To prepare my youngest two kids for a week without mom and dad, I’ve been reading them a slew of picture books about Hong Kong so they’ll understand just where we’ll be jetting off to in April. Not only do they enjoy these books, but they’re already well-versed in some Hong Kong institutions.
They love H is for Hong Kong (ThingsAsian Press, 2009) by Tricia Morrissey and Elizabeth Briel. They’ve learned about the Star Ferry, goldfish street, bamboo scaffolding, and trams.
Another favorite is the classic This is Hong Kong (Universe, 1965) by M. Sasek. This book even pre-dated my Hong Kong years, but it was published the very year my grandparents first traveled to the colony (and my during mom’s second trip there).
My two and four year-olds know that Hong Kong no longer uses police pagodas and rickshaws (other than the touristy photo ops near the Star Ferry pier on Hong Kong Island). They also know about the 1953 Shek Kip Mei fire and how the squatter villages have been relocated to public housing estates.
And then there’s Six Words, Many Turtles, and Three Days in Hong Kong (Houghton Mifflin, 1997) by Patricia McMahon and Susan Drinker. I just brought that out tonight since it’s geared toward kids eight and up. (My thirteen year-old liked this book when I bought it for him years ago). So with the little kids I skim over some of the text. They enjoy the photos of Tze Yan and her friends at school, their oversized backpacks, and the Chinese and English homework she pours over at home.
In Six Words, my kids recognize an abacus, the Star Ferry, and the breath-taking Hong Kong skyline.
Finally, we’re always up for Mandy and Pandy Visit China (Mandy and Pandy Books, 2008) by Chris Lin and Ingrid Villalta. While most of the book takes place in mainland China, there’s a page dedicated to dim sum in Hong Kong. And my kids love dim sum!
So as difficult as it’ll be to leave the kids in April for the sparkling shores of Hong Kong, I’ll feel confident they’ll understand just where mom and dad are headed.
And since a couple of these picture books feature a detailed map of Hong Kong, they can even point out Chek Lap Kok, the site of the new Hong Kong airport–where at the end of that week we’ll leave to fly home.
Do you know of other Hong Kong picture books?