Tag Archives: Multicultural

Kai the Dancing Butterfly by Crystal Z. Lee (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

KAI THE DANCING BUTTERFLY by Crystal Z. Lee
 
 
Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures. This children’s book is a marvelous read for all those who love Taiwan, or for those who’d like to learn more about Taiwanese culture. This elaborately illustrated picture book makes an ideal gift:

*Real locations in Taiwan make for an inspiring geography, history and cultural lesson

*Storyline sparks dialogue around empathy, kindness, courage, faith, perseverance, friendship, and the support between siblings

*Exquisite illustrations of Taiwan’s majestic animals and endangered species fosters learning around ecological conservation and habitat protection

 
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Author Crystal Z. Lee

 

Crystal Z. Lee is a bilingual writer who grew up in Taiwan and California. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Crystal is also the author of the children’s book A Unicorn Named Rin, and the novel, Love and Other Moods. 

connect with the author:  instagram goodreads

 
 
 

Topic: Taiwanese Inspiration for Writing

Q: What was your inspiration for Kai the Dancing Butterfly? Why butterflies?
A: Taiwan has over 400 species of butterflies, 50 of which are endemic to the island! Taiwan is also home to the beautiful purple crow butterfly population, which makes up one of the planet’s largest butterfly migration overwintering congregation. My children and I adore butterflies, so I was inspired to write a children’s book about this unique butterfly species from Taiwan, where I grew up as a child.
 
 
Q: There are many Taiwanese locations in Kai the Dancing Butterfly. Which ones are favorites? 
A: Sun Moon Lake is one, because of the very fond memories I have from boating and vacationing there. Another favorite spot is Yehliu Geopark, where you can find sandstone rock formations sculpted naturally by the wind and sea. I still remember my grandfather taking us there.

 

Q: What other special animal species are featured in Kai the Dancing Butterfly, besides butterflies?
A: The Taiwanese black bear, Formosan clouded leopard, Taiwanese blue magpie, Formosan landlocked salmon, Mikado pheasant, Formosan rock macaques, etc. There are many unique animals found only in Taiwan. 

 

Q: Favorite Taiwanese films or movies based in Taiwan?
A: Some recent Taiwanese movies I’ve enjoyed: American Girl, Dear Ex, My Missing Valentine.

 

Q: Favorite and not-so-favorite aspects about Taiwan?
A: I love how friendly the people are in Taiwan, how delicious the food is, and how beautiful the sights are. It’s home to me. 
One aspect I wish was different would be their dependence on plastic. Boba tea is everywhere in Taiwan and they mostly come in plastic containers. I do hope someday a more sustainable material will replace that. 

 

Q: What was your inspiration for the emphasis on Taiwanese Indigenous tribal clothing in the illustrations? 
A: I collaborated with illustrator Allie Su, who, like me, also grew up in Taiwan. We researched special Taiwanese Indigenous attire and incorporated them into the story. It’s our hope that this story can shed light on the plight of Indigenous tribes in Taiwan.
 
 

Meet the Illustrator:

Allie Su was born and raised in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. She is a professional illustrator, specializing in oil painting and ink painting. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu (Book Review)

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It’s almost Lunar New Year! Xiao Mi, Hang, Kwan, Malai and Charu all celebrate the New Year in their own special way. Read this book to learn how each one of the Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian children and their families honor Lunar New Year, from dragon dances in China to firecrackers in India!
 
 
Buy the Book
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ByYQ ~ ​Barnes & Noble
 
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book ToursI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu educates readers on how five countries (China, Korea, India, Vietnam, and Thailand) celebrate their new year. Under each header, it lists the proper name for their holiday. Example: Chinese Spring Festival is Chun Jie, and Thailand is Songkran. 

I absolutely love learning new facts. For instance, in Our Lunar New Year, I discovered “Firecrackers scare away naughty spirits.” The clothes worn during Seollal (Korean New Year) are called hanbok. Every country mentioned, except Thailand, spoke of something people eat, wear, possess, or even a color that is supposed to bring good luck to them in the new year. Fascinating, right?! There’s so much nifty information — facts that any child or adult should learn because it’s essential to be informed about other cultures. 


Maria Christina Lopez, Jennifer Prevatt, and Pui Yu Chan worked very well together to create illustrations that captured the reader’s eye and elevated the story. I loved the dragon, the scrumptious-looking food, the diverse characters, and all the beautiful colors. 


I highly recommend everyone read this book!
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Score: 

 
 
 
Meet the Author: 
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​Yobe is an educator, entrepreneur and mom who lives in NYC. As an educator, she focused on teaching families to embrace love, diversity and different cultures. Through the years working in the classrooms and closely with other educators, she noticed the lack of multi-cultural resources that represented children of color. That is when Yobe decided to create multicultural children stories that feature Asian children, families and cultures! Yobe loves spending time with her daughter, reading to children and taking long walks during the day!
 
Connect with the Author:
 Website Facebook ~ Instagram
 
 

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Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu (Book Review)

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“Our Moon Festival” is a beautifully illustrated children’s book celebrating the unique ways the Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese communities celebrate the Moon Festival.

The story highlights different families and their traditions as they observe Zhong Qiu Jie, Tết Trung Thu, and Tsukimi!

 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book ToursI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 
Earth is a big, majestic world-encompassing so many beautiful people and traditions. It’s crucial teachers and parents educate children on different cultures inhabiting it. Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu would be an excellent book to choose for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May. 


In September, you could also read the book to celebrate the different festivals portrayed in the informative but entertaining children’s book: Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qui Jie), Vietnamese Moon Festival (Tết Trung Thu), and Japenese Moon Festival (Tsukimi).


If a child isn’t familiar with the foods listed, this would be an excellent opportunity to introduce new dishes to their diet. After reading Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu, I began looking up recipes for mooncakes (dessert). If my daughter and I can make them successfully, we might hand them out to our neighbors. Who couldn’t use “best wishes for peace, health, and happiness!” 😀


The illustrations by Christina Nel Lopez gave me ideas for art projects. We could make starry night paintings, paper lanterns, or a rabbit (like in Tsukimi). For public and homeschoolers, teachers might have the students write a haiku about the moon. What can I say? The teacher in me always finds ways to expand on a story to fit various subjects. Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu checks off many boxes. If you don’t want to expand on the story, then don’t. Your child will still find it very enjoyable. 


My only slight change to the story would be the color choice for some of the text. A couple of lines/words were difficult for my daughter to see and read because the black text blended too much with the background images. Other than that, we found no issues. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Picture

 
Yobe is an educator, entrepreneur and mom who lives in NYC. As an educator, she focused on teaching families to embrace love, diversity and different cultures. Through the years working in the classrooms and closely with other educators, she noticed the lack of multi-cultural resources that represented children of color. That is when Yobe decided to create multicultural children stories that feature Asian children, families and cultures! Yobe loves spending time with her daughter, reading to children and taking long walks during the day!
 
Connect with the Author:  
Website Facebook ~ Instagram
 
 

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The Other Shore by Tracy A. Ball (Book Review)

 

Sometimes two wrongs are the only way to make it right.

Power-couple Angela and Mitchell Point wanted to build a family. Instead, they got torn apart and pieced together separately. Without warning, their old and new lives collide in a Castaway meets Hope Floats tale of love lost and life recovered.

When every choice breaks a heart, doing the right thing is impossible.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

The drama that unfolded in The Other Shore by Tracy A. Ball reminded me of storylines that you’d see on a soap opera, and I loved it! 

Yacht destroyed. 

Crew members dead.

Lives in peril. 

Passengers lost, presumed dead. 

Miraculous rescues. 

And then the real drama kicks in! 

Five adults, multiple love triangles —forget daytime tv, I want more of Tracy’s written soap opera. It’s fantastic, and the cover was sensational as well. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Print Purchase Link

 

 

Made entirely of rum and snacks—International Bestselling Author, Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and veteran West Virginian, whose family is a mashup of cultures. She writes real and raw interracial romance with an intensity that burns because she has been busting stereotypes while teaching interracial/generational healing for more than a quarter of a century.

Tracy engages with folks from every twist of fate and all manner of experience. She has hung out with murderers and dined with people who have dined with the Pope, which is why she needs the rum…and a nap.

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The Other Shore by Tracy A. Ball (Book Showcase)


Sometimes two wrongs are the only way to make it right.

Power-couple Angela and Mitchell Point wanted to build a family. Instead, they got torn apart and pieced together separately. Without warning, their old and new lives collide in a Castaway meets Hope Floats tale of love lost and life recovered.

When every choice breaks a heart, doing the right thing is impossible.

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

He gave her a tour of his brother’s estate. They raided the refrigerator and hung out in his game room playing table football. 

“You’re good at this,” Nolan said after her second straight win.

“Every single group home Deidra and I lived in had at least one.”

From the interviews after the rescue, Nolan knew she had no other relatives, but she hadn’t spoken about it before now. “How many homes did you live in?”

“Six or seven. I don’t remember.” She moved over to Rob’s ping pong table. 

He followed her over and served first. “May I ask about your family?”

“You may.” She slammed the ball hard enough to make him stretch. “No clue about our dad, or dads. One day, our mother took us to social service. She sat us in a chair and said she was going to the restroom.” The ball bounced back and forth between them. “Or so we’ve been told. I wasn’t quite a year yet and Deidra was two. We were lucky. They kept us together. We don’t have any hard feelings or psychopathic tendencies I’m aware of. Just one of those unpleasant happenings in life.”

“You seem healthy. Not a psychopathic tendency in sight.” His serve whooshed past her.

She gave a girlish squeal that made him chuckle. “Healthy lungs too.”

“I’ll get you for that!”

The game ended when the last ping pong ball rolled under the sofa. “Do you want to move the couch, or move on to the next game?”

It was a three-piece reclining sectional. “No, thanks.” She laid her paddle down and pointed to the pool table. I have no clue how to play this game, but I’m going to brutalize you.”

“Brutalize me?” The idea wasn’t at all unpleasant to him.

“Oh yeah. I’m dangerous.”

It wasn’t long before he discovered how dangerous. She repeatedly knocked the balls off the table and once lost her grip on the pool stick.

“You’re not dangerous. You’re a menace.”

She laughed, agreeing with his assessment. “Mitch tried to teach me once. You can see how that turned out. That was before we stopped having fun.” She paused. Her wood-brown eyes, glossed over with unshed tears, took on a smoky hue. “I’m sorry. That was ungracious of me.” She laid her pool stick down and turned her back to him. “I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”

Likewise, Nolan set his stick aside. He joined Angela on her side of the table, leaning against the rail. “You’re not ungracious. It’s all right to speak the truth.” He touched her shoulder. “Even about the dead.”

Angela glanced at him and then away.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

 She sighed. “I shouldn’t think negatively about him.”

“You can’t feel guilty about that. He was human and so are you.”

His compelling tone drew her in. “I had a great marriage. That can’t be denied but… but sometimes, it wasn’t good. I don’t remember precisely how I felt at the time, but I…I recall not liking some of it. We had money and jobs and freedom. We bought stuff and did stuff and people were always envious. Mitch loved that. People envying the illusion we created. When I let myself dwell on it, I can see that’s what it was: an illusion. He never forgot my birthday, but he couldn’t remember to stop at the dry cleaners. The big deal things that everyone talked about—no problem. The little things… hanging out in the kitchen while I put away the dishes, teaching me to shoot pool or keeping a dumb promise—that was always missing. Part of me feels stupid and selfish. He did so many great things, why should I care about doing the dishes together? If I wanted one, he’d have gotten me a housekeeper.” She shut up then. 

Her rigid stance, the way she hugged herself, and her too-tight control told him she needed to talk. He let her.

“We wanted a baby. I’m not sure why Mitchell did—probably because it fit our success story image. No. I’m being petty. Sorry.”

“Why did you want a baby?”

“Because I love children.”

Nolan sensed there was more. He waited.

“Because a baby would need me and love me for all the little reasons nobody can see. But I’m out of luck there too.” Now, the tears came. A soft trickle, rolling across her cheek. “I have what they call unexplained infertility. There’s no medical reason why I can’t conceive. No one can tell me how to fix it.” She hunched her shoulders. “Mitchell tried to fix it. We redecorated our condo. We bought a new Mercedes. He took me to Cancun. He booked the cruise home to extend our vacation because he was fixing it. But he couldn’t fix me. Half of the time he didn’t recognize me. And now, I can’t recall the few precious moments I did have.” She turned around again, agitated and sad. Very sad.

Nolan digested the information. She was as complicated as she was beautiful. He didn’t have any words of comfort to give her. She wouldn’t receive them anyway. He picked up the pool stick and offered it to her.

She took it on reflex. 

Positioning himself behind her, Nolan adjusted the stick properly in her hands. “You put your fingers like this…  Hold the back a little higher.”

“Like this?”

“Yes. You want to slide it through easy. Like this…” 

His arms were around her, their fingers entwined as he guided her movements. Her tension ebbed away as she relaxed into him. 

This was the comfort she needed.  

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

 

 

Made entirely of rum and snacks—International Bestselling Author, Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and veteran West Virginian, whose family is a mashup of cultures. She writes real and raw interracial romance with an intensity that burns because she has been busting stereotypes while teaching interracial/generational healing for more than a quarter of a century.

Tracy engages with folks from every twist of fate and all manner of experience. She has hung out with murderers and dined with people who have dined with the Pope, which is why she needs the rum…and a nap.

Facebook / Goodreads

Website / Twitter

Amazon Author Page / Ball Books

BookBub

 

Sign up for Tracy’s (quarterly) Newsletter today by clicking HERE!

 

 

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