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Henry & The Kite Dragon
     

Henry & The Kite Dragon

by Bruce Edward Hall, William Low (Illustrator)
 
Everyone knows that kids from Chinatown don't go to the park when the kids from Little Italy are there. They're rough, they're big, and they don't like Chinese kids. That's okay-Henry doesn't like them, either.

But what Henry does like are kites. He loves them. Even more, he loves to help his friend Grandfather Chin make them, and fly them over Chinatown and the

Overview

Everyone knows that kids from Chinatown don't go to the park when the kids from Little Italy are there. They're rough, they're big, and they don't like Chinese kids. That's okay-Henry doesn't like them, either.

But what Henry does like are kites. He loves them. Even more, he loves to help his friend Grandfather Chin make them, and fly them over Chinatown and the park. But when Tony Guglione and his friends from Little Italy keep throwing rocks and destroying their beautiful creations, Henry and his friends decide enough is enough!

In this touching story based on true 1920's events, two rival groups of children representing two different cultures come face to face, and when they do, they find they share much more than just the same sky.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hall’s story, based [on] an incident in his father’s life, subtly teaches that bigotry and hatred is often based in ignorance. Low fills his pages with vibrant, glowing color for the kites and expressive faces that allow the reader to feel the passion, fear, and finally acceptance of the characters. An excellent resource for teaching diversity—and a little urban history as well.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Children's Literature
Back in New York City's Chinatown in the 1920's young Henry's favorite occupation is flying kites. He and his friends help Grandfather Chin, who makes the most spectacular kites and flies them wonderfully. Unfortunately, a group of Italian kids led by Tony Guglione keeps throwing rocks at the kites. One day Henry and his friends decide to confront Tony and his gang in the park. They then discover that the Italian kids are throwing stones because the kites are frightening their homing pigeons. When they finally understand each other, they decide to fly kites in the morning and pigeons in the afternoon, and there is peace in the neighborhood. Low's textured naturalistic paintings set the urban stage with apartment buildings and the rooftops which are the launch sites for the series of gorgeous kites. These creations dominate the story; the people play supporting roles. We are impressed by Grandfather Chin's ability while being emotionally moved by the drama of the cultural conflict. The lesson of their cooperation is one that would be helpful today. There is a note on the real person who was the model for Grandfather Chin. 2004, Philomel Books/Putnam Young Readers Group, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Henry Chu lives in New York City's Chinatown in the 1920s. He loves everything about it, from eating tasty dumplings to making and flying kites with his neighbor, Grandfather Chin. One day when Grandfather's spectacular butterfly kite is chasing a pigeon, Tony Guglione and his friends from Little Italy throw rocks at it and destroy it. Then they ruin his magnificent caterpillar. When they attack Grandfather's dragon kite, Henry and his companions confront them. The children almost come to blows, but when the dragon appears in the sky, again chasing a pigeon, the root of the discord comes to light. Tony and his pals raise homing pigeons, and the kites are frightening their pets. A compromise is reached-kites fly in the morning, birds in the afternoon-and new friendships are formed. Hall's story includes descriptions and details that ground it firmly in time and place, and the plot serves as an excellent vehicle for discussing how seeing things from someone else's perspective is essential for peaceful relations. Low's heavily textured and brilliantly colored kites soar across the pages with energy and grace. This gentle and satisfying tale, which is particularly effective for group sharing, will be widely appreciated.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Henry Chu lives in Chinatown in the 1920s; his favorite thing to do is help Grandfather Chin create beautiful, elaborate kites and to fly them. Unfortunately, Tony Guglione and his friends from Little Italy (the next neighborhood over) do not possess the same respect and awe as Henry and his friends and in the opening sequence, it's rocks from Italian kids that destroy one of Grandfather Chin's most beautiful kites. Over and over again, they tear down these gorgeous creations until Henry and his friends confront the boys, only to learn that it's how the kites frighten their homing pigeons that they don't like. The boys reach a compromise, dividing the day's flying between them. Hall's story, based an incident in his father's life, subtly teaches that bigotry and hatred is often based in ignorance. Low fills his pages with vibrant, glowing color for the kites and expressive faces that allow the reader to feel the passion, fear, and finally acceptance of the characters. The varying perspectives from street level to rooftop, from distance to close-up, all create a vividly imagined scene. An excellent resource for teaching diversity-and a little urban history as well. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399237270
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/03/2004
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
134,012
Product dimensions:
8.81(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.41(d)
Lexile:
AD810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Hall’s story, based [on] an incident in his father’s life, subtly teaches that bigotry and hatred is often based in ignorance. Low fills his pages with vibrant, glowing color for the kites and expressive faces that allow the reader to feel the passion, fear, and finally acceptance of the characters. An excellent resource for teaching diversity—and a little urban history as well.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Meet the Author

Bruce Edward Hall, a fourth-generation Chinese American, is the author of Tea That Burns: A Family Memoir of Chinatown, as well as other books. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, New York magazine, and American Heritage, among others. Besides his writing career, Mr. Hall also served as the head puppeteer on the televsion show Romper Room, and a principal puppeteer in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Mr. Hall lives in New York City.

William Low is a first-generation Chinese American who grew up in the Bronx. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Mr. Low has studied in Paris and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His beautiful work has been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the Society of Illustrators, the Museum of the City of New York, and the American Museum of Folk Art. Mr. Low lives in Huntington, New York.

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