For many years, Kate Waters has built an impressive career as a writer about history. Specifically, she writes books that captures the traditions and story behind many historical events. Much of her stories feature pilgrim times, but there have been many others about Colonial times as well, like in Sarah Morton’s Day and Mary Geddy’s Day. The former librarian’s love of traveling and different cultures is apparent in her story called Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year.
This lovely tale features a 6-year-old boy named Ernie Wan who lives in New York City. What an exciting place to be when you’re a kid! Even more exciting is the annual New Year’s celebration for his Chinese-American family. This spirited event is steeped in tradition as the young boy is finding out. In this story, Ernie has the honor of helping to perform The Lion Dance, which is the main aspect of the community’s celebration and a big draw for tourists visiting New York City.
Ernie’s father choreographs the dance and Ernie himself will be the dancer inside the lion’s head. The story also details the many traditions held in high regard by the Chinese people, such as decorating the home with flowers, purposely wearing new clothes, sweeping away the bad spirits, and sitting down to a big family dinner.
These traditions are explained for young readers in an easy to read way. Kate Waters explains the ways in which Chinese people honor this important holiday. The book also includes the 12-year Chinese zodiac and has a horoscope. Its vibrant color only adds to the well-told history lesson for young readers. And the color photographs and illustrations by Martha Cooper make this an exuberant book that will entice even those kids who want nothing to do with learning outside of a classroom.
The 32-page children’s book will make readers between 3 and 8 want to join in their own New Year celebration. The details written by Kate and the photographs and illustrations that accompany her text make this a great start to a New Year tradition for people of all cultures.