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Shanghai Messenger

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  39 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
"You are my messenger. Look everything. Remember." Grandma Nai Nai tells eleven-year-old Xiao Mei as the girl heads off to Shanghai, China, to visit their extended family. Xiao Mei is both excited and apprehensive. She will meet many new relatives, but will they accept her, a girl from America who is only half Chinese?

Xiao Mei is eagerly embraced by her aunties, uncles and
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Lee & Low Books (first published August 11th 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 66)
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Shu Xiao
Feb 19, 2015 Shu Xiao rated it liked it
This is a story about a 11-year-old half-Chinese half-American girl's first trip to Shanghai. Serving as her grandma's messenger, she was reluctant at first. But with the help of her loving relatives, she gradually got accustomed to the life in China. I like that the Chinese lifestyle reflected in the book is mostly true. It's not one of those books that try to overwhelm you with a strong sense of national pride. There is no drama in the book. It's just daily life yet you can sense the subtle em ...more
Mercedes Enciso
Dec 14, 2014 Mercedes Enciso rated it liked it
Shelves: 307
Cheng, A., & Young, E. (2005). Shanghai messenger. New York: Lee & Low Books.

Shanghai Messenger is a great cultural book about a girl named Xiao Mei. Xiao Mei is half American and half Chinese. Xiao Mei is frightened when she is presented with the choice of going to Shanghai to visit her aunts, uncles, and cousins. At first, Xiao Mei is not too sure about going because she does not want to go by herself. She is also not prepared to be homesick. But most importantly, Xiao Mei is not too s
Keani Meier
Xiao Mei an eleven year old girl gets invited to visit her extended family in Shanghai China. Xiao Mei is from Ohio and is half Chinese and half American. At first she is too scared to go, but as she learns more about her family from her grandmother she decides to go. When she is in Shanghai she gets a warm welcome from her extended family and gets to learn everything about her family. She learns how to make Chinese food, meets her ancestors, goes to school and learns to love china. But soon s
Elizabeth Byers
This book was about a young 11 year old chinese girl who lives in America with her Mother, Father, Brother, and Grandmother. Her name was Xiao Mei and now that she was old enough, she would soon be taking her first trip to China to meet the rest of her family. Although Xiao Mei is eager to please her family by embarking on this journey, she doesn’t really want to go. She doesn’t want to leave her family in America to see people she’s never met before, and she doesn’t want to go by herself, but s ...more
This story is about a half Chinese girl who goes to China to visit her extended family. It details the many culture differences she encounters and her gradual change of feelings about her Chinese ancestry. I felt an affinity to Xiao Mei, being bi-racial as well, and was entranced by her story. The poem-like sections make it an easy read to get through and might lend itself well to being read out loud in a classroom with students. A great book to read about Chinese culture, ancestry, and the idea ...more
Jul 18, 2010 Lindsey rated it it was ok
Shelves: asian-american

Format:Picture book
Age level: Upper elementary
Protagonist: Xiao Mei, an eleven-year-old girl

Shanghai Messenger is about Xiao Mei, an eleven-year-old girl born in America. Her family, however, is from China. This story tells about Xiao Mei's first trip to China, where she gets to meet her relatives.

I was not a big fan of this book, even though the story itself was fine. There was a lot of information shared about Chinese cultu
Jul 02, 2010 Jessi rated it really liked it
This book is very authentic in its portrayal of the experiences of a Chinese-American girl. May learns more about her Chinese heritage when she visits her Auntie in Shanghai. She moves from being fearful and reluctant to participate in the experience to feeling like she is leaving a part of herself in China. I have several close Asian friends who have described similar emotions to me, so I know that the authentic appeal is there. Even more interesting is the fact that the author herself is not C ...more
Feb 11, 2010 Audrey rated it it was amazing
I knew immediately that I was going to love this book. The title and the gorgeously illustrated cover were enough to tell me that. I was not disappointed. The illustrations remained beautiful and touching throughout the whole of the book, and the story itself was absolutely lovely.

It's an unfortunate fact that, even today, life can be very difficult for children of mixed American families. Often times, these children feel as if they have enough of each culture so as not to fit in anywhere. In A
After finishing this gem of a book I am anxious to share it with young readers as a read-aloud selection. The story revolves around a young girl living in Ohio whose mother is Chinese and whose father is not. She has just turned eleven and has been invited to travel to Shanghai to visit the rest of her mother and grandmother’s family in China.

Told in free verse with the characteristically engaging illustrations of Ed Young, Xiao Mei is not sure she wants to travel such a long distance by herself
Dec 01, 2013 Nyna rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Shanghai Messenger is a rather confusing story. I understand that it is broken into bits, but they do not seem to flow together. There is no passage of time and no real problem or conflict that lasts more than an instant. I do, however, like that there the pictures help the reader understand what is going on and how May is seeing things. It is difficult for someone not of May’s background to picture things from her point of view. It is also helpful because there aren’t many descriptions of peopl ...more
Tonia Sandersfeld
Feb 01, 2016 Tonia Sandersfeld rated it really liked it
Written in verse and framed by the red pattern of lines that you see on the cover, the book tells the story of a young American born girl who goes to visit her family in China. Her father is not Chinese, so she worries that she will feel like she doesn't belong in China, but admits that sometimes she already feels that way in Ohio too. Ed Young's soft illustrations add to the beauty of the story.
A Chinese American girl journeys to Shaghai, China to meet her extended family. Part travel journal, part family reunion this tale is told in free verse poetry combined with illustrations rendered in pastel, ink, dye, charcoal, and Conte crayon.

This would be an interesting book for discussion with upper elementary school students, possibly for use in a study of the country China. I liked the changes the main character underwent from apprehension to homesick to missing her relatives back in Chin
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Eleven-year-old Xiao Mei is sent to Shanghai for a couple of weeks to meet her Chinese relatives. I wanted to like this more, as I generally enjoy Andrea Cheng's writing. However, I felt this novel in verse should have been much longer, and gone into more detail about Xiao Mei's reaction to meeting all her relatives in Shanghai, and her experiences there. For example, at one point she is sick with a fever, but no explanation is offered as to what it was. Ed Young's paintings, of course, certainl ...more
Nov 18, 2008 Jess rated it liked it
Recommended to Jess by: practicum book talk
May Johnson [Xiao Mei] (11) travels from Ohio to China to meet her mother's family. She experiences the expected parts of a travel book such as home sickness, sightseeing, and meeting new people but also has some unexpected ones such as taking a moped to do laundry, trying tai chi, and cooking wantons on a hotplate in a hallway.

I'm a sucker for hot plates.

A pleasant, documented trip to China with breathy illustrations that focuses on description. Can't say I was that drawn into it but I didn't
Xiaohui Yang
Feb 08, 2013 Xiaohui Yang rated it really liked it
Xiao Mei, or May in English, went to China for the first time, grudgingly, to visit her family there and to be a messenger for Nai Nai (grandma). Like May in Tea With Milk, Mei disliked China at first and thought herself “half and half everywhere in the world.” But later she loved this country and her family there and missed them when she came back to America. Lives in China are well recounted realistically by the 11-year-old messenger.
Ms. B
Jun 23, 2013 Ms. B rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2013
A story about China. Told through the eyes if an 11 year old girl from America who is sent to visit her Chinese relatives in Shanghai.
Sep 25, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, china
I like the point of view of the story. Interesting and easy to read.
Oct 09, 2013 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
Amazing expressive art with lyrical verse to match.
Jun 25, 2009 Cws added it
Shelves: jearos
JEAROS3-Che Being Chinese in two countries
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Andrea Cheng is a Hungarian-American children's author and illustrator. The child of Hungarian immigrants, she was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio in an extended family with three generations under one roof. Her family spoke Hungarian and English at home. After graduating with a BA in English from Cornell University, she went to Switzerland, where she apprenticed to a bookbinder, attended a school of b ...more
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