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Lion Dancer

Lion Dancer

by Kate Waters Illustrated by Martha Cooper

Six-year-old Ernie Wan is about to perform his first Lion Dance in the Chinese New Year celebration in New York City. Along with his sister, Jenny, Ernie has been studying martial arts at his father's kung fu school in Chinatown in order to prepare for this very special event. The Lion Dance will scare away evil spirits and bring good luck for the New Year, as well as bring honor to the Wan family if Ernie dances it well.

Folklorist Madeline Slovenz-Low and author/librarian Kate Waters have combined forces to provide a detailed text about the customs and rituals leading up to the Chinese New Year celebration, as well as an intimate look at a Chinese household. The brightly lit, colorful photographs of documentary photographer, Martha Cooper, successfully capture the warm and lively atmosphere of the Wan home, as well as the streets of Chinatown during the holiday. Each step of Ernie's preparation (including background on his neighborhood and the special Chinese school where he learns to read and write Chinese on Saturdays), and everything from the traditional Chinese New Year foods to the custom of giving red envelopes full of money is well-documented.

Readers will enjoy learning about Chinese culture while cheering Ernie on during his first Lion Dance. A Chinese lunar calendar is presented at the end of the book with an explanation of its cycle. Use this realistic photo book to spark conversation about customs and traditions handed down within various cultures.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Interest Level
Grades PreK - 3
Guided Reading
Number of Pages
Realistic Fiction

About the Author and Illustrator

Kate Waters Author Kate Waters grew up the oldest of six siblings. She learns about writing from reading, reading, reading and practice, practice, practice.
Martha Cooper Martha Cooper provided the photographs for "Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year."

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