Zihan, Mei. New Year. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2021.
Can you miss someone who is far away and at the same time be happy for them? In this wistful picture book, a father thinks about his grown-up daughter who lives in Paris. He wishes she could be back home with him in Beijing for Chinese Lunar New Year. But he is also proud that she has grown up into an independent person who has her own life in France. This extraordinarily beautiful story – evocatively illustrated in ink and watercolour by Qin Leng – is for mature readers who are able to see life from more than one point of view.
Teachers of creative writing may want to use this story to show how to subtly move from speaking about a person to addressing them directly. Teachers of literature may want to show how specific cultural details can be combined with universal emotions to create a story with timeless appeal.
This year, Chinese Lunar New Year is on January 23rd.
More sophisticated picture books