Review: Playing With Lanterns

If you’re still looking for a picture book to celebrate Chinese New Year this week, I have the perfect pick for you! Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage, Zen Chengliang, and Helen Wang is a beautiful picture book that follows a group of friends as they celebrate Chinese New Year in the Shaanzi province of northwest China.

Title: Playing With Lanterns
Author: Wang Yage
Illustrator: Zhu Chengliang
Translator: Helen Wang
Published: January 11, 2022
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl named Zhao Di through the fifteen day celebration, Playing With Lanterns shares the joy and excitement of Chinese New Year with young readers. From the snow covered New Year’s Day to smashing their lanterns on the last evening, Zhao Di and her friends take part in the traditions of the holiday, perfectly capturing the nostalgia of childhood (even for those of us who didn’t grow up celebrating Chinese New Year).

The illustrations are absolutely delightful! I especially appreciated the contrast of bright colors against the snowy white backdrop.

Playing With Lanterns is complete with a helpful author’s note that gives further detail around the traditions of the lanterns, perfect for answering a curious young reader’s questions.

You can pick up your own copy of Playing With Lanterns wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you to Amazon Crossing and Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy of this wonderful book with me!

About The Author:

Wang Yage was born in Shaanxi, a central and historical province of China, where the custom of playing with lanterns was once a popular Chinese New Year tradition. A doctor of classical Chinese literature, she teaches at the University of Tibet and also writes for children. Playing with Lanterns is her first picture book. First published in China, the book made the prestigious White Ravens international book list.

About The Illustrator:

Zhu Chengliang is an award-winning Chinese illustrator. Born in Shanghai and raised in Suzhou, he studied at the Department of Fine Art, Nanjing University, and has worked as an author, illustrator, editor, and designer. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016, which is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. His books have been named to the IBBY Honour List, received first prize in the Feng Zikai Children’s Book Award contest, been named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books by the New York Times, and been named Runner Up in the UNESCO Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations.

About The Translator:

Helen Wang is a writer and translator from the UK. In 2017 she was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor as part of the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards for her work in bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-speaking audiences. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels, including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.

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