Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ming's Christmas Wishes by Susan L. Gong, Masahiro Tateishi (Illustrations)


Ming wishes for three things at Christmas. First, to sing in the school Christmas choir. Second, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window. And third, to feel she belongs somewhere.

As a daughter of immigrants in 1930s California, Ming is often treated differently than other children at school. She’s pointedly not invited to sing in the Christmas choir. At home, when Ming lobbies her parents for a Christmas tree, her mother scolds her for trying to be American. Ming doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere: she’s not quite American enough at school, not quite Chinese enough at home.

Seeing his daughter’s unhappiness, Pop takes her into the mountains to visit a wise old friend. Always happy for an adventure with her kind father, Ming hopes to persuade Pop to bring home a mountain pine to be their Christmas tree. But he has something else in mind, something that will help Ming draw strength from nature, from their Chinese heritage, and from deep and enduring family ties.

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What a sweet book.  I really loved the message of this story and the illustrations.  Ming's Pop takes the time to show Ming the places, the people and the purpose of her heritage instead of just telling her.  Ming is trying to find herself in a new country and it isn't easy to fit in and merge/keep traditions.  I can only imagine how difficult that would be.  Pop is a gentle, kind soul and I really loved him.

I loved learning a little more about the Chinese culture and especially what the pine tree represents.  The faces of the characters in the illustrations were my favorite.  They really told the whole story with their expressions.  

This is a beautiful story to add to my Christmas book collection.  

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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