Book Review of These are the 24 Solar Terms: China’s Ancient Guide to the Natural World
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Gao Chunxiang and Shao Min
Illustrated by Xu Mingzhen and Li Jing
Ages 5-10 | 123 Pages
Publisher: Long River Press | ISBN-13: 9781592652495
What to Expect: Nature, Farming, Chinese Cultural Heritage, Family, Tradition
These Are the 24 Solar Terms is a fusion of non-fiction and storytelling that transports readers to the rich natural and cultural environment of China. Developed by farmers in ancient China, the 24 solar terms (recognized by UNESCO) mark the seasons, weather, and natural variations throughout the year. This geographical science-based picture book, presented in four parts (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) and containing proverbs, poetry, and activities, vividly delves into the ancient wisdom of the 24 solar terms while immersing the reader in the fun learning experience. At times it reminds the reader of the classic books of Virginia Lee Burton, visually combining storytelling with an emphasis on science and nature.
When Yaya turns six, her family starts teaching her about the solar terms. From the 72 hou (five-day period) to the best time to start sowing the new year’s crops, there is so much to learn! Visiting her family in Shandong Province, Yaya learns how the cycle of the year turns, gaining an appreciation of how the changes in nature guide the farmers through the important work of growing crops. Her grandpa helps her understand why the farmers keep working through the Spring rains, why people often eat pears when the insects wake up for the year, and why the beginning of summer is when farmers start taking after-lunch naps. Yaya loves learning about the 24 solar terms!
As readers follow Yaya’s experiences, they are invited not only to learn about the traditions and natural cycles around them but also to stop and notice the natural world in all its beauty and movement. Beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations bring every scene to life, and there is space throughout the book for readers to record the temperatures in their own locations, which invites interactivity rather than passive reading. This volume is packed with detailed knowledge about the earth, agriculture, traditions and customs, and industry, making it a fascinating, as well as instructive, read.
These Are the 24 Solar Terms is a fantastic way to engage young readers in learning about the world around them.
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About Gao Chunxiang
Gao Chunxiang, M.A. in education; lecturer; currently director of Zhongke Zhicheng Picturebook House in Geo-science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); developer of geographical science picturebooks; consultant for syllabus and coursebook R&D. She has planned and authored the science picturebook These Are the 24 Solar Terms, first of its kind in China, offered a non-profit public lecture on 24 Solar Terms and initiated syllabus research and discussion in which over 100 schools participated nationwide.
She has received honors and awards of “Wenjin Book Award” granted by the National Library of China, “Most Influential Picturebook House Director of 2015,” “Academic Star of Suzhou” and “National Book Lovers’ Family.” Her series has been introduced to countries and regions including Ukraine, Albania, and Romania.
About Dr. Qi Deli
Dr. Qi Deli, science consultant of These Are the 24 Solar Terms. He is a researcher at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); director of The Geographical Society of China (GSC); commissioner of Water Resources Commission, China Society of Natural Resources (CSNR), and member of China Association for Scientific Expedition.
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