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Red Kite, Blue Kite
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Red Kite, Blue Kite

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  176 ratings  ·  66 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
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
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
L13_F Sandra
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
Madelyn Adams
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
Jenifer Ashby
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
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
Jennifer Nguyen
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
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.
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
Sarah Wheeland
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
Sari Zweig
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
Amanda Coppedge
Beautiful, touching story about the Cultural Revolution in China, from a young child's perspective. Because of the lengthy text and young age of the main character, recommended most for one-on-one sharing with a child about ages 4-6. Could be a read-aloud for small groups who are okay with longer text. Pair with Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me to discuss dealing with the absence of a beloved father.
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2013 Reshamad rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Oct 01, 2014 Kim added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This story would be for 1st to 3rd grades. It is based on a story during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 in China. The story tells how a father and son fly kites, "we are above but still under, neither here nor there. We are free, like the kites," and how the kites become a way for them to communicate when the father is taken away to the labor camps.

I would ask students what is the significance of the red and blue kites? Then have them draw a picture of what their own family does toget
Sandy Brehl
The intensity and heart of this story are matched by the illustrations and language, which portray a harsh reality but also evoke a gentle and loving relationship. The shadowy/foggy background images reveal the terrain, both political and physical, while not distracting from the central story. This works well with very young readers as a family story of hope and happiness and also with older readers as a personal story from an often remotely portrayed time and place in history.
J.D. Corrigan
A beautifully written and illustrated children's book about a father and son who must endear being separated during the terrible Cultural Revolution that took place in China between 1966 and 1976. Ji-li eloquently shares with the reader the everlasting bond that exists between a father and a son and shows that love wins out over evil. I would highly recommend this book. ~The Librarian Uncle
Kristine Pratt
A haunting and poignant story about growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution put into words that a child can understand. Perhaps a little frightening for a child, but at the same time reassuring for those who have fathers who might be far away for a time. I loved this book and think that for such a difficult topic this was presented very very well.
Will Thomas
This book about made me want to cry. It is the story of a little boy who is separated from his dad in the Chinese revolution. Him and his dad both fly kites to signal each other. The illustrations are really moving. They are soft illustrations but they really pull the reader into the story.
Amy Gonzalez
Jun 10, 2013 Amy Gonzalez rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ELA & Social Studies teachers looking for easy whole class texts to explore a historical event
In a brief note at the end, the reader is told that Ji-Li Jiang wrote this story after hearing about a family friend tell of his experiences flying kites as a way to feel connected to his father, while they were separated as a result ofThe Cultural Revolution in China. Told through the point of view of the young protagonist, Tai Shan, Jiang’s book, Red Kite, Blue Kite, uses the symbolism of kites and moody illustrations to reveal how imagination and love can inspire hope in people to rise above ...more
Clare and Tammy - Teachers for Teachers
What a powerful story about family and love. The kites are important symbols that children can see stand for so much more. Although this story is fictional, it gives readers an understanding of the terrible times many Chinese people faced during the Cultural Revolution.
Wendy Fontenot
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
Age: K-2nd grade
Culture: China
History: Chinese Revolution

Tai Shan and his father, Baba, love to fly kites. When China's cultural revolution spreads throughout the land, Baba is taken away to a labor camp because the revolutionaries don't agree with his ideas. Tai Shan and Baba then communicate with their kites, Tai Shan on top of a hill and Baba in the camp. One day, Baba's kite does not appear. When it does not appear the next day, Tai Shan begins to worry for his father.

I love the motif of the
This was a touching story about a boy and his dad who are separated during the Chinese revolution when his dad is sent to a work camp. They fly kites to let each other know they are ok.
Captures the emotion and point of view of a young boy as his father is taken away by Chinese Communists during the Cultural Revolution. It is a story of love and hope as they communicate by flying kites while they wait to be reunited.
This story is written for young children, but the literary images match the beautiful artwork so that anyone who loves a good story will be pleasantly fulfiiled by this story!
This book reminded me of the book the Kite Runner and it is a sad book with a happy ending. I enjoyed this book and I felt emotionally connected to this book.
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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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