Red Kite, Blue Kite

by Ji-li Jiang and Greg Ruth

After his father is sent to a labor camp, a little boy stays connected to him through... read more

After his father is sent to a labor camp, a little boy stays connected to him through their shared love of kite-flying. First Baba is able to visit once a week and they fly kites together. Then, when Baba explains he will no longer be able to visit, he tells the boy to fly his red kite each morning, and he will fly his blue kite each evening. "Every day Baba and I 'talk' with our kites. My red kite soars and dips, shouting over the thick forest, 'How are you, Baba? I miss you.' Baba's blue kite swirls and circles, replying, 'I miss you too, little Tai Shan.'" Ji-Li Jiangs' emotionally taut story set during the Cultural Revolution in China captures a small child's sense of fear and loneliness, and his father's determination to let him know how much he loves him. Jiang uses beautiful language to tell a hard but happily ending tale. Greg Ruth's images show the increased hardship faced by the boy's father, but also the love that surrounds the child. An author's note provides background on the Cultural Revolution that sets the stage for this story inspired by the childhood experience of her friend. (Ages 5-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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