! In Lin Yi’s Lantern, Williams and Lacombe capture the traditions and colors of the Moon Festival. On his search for the perfect foods and desserts, Lin Yi travels to the local market hoping to have enough money to bargain for a red rabbit lantern. After passing through the, lucky, moon gate bridge, his hope of having enough to buy the red rabbit lantern grew stronger. Through bargaining and determination, Lin Yi was unable to purchase a red rabbit lantern; however, to his dismay, his luck didn’t run out.
I lost attention while reading; however, the colorful illustrations and pages rich with culture immersed me completely, obtaining my attention.
Teachers & Parents:
This book is a great introduction to the Chinese Moon Festival. The back of the book has The Legend of the Moon Fairy, as told by Uncle Hui (character in the story), how to make a Chinese lantern (which I made successfully), and some information about the market life in China.
It is filled with learning opportunities any age would enjoy! Although I teach middle school students, I am able to see the joy in students faces when I use picture books to teach a subject. No matter the age, picture books can be used to teach various topics.
If I were to use this book on an instructional level, I would:
1. Dive into the history of the Chinese Moon Festival. Using some of the information on the back to enhance any information I could find on the internet.
2. After students understood the importance of the Moon Festival to the Chinese culture, I would then have them make a lantern (really easy).
3. Read Lin Yi’s: A Moon Festival Tale.
4. Discuss book.
5. Make moon pies (http://www.dltk-holidays.com/china/easy_chinese_mooncakes.htm) Or, bring in some to share with the class.
6. Possibly show a video of a Chinese Moon Festival celebration while eating the moon pies.
If you have any other ideas, please comment below!