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Red Kite, Blue Kite

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews

When Tai Shan and his father, Baba, fly kites from their roof and look down at the crowded city streets below, they feel free, like the kites. Baba loves telling Tai Shan stories while the kites--one red, and one blue--rise, dip, and soar together. Then, a bad time comes. People wearing red armbands shut down the schools, smash store signs, and search houses. Baba is sent
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
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Alex Baugh
Mar 15, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Historical fiction is one of my very favorite genres, especially when it is based on real events or people. Lately, I have been reading a lot of historical fiction picture books and I have been loving them. Not only do they introduce young children to important events or people in history, they add so much to older kids' understanding to what they may be learning/reviewing in school. Picture, especially in the hands of a skillful illustrator, can provide a detailed visualization, in the same way ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Angie added it
Shelves: multicultural
Title: Red Kite, Blue Kite
1. Reflection: Text to Text, Text to Self, Text to World connection with the book.

Text to World connection: This book is about a young boy, Tai Shan, and his father who fly kites together during China’s Cultural Revolution. Tai Shan’s father, Baba, is sent to a labor camp and can only visit on Sunday’s at first and then not at all. When he is unable to visit, Baba tells Tai Shan to fly his red kite in the morning and he will fly his blue kite at sunset so they c
L13_F Sandra
Oct 22, 2013 L13_F Sandra rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
This story is set in China during the Chinese Revolution from 1966 to 1977. Tai Shan and his father, Baba, love to stand on the roof of their home and fly kites because it makes them feel free. They are alone since Tai Shan's mother died after he was born. One day some men in red armbands come to their town. They shut down schools and destroy some of the town. They also take a lot of the men to labor camps including Tai Shan's father. Tai Shan has to go live with a woman named Granny Wang near t ...more
Apr 17, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
“Red Kite, Blue Kite” by Ji-li Jiang is a powerful story between a boy and his father. It shows the strong connection one can make with a parent when growing up. Something as simple as flying a kite keeps a son and father connected. I believe this would be a wonderful book to incorporate into children’s reading. That is because it allows students to have a perspective of a different culture. Not only does it teach about Chinese history and culture, it can relate to students who grow up in a sing ...more
Red Kite, Blue Kite is based on a true story: that of the author's family friend who is the little boy of Tai Shan. It is truly a testament to the beauty and resilience of the human spirit, especially when you realize that this really did happen. Greg Ruth's illustrations further add to the emotion of the story, picking up human expression and feeling where words fail. This could be the first step of a reading ladder toward books like Red Scarf Girl also by Ji-Li Liang and Revolution is Not a Di ...more
Edward Sullivan
Mar 26, 2013 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, china
A poignant story about a father and son separated during China's Cultural Revolution.
Samantha Robbins
Nov 06, 2016 Samantha Robbins rated it really liked it
Tai Shan, a child who grows up in China during 1960's, likes to fly a kite with his father. He flies a red kite, while his father flies a blue one. They fly their kites together whenever they can, getting feelings of freedom as Baba, Tai Shan's father, tells him stories. Then one day, people wearing red armbands- Japanese soldiers invading China- come to their town and ransack it. They then take Baba to a labor camp, leaving Tai Shan to live with his grandmother. The two however still fly their ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing
Red Kite, Blue Kite was selected as it fits the historical fiction theme, plus, it has the elements of firm family bonds and sacrifice during a time of war. The beauty is that, once again, the human longings are so familiar; yet, the war and country are different.

Remind the students we are still reading historical fiction with the elements of hardships of war, family bonds, sacrifice of others, and changes or transitions that occur as a result of war.


Show the students the kite you brou
Plot Summary and Personal Response: Tai Shan and his father use to get away from the busy city in China. They use to fly kites and Tai Shan’s dad use to tell him stories. They loved their time together. However, when the Cultural Revolution came, people wearing arm bands use to search people’s houses, shut down schools, and ruin businesses. One day Tai Shane’s father was taken away to a labor camp. Tai Shan could not cope very well with the idea that his father was not going to be around. So, hi ...more
Dawn Zachary
Jiang, J. (2013). Red Kite Blue Kite. New York: Hyperion.

Reflection: This book made me think of all the other books I have read about the repression of people who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe or are innocent victims of powerful bullies. Of course I thought about my first literary introduction to the Holocaust, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Having read the book as a young girl, I had nothing but sympathy for Anne’s sad life which was cut brutally short. The connecti
Whitney Taylor
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth, is a story of a little boy, Tai Shan and his father, Baba and their love for flying kites. Jiang and Ruth tell the story of the boy's everyday life through beautiful illustrations as he yearns for his father's return.

Text-to-Self: This book reminds me of myself just when I think about the times I used to fly my kite on beautiful days after church on Sundays. Of course the wind has to be just perfect to fly a kite so it never lasted
Aug 11, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth, is a story of a little boy, Tai Shan and his father, Baba and their love for flying kites. Jiang and Ruth tell the story of the boy's everyday life through beautiful illustrations as he yearns for his father's return.

Text-to-Self: Ji-li Jiang's story of Tai Shan reminded me of the countless refugee stories I have been told by my parents and relatives. The experiences of the boy in the story were quite similar to the ones my family
Aug 06, 2013 Reshamad rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children K-5
Shelves: childrens-books
I first came across this book at Non Fiction Monday event hosted by a group of children's literature bloggers. Perogyo's lovely blog featured "Red Kite Blue Kite" as a celebration for Father's Day this year. And since reading her review on the book, I have been waiting to read it myself.

"Red Kite, Blue Kite" is a story of a little boy, Tai Shan and his father, Baba and their love for flying kites. Their Red and Blue kites bob up and down, backwards and forwards. From the rooftops, the city looks
May 04, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
Red Kite, Blue Kite is a lovely story that takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China. Tai Shan loves to fly kites from the rooftop with his father, Baba. Tai Shan’s is red and Baba’s is blue.

One day, Baba is arrested: "Then, a bad time comes. My school is shut down. Soon all the schools are shut down. People wearing red armbands smash store signs and search houses. Men and women are sent to labor camps to work. Baba is one of them.”

Fortunately, Baba’s camp is not too far away, and for
Dec 03, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas Ethridge
Baba and his son Tai Shan are on their own and always go on top of their rook to fly kites. While flying kites, Baba tells stories and they watch the people below. The Cultural Revolution takes its toll in China and the schools are shut down. Baba is taken to work in a labor camp. Tai Shan is sent to live with his Granny Wang in another village. We see the relationship between Tai Shan and Baba become strained as Baba is sent farther away and they cannot see each other anymore. But with the use ...more
Target Audience: Primary
Genre: Red Kite, Blue Kite is a historical fiction book because it takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China, but Tai Shan and his family are made up characters.

Text to text: This book reminds me of a book called Where is Jesus by Alan Parry. In Red Kite, Blue Kite, Tai Shan's father is taken to a concentration camp in a different town and he can no longer spend time with him. They come up with an idea to fly their kites everyday at the same time so that they
May 01, 2015 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Multicultural Picture Book #2
This book was really beautiful and touching. The illustrations were wonderful and the words of the story flowed almost like poetry!
Text to Self: I relate to this book in that after my dad passed away, I would find comfort in doing things that we used to do together. In the book Baba and Tai Shan fly their kites together and that is how they connect with each other. My dad and I used to do a lot of cooking together, so now whenever I cook I can remember him, I rememb
Jenifer Ashby
Apr 30, 2014 Jenifer Ashby rated it really liked it
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiange is a great book that I would recommend to anyone. It is about a boy and father who find their own way of communicating even when they are separated. In the beginning they feel free and they can do anything and find a common hobby with flying kites from their roof. It is taken away when a bad time comes and then use flying kites as a way of communicating.

Text-Self: When reading this book when the boy and father were free at the beginning and able to fly kites f
Oct 16, 2013 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Book Summary: A young boy Tai Shan and his father Baba enjoy spending time together,daily, flying their kites. During the cultural revolution in China, which was a very dark time, Baba is sent to a work camp and Tai Shan is sent to live with Granny Wang. For a while Baba is able to visit his son and fly kites on weekends, but he is sent to another camp and no communication exits. In the end, Baba returns to his son and they are free to fly their kites once again.

Focus:: Characterization - Descr
Alex Lehman
Dec 04, 2016 Alex Lehman rated it really liked it
"Red Kite, Blue Kite" is inspired by the dark times of the Cultural Revolution in China. Tai Shan and his father, Baba, fly kites from their roof and look down at their city below. When they fly their kites they feel free. Baba loves telling his son stories while the kites, one red, and one blue, fly in the sky together. When bad times come, people with red armbands shut down the schools, smash store signs, and raid houses. Baba is sent away, so Tai Shan must go and live with his Granny Wang. Ev ...more
Tai Shan and his father, Baba, live in China during the Chinese Revolution. Tai Shan loves his father and the time that they spend together, particularly when they fly kites together. When Baba is taken away to a work camp for having different beliefs than Mao Zedong, he tells Tai Shan to fly his red kite. Baba agrees to fly his blue kite too. In this way, they can still talk to one another even though they are apart. When Baba is taken to a work camp even further away, Tai Shan flies both kites ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Full review at

Red Kite, Blue Kite takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China, when chaos reigned and families were broken up when members were sent to labour camps or labour farms or were just disappeared. Tai Shan is separated from his father, but at first it is so close that he can walk home on Sundays to share their favourite activity of kite-flying. But when that isn't possible, Tai Shan flies the kites for both of them so that they would loo
Sarah Wheeland
Apr 21, 2014 Sarah Wheeland rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Red Kite, Blue Kite

Text to Text Connection: This story is a wonderful parallel to one of stories we are reading right now in our language arts book called “Happy Birthday Mr. Kang.” The story is about an old grandfather and his grandson and is a contrast between the traditions of old China and the ways of the American Chinese. The grandfather talks about missing his home and his culture but loving the freedom and safety of America. The book “Red Kite, Blue Kite” is an explanation of why so many
Madelyn Adams
Feb 26, 2015 Madelyn Adams rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction:
Red Kite, Blue Kite has a more serious tone to it, however I enjoyed the reoccurring theme of hope throughout the book. The story was inspired by the dark time of the Cultural Revolution in China, which gave me more insight on that trivial experience. It also showed a new perspective on a type of communication.

I would personally use this book in to read aloud to students in 2nd and 3rd grade. It has great imagery and personification for children, the author wrote, “The
Jun 10, 2014 Samantha added it
Shelves: multicultural
Text-to-text: This book reminds me somewhat of the Book Thief. In the Book Thief, the main character is taken away from her family because he mom does not agree with the Nazi's and is taken away. Liesel, like Tai Shan, is placed in a strange home where she has to be separated from her family.

Remembering: Why did Tai Shan and his father fly kites throughout the book?
Understanding: Described what happened before Baba came back to see Tai Shan one more time before he was sent to a different camp.
Anna Kozlowska
Oct 22, 2015 Anna Kozlowska rated it really liked it
This is one of my multicultural pieces. Told from an insider’s perspective, “Red Kite, Blue Kite” beautifully illustrates the agony of a young boy Tai Shan who is hopeful that his Baba will return from the labor camp he was unlawfully sent to. The book has striking illustrations by Greg Ruth that seem to emerge from the page. The illustrations present some contrary story elements to what is being told through the text. This book serves as a great read aloud, but it may need a deeper research to ...more
Wendy Fontenot
Oct 14, 2013 Wendy Fontenot rated it really liked it
Book Title: Red Kite Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang

Short description of the book: Teaches about the Cultural Revolution in China through the story of how Tia Shan and his father are able to communicate through flying their kites while the father is sent away.

FOCUS: Narrative features I would use in a mini-lesson

1) This is a great reference for how narratives can be real experiences or events.

2) Ji-li Jiang does a great job of sequencing events as he effectively sets out a problem during this time per
Sari Zweig
Dec 06, 2014 Sari Zweig rated it really liked it
This is a Historical fiction picture book. Red Kite, Blue Kite is a picture book that begins just before takes the Cultural Revolution in China that occurred during the 1960s. Tai Shan and his Baba (father) like to fly their kites from the rooftop of their home. Tai Shan's kite is red, his father's is blue. Kite flying is a special time for Tai Shan, because on the roof they feel free and Baba tells lots of stories.

Greg Ruth's illustrations further add to the emotion of the story, picking up hum
Grade Level:1-3

This book is set during the cultural revolution in china. It is about a boy and his father who love to fly kites together. Then his dad goes to a labor camp and he can't see him for a while. In the end, they are reunited once again with their red and blue kites.

I really like this book. It really shows the struggles when a parent leaves for the first time. It also gives you that heartwarming feeling of what it means to love your family.

One way this can be used in the classroom is t
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Coming from Shanghai, China in 1984, where she used to be a school science teacher, author Ji-li Jiang studied in Hawaii then worked as a corporate Operations Analyst and Budgeting Director for several years. In 1992, she co-founded East West Exchange, Inc, a company created to promote and facilitate cultural and business exchanges between China and the western countries.

Ji-li’s first book, Red Sc
More about Ji-li Jiang...

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