A New Year's Reunion: A Chinese Story
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A New Year's Reunion: A Chinese Story

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011!

Maomao's dad works many miles away, but he is coming home for New Year!

Little Maomao's father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching t...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 31st 2011 by Candlewick Press
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A young girl, Maomao, is excited for the Chinese New Year because for those few days her Papa returns home from working far away. Maomao experiences a whirlwind of emotions. She is a little bit frightened because her Papa looks like a stranger at first. She is content sleeping between her parents at night while the firecrackers can be heard from outside. She is excited to find the fortune coin! And she is upset after a day out in the snow. Throughout all those different events and emotions, Maom...more
Aug 01, 2012 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amy by: Cheryl in CC NV
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
This was a bittersweet story, and my niece, nephew, and I all appreciated it. I think that the children identified with the little girl in this book, because they don't get to see their father as often as they'd like. They were able to understand what it feels like to miss Dad, see him, and then have to go back to missing him again. I think it was a challenging story for them to hear, but one that stirred their emotions a bit, which is important. I think that it's good for children to learn that...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
In some parts of China, parents may work far away and only get to see their children once a year. In this story, a little girl describes how she and her mother get ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the return, for a short time, of her father. New Year's customs are described as well as the girl's relationship with her father. I loved the bright illustrations, and especially how cute the little girl looks. For other books about absentee parents, see Jacqueline Woodson's Coming Home Soon...more
Grace Bradley
This is a story of a migrant worker and his family traditions celebrating Chinese New Year's. A young Chinese girl wakes up the day before Chinese New Year's waiting outside her door for her father to arrive from working hundreds of miles away all year long. He only returns to his family from working once a year, to celebrate the holiday. As a family they partake in Chinese traditions such as making sticky rice balls. Inside one of the sticky rice bowls is a gold coin. Whoever finds the gold coi...more
Danielle Leider
Maomao’s father is a working very hard at a faraway job and he only come home once a year, on Chinese New Year. At first, she does not recognize who her father is, but after some time thing begin to return to normal. The family comes together to participate in all the Chinese New Year traditions like making sticky rice and setting off fireworks. Each year they have the tradition of hiding a coin in one of the balls of sticky rice and whoever finds has good luck. Maomao finds and decides to give...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Finally got a chance to read it; will go back to the Children's Books group to report that it was worth the wait. Randie's review says it best - rich, complex, authentic, both heart-warming and heart-rending.
SJ Cheng
This is the story of Chinese New Year, as experienced by Maomao, a young girl whose father works far away, and can travel home only for the important holiday. When the father arrives home, the family of three make sticky rice balls (yuanxiao), fix up the house, and watch a dragon dance weave its way through town.

The illustrations are touching, the bright colors of the Chinese New Year celebration and child’s clothing contrast with dark colors of the father’s clothing. I love this book because i...more
Ouch...Lots of emotions packed into this one.
Mary Ann
Children will get a sense of how important New Year’s celebrations are in China today in the lovely new book A New Year’s Reunion, by Yu Li-Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang (Candlewick; 40 pp.; $15.99; ages 4 - 8). Maomao and her mother eagerly await for her father to come home. “Papa builds big houses in faraway places, / He comes home only once each year, / during Chinese New Year.” Papa’s time with his family is filled with sweet, tender moments: making sticky rice balls with Maomao and...more
The New Year is a particularly happy time for Maomao because her father gets to come home for Chinese New Year. His job is far away, and he can only visit once a year. [A page at the end of the book claims that more than 100 million workers in China work hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, making it difficult to visit very often.] While he is at home, the family spends time together, doing simple things such as forming sticky balls of rice, eating, talking, and getting a haircut. They...more
Maomao’s papa works far away from home and only comes home for the Chinese New Year, January 23. Maomao hardly recognizes her papa when he arrives, but before no time the family is making rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance the streets. Although Maomao loves doing everyday things such as cuddling and fixing things around the house, this soon comes to end because her papa has to leave again for work. This is a great text to read on January 23- the Chinese New Year...more
This is a beautifully illustrated story about a family in which one member is a migrant worker. The father is gone all but one holiday a year. This would be a great book to use when discussing family or hardships. This brings light to the issues that migrant workers and their families face. This is an age-appropriate way to initiate a conversation about migrant workers and their families.
What a powerful story about a family's once-a-year reunion at Lunar New Year. Maomao's father is a migrant worker and during his visit home he shares in celebratory gestures of the new year such as getting his haircut, making sticky rice balls, and decorating with red poetry banners.

Text is sparsely poetic in that it makes effective use of the pauses between thoughts/emotions/events. Gouache illustrations are moving, especially the wordless two page spreads. This is a must read about Chinese cu...more
Michelle Kim
This narrative is about a young girl, Maomao. Her father works far away and only comes home for Chinese New Years. They celebrate 3 days together and eat traditional meals and see the dragon dance in the street. After the 3 days the father has to leave again. As a teacher I could use this book in many ways. For one I can use this to inform the students of some of the customs that go with Chinese New Years. Also I can help the students understand and practice empathy. Another way I could use this...more
Jeffrey Lin
Previous reviewers have done excellent jobs but I just want to add that I work with people described in this book. They leave their young child (singular in most cases in China with the one-child-policy) at home with the grandparents to raise and move to the coastal cities for better economic opportunities. They do this so they can provide for their family at home and maybe a better future for their child. Often times the parents get to see their child perhaps once a year sometimes longer. I hav...more
Deanna Colburn
Maomao’s father works very faraway and only comes home once a year for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao does not recognize her father but after a while things return back to normal and the family is happy to be together. The family does all of their Chinese New Year traditions such as making sticky rice balls and listening to firecrackers. One tradition that Maomao’s family does is they hide a coin in one of the sticky rice balls, whoever finds it will have good luck for the next year. Maomao f...more
"A New Year's Reunion" by Yu Li Qiong shows insight to young children about the Chinese New Year as well as the joy and sorrow that accompanies reunions. MaoMao narrates this book as she tells how her Papa works in a far away place and comes home every year just for the New Years festivities. After she warms up to him, MaoMao is given a special coin to bring good luck. When the holiday is over, Papa has to leave once again to go back to work. The illustrations in this book do a wonderful job of...more
This book was supposed to celebrate family and the special traditions, but it actually had a little bit of the opposite effect on me. It was a little depressing to read about families that only get to be with each other once a year and while I did appreciate learning more about another culture, it was bleak in comparison. I can't imagine what that would be like - but in some ways, it was good that this book brought it up, because I hadn't been aware of it before. It was interesting to see the pe...more
Kelli Bratten
A New Year's Reunion is a sweet story about a family where one parent isn't always around because of work and their special time of year is the Chinese New Year. Many kids will be able to relate to the main character and her kind of family. They can also talk about different traditions they have in their home. It also gives the opportunity to talk about other cultures, particularly Chinese new year which can produce many fun activities for them to do like making their own chinese lanterns, flowe...more
This is a sweet story about celebrating New Year’s in a family, especially because this is the only time in the year they get to see the father, who builds houses far away. The full-color illustrations are gorgeous, with lots of red in them (Chinese New Year red), and some loving family scenes. There is a thread about a fortune coin hidden in a rice ball and the story includes other traditions like the dragon parading through the streets. The ending is a bit sad to see the father go away again,...more
Allison Parker
For three days during the Chinese New Year Celebration, a young girl and her mother are reunited with her father. Together, they enjoy the special festivities of the holiday as well as simple everyday activities - running errands, housework - that seem special with daddy home. These illustrations somehow feel both quaint and sophisticated, perhaps reflecting the traditional and contemporary qualities of modern Chinese life. I didn't think that gouache paintings, with such broad strokes and satur...more
Jan Rue
Jun 11, 2013 Jan Rue added it
Shelves: ed-689-books
Written by Yu Li Qiong (2007) & illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang Illustrations done in gouache. It is a picture book which tells the story of a young Chinese girl who only sees her father once a year at New Year's. The father builds houses in another place. The after pages explain that this is a normal occurrence for migrant workers in China - over 100 million - who are only home once a year, for just a few days. I was surprised to read this and thought at first it was just a crazy story but n...more
Apr 17, 2012 Victoria added it
Shelves: text-set
A New Year's Reunion portrays the traditions and customs of a young Chinese girl, Maomao, and her family during Chinese New Year. This holiday is an especially important one for her family because it is the only time in the year that her father comes home, since he works very far away. Readers are introduced to traditional chinese foods such as sticky rice balls, and symbols of Chinese New Year, such as the dragon dancing through their town. This book allows children to learn about the Chinese c...more
Anna Coats
Little Maomao s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long she is happily spending time and bonding with her father. Best of all, Maomao finds the lucky coin! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This touching and vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award in 2009, is a wonderful tale for children with distant relatives and shows how...more
Gwen the Librarian
This picturebook depicts Chinese New Year in China. Papa is a migrant worker who can only return home once a year, for the holiday. The book mixes holiday traditions with the real emotions of seeing an unfamiliar loved one and then saying goodbye again. Zhu Cheng-Liang's beautiful paintings are simple and masterful, conveying so much in very child-friendly images. There is one, when they are packing Papa up again, where the angle of their heads conveys their sadness perfectly. A beautiful book.
In this book, Maomao waits for her father to come home for Chinese New Year. The book tells the story of all that happens during the holiday, including Maomao's finding the good-luck coin in a sticky rice ball.
I enjoyed the book, though the ending was somewhat sad. This book would be good for children to learn about some of the events that might go on during Chinese New Year.

Yu, Li, and Cheng Zhu. A New Year's reunion. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 20112007. Print.
Karina Espinales
It is a great book to use when the students are learning about the holidays. The students can relate because sometimes the mother or the father has to go out of town. It has great illustrations like the dragon for the New Year’s celebration, rice balls, and the red money envelope. It shows that usually the Chinese culture only has one child and that the family is very united. Students will learn a lot about the Chinese culture and one of its special holidays.
Lin Lin
This is the most recent published book about the Chinese New Year, one of the few which really describe the family union and celebration at the Spring Festival at the homes of over 100 million migrant workers in China. Many of them only are able to be with their families and children for a few days in a whole year since they usually work in faraway places. The book is masterfully illustrated with so many meaningful cultural symbols and traditions.

Little Maomao's father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again.
Moamoa is excited it is almost the Chinese New Year, the only time her daddy gets to come home from far away. This is a sweet story about a little girl and her daddy, and it is a book that highlight some of the traditions of the chinese new year.

This book would be cute to use as a read aloud in January around the time of the Chinese New Year. I think it is also a good way to promote multiculturalism in the classroom.
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Yu Li Qiong was born in Anqing in the People's Republic of China in 1980. She holds a BA in literature from Nanjing University and an MA in dramatic art. Yu Li Qiong lives in China.
More about Yu Li-Qiong...

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