Relevant reading for kids

A recent book review by US Pacific Northwest librarian Max Macias starts off asking the question, “How do we get kids to read–especially those that appear to not be interested in reading?”

最近美国太平洋西北地区的图书馆员Max Macias在书评中问了这样一个问题:“我们怎样才能让孩子尤其是那些看起来不太喜欢阅读的孩子去阅读?”

If I had a kuai for every time a Chinese parent has asked me that question…


Max answers the question by giving the same advice that ReadingEverywhere has been trying to give to Chinese parents: find good, culturally appropriate literature to inspire your young readers.  Oh–and give them a good adventure.


Kids will want read if they have access to books that grab their attention.  For Max, writing as a California native, this means diving into lowrider culture–a Chicano sub-culture in Southern California which has spread around the world.  He argues that Cathy Camper and Raoul the Third’s Lowriders in Space goes beyond the good-for-you (my words not his) tales of gangs and immigration into an area that is purely for fun.  And it’s in space!

孩子会爱上阅读如果他们获得了能够抓住他们注意力的图书。Max作为加利福尼亚本地的一个作家,就意味着要写有关低底盘汽车文化的图书——这是南加利福尼亚奇卡诺人的亚文化,已经风靡全球。《太空中的第三个低底盘汽车》(the Third’s Lowriders in Space)作者Cathy Camper和插图者Raoul已经不是为这个帮派和移民者创造好、单纯有趣的故事。它发生在太空里!

Max has thrown down the gauntlet to Chinese parents and librarians:  is there an equivalent graphic novel in China?  Is there a contemporary and authenticly Chinese book that adopts something like a Mao aesthetic?  Would that be the graphic version of  Camper and Raoul’s red and black palette that Max considers reminiscent of ballpoint cartoons from his own youth?  Or would a Chinese cartoonist instead adopt the style of 1930’s 三毛 (Three Hairs)?  Is there a book that captures dialect in the same way that Max describes Lowriders as being filled with “characters who speak much of the vernacular I grew up with as a 3rd generation Chicano in CA.”  How about you 2nd generation urban migrants in China?

Max已经向中国的父母和图书馆员发出了挑战:在中国是否存在同样文笔生动的小说?有没有同时代、准确继承毛泽东诗词特色的中国图书?有没有像Camper and Raoul创造的红黑色面板让Max想起他小时候的圆珠笔漫画的图书?有没有中国的漫画家采用30年代三毛的风格?有没有一本书像Max在低底盘汽车一书中描述的那样,人物使用的是在加州成长的第三代芝加哥人使用的方言?你们中国的2代移民有没有相似的图书?

We continue to be on the lookout for these literatures.  And selfishly, we hope someone can translate them into English so that 为国人 can be exposed to the everyday lives of Chinese youth.


San Mao reading a book.
China’s 80 year old San Mao reading a book. 80岁中国的三毛看书。


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *