Living Books List: Chinese History

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Teaching history and the stories of past lives is such a rich way to share heritage with children. Living books tell stories that are not dumbed down, but that are interesting and valuable to the reader. Children deserve the best books! Here are a few of our favorites for Chinese History Living Books.

One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books. The best is not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough.” -Charlotte Mason


chinese books for kids



Confucius by Demi: Demi is the author to visit when looking for a vivid and explorative book on Eastern culture.  She does it again, at times over-emphasizing Confucius character, but delightful nonetheless.

The Legend of Lao-Tzu and the Tao Te Ching by Demi: Another charming, gorgeously illustrated book by Demi.  Find these at your library and enjoy together.

Confucius: The Golden Rule by Russell Freedman: Freedman has written a more in-depth look at Confucius in his illustrated version.

Anno’s China by Anno:  This brilliant, wordless book, was republished by Beautiful Feet Books. 

Genghis Khan by Demi: Khan’s story fascinates me and Demi does him and his conquer of the Eastern world justice.

Kubla Khan by Kathleen Krull: My children and I learned so much about Kubla Khan from this book and we highly recommend it.

The Great Wall of China by Leonard Everett Fisher: The illustrations and hidden Chinese lettering in this book is breathtaking and the perfect book to introduce your child to the complicated history of the Wall of China.

Marco Polo by Demi: Marco Polo did, indeed, have one of the most exciting adventures of all time.  Written by Demi in her signature style, this book will explore his long journey to China, all the way from his home in Italy.

The Little Girl by Phil Wong: One little girl can change your life forever.In The Little Girl, a Chinese bachelor adopts an abandoned baby. He raises her, experiencing the joys and trials of fatherhood. As the girl comes of age, the father realizes that he can’t take care of his daughter forever, so he arranges a marriage for her. He suffers through a deep time of loneliness but in the end is rewarded.Each vignette, beautifully illustrated by Fenlin Lee, moves the reader through the rhythms of ordinary life: work, play, mealtime, gift-giving.

the little girl Phil wong

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis: An award winning story of a young boy who lived in China during the perilous 1920s.  Marvelous introduction to Chinese culture and thought.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: Young Minli lives in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, where she and her parents spend their days working hard in the fields. One day, Minli embarks on a quest to find wisdom outside of the village and help her struggling family. This tale of Chinese folklore mixed with fantasy tells of adventure, friendship and courage.  Several gorgeous color illustrations. A Newbery Honor Book. Sequels include Starry River of the Sky and When the Sea Turns to Silver.


Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoff Benges: This is the powerful story of Gladys Aylward. Without formal education or a missionary organization to back her, Gladys raised her own finances for the overland trip that would bring her to the country and people that God had etched so deeply on her heart…. China! An amazing adventure of faith and determination. Gladys Aylward, a housemaid from England, dared to trust God in the face of dire and seemingly hopeless circumstances. Her amazing adventure of faith and determination is one of the truly great missionary stories of our era (1902-1970).

gladys aylward

Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold by Janet & Geoff Benges: Eric’s refusal earlier that week to run on Sunday in the Olympic 100-meter race had stunned the world. Now his incredible victory in the 400-meter race further strengthened his belief in God’s promise, “He who honors Me, I will honor.” Years later, Eric Liddell would be tested far beyond mere physical ability as a missionary to China. His characterm, perseverance, and endurance are a challenging example for all who would obey the call to bring the gospel to the nations.

Eric liddell

Li Lun by Carolyn Treffinger combines adventure and heart to illustrate the importance of courage, grit, and perseverance. After Li Lun is unable to overcome his fear of the sea and fails to learn how to fish, he is branded a coward by his family and village and banished to a barren mountaintop. No one has been able to farm on this land in generations, but Li Lun must make his rice seedlings flourish before he is allowed to return home. Can he win the battle against the elements, wild animals, and his own loneliness?

china book for kids

What books do you love from the history of China? Please share and I will add them to my Living books list!

china books

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