Thursday, May 16, 2013

Straight Reading from the Library: Chinese Heritage Tales: Nine Tail Fox and Raggedy Chan by Camille Picott

May is Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month and I'm pleased to have the chance to review two short books, Raggedy Chan and Nine Tail Fox, written by Camille Picott. Camille will be giving away an autographed Raggedy Chan bookmark to every commenter; a Chinese Heritage Tale illustration signed by the author and illustrator to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a grand prize of a Limited Edition Raggedy Chan Doll to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  (ALL ITEMS US ONLY)  The Rafflecopter for this giveaway is at the end of the post. The other stops on the tour can be seen here:


Emma Chan-McDougal receives a special gift from her Auntie Gracie: a rag doll named Raggedy Chan. But Raggedy Chan is no ordinary doll. She is a beautiful Chinese princess who lives in a jasper palace on the enchanted isle of Kunlun. The peace of her island home is threatened when Drought Fury steals Winged Dragon, bringer of rain. Without Winged Dragon, Kunlun will wither and die.

To save her stricken homeland, Raggedy Chan sets forth alone. Her quest leads her to America, where she meets people who distrust her because she’s different. Can Raggedy Chan adapt to the strange ways of this new land and rescue her beloved dragon?

In this modern fairy tale, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of magic, adventure, and sacrifice.

When fifth-grade Emma Chan-McDougal is ridiculed by her classmates for being part Chinese, she's devastated. To ease Emma's wounded self-esteem, her aunt, a Chinese immigrant, spins the mythical tale of a brave little Nine-Tail Fox named Ainu who lives in San Francisco.

In a parallel animal world that comes to life when humans slumber, Ainu Nine-Tail and her mother face off against Chih Yu, an ancient demon who feeds on hatred. As the last of their clan, the Nine-Tails are honor-bound by a family oath to defend the Chinese animals from the demon. When Chih Yu kills her mother and leads an angry mob against Chinatown, Ainu is left to complete the task alone. Raw with grief and only partially trained for battle, Ainu must reach deep inside herself to find the wisdom and courage to save her people.

Will the journey of Ainu Nine-Tail help Emma find the strength to confront the school bullies and win back her confidence?

In this modern Chinese fable, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of courage, truth, and adventure.


These two short books are both books that would be good for the 6-10 year olds to read to themselves--even though all ages can gleam a lesson from them in how to treat people who are different from themselves--no matter what the difference is.  The younger children may need help with some of the vocabulary, especially in the fable parts of the book.

They have a similar structure:  Emma, a Chinese-American, learns valuable life lessons from her immigrant great-aunt through the means of a Chinese fable shared with her. 

Of the two, I prefer the first one... Raggedy Chan.  I like the way the "real world" is interspersed with the fable. 

In Nine Tale Fox, the "real world" just serves as a vehicle between which the fable rides--and, in my opinion, weakens the whole book.  The fable is great--I really enjoyed reading it (even though it may be a little violent for some younger children), but the "real world" scenario's ending seemed a little too easily resolved. 

All in all, though, Camille Picott has done a wonderful job in showing children through the use of fables some of the history the Chinese immigrants faced when they first came to the United States--and those are lessons we can all learn.


Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings.

Twitter: or @camillepicott

a Rafflecopter giveaway