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Yeh Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Last updated Saturday, May 15, 2021

Author: Ai-Ling Louie
Illustrator: Ed Young
Date of Publication: 1982
ISBN: 0689822278
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2004

Synopsis: Over 1,000 years before the first European Cinderella story appeared, the tale of Yeh-Shen was part of China's storytelling tradition.

Note to readers:
•  Tips for reading the book:? This book is a beautiful translation of a Chinese tale from the T'ang dynasty in China.? Be sure to talk about the concept of dynasties and to share the history of this story with the children.? You should emphasize vocabulary words like sage and azure.? Be aware that the book is somewhat long.? As with most fairy tales, this one ends with the good rewarded and the bad punished; this may raise questions and curiosity in your group.? The teacher who selected this month's books advises that you acknowledge and discuss questions briefly as they arise.? Also, suggest that children discuss these issues in more depth with their parents after the Reading Clubs.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know the story of Cinderella? What is it?
•  Discuss the concept of different cultures telling the same story set within their own context.
•  If you had a magic fish/ fairy godmother, what would you ask for?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a mobile with items from the book - magic fish, gold shoe, etc.
•  Write a letter from Ya Shen to the magic fish, telling him what has happened to her since the end of the book, and illustrate.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!