“At dawn, sunshine fingers slip through my window and tickle my face.” So begins the day of a young Chinese girl who visits her aunt in Shanghai. The little girl is not named, but the author’s notes explain that her family is from the Han dynasty. The story’s Shanghai setting is intended to epitomize “the movement of young people from the country to the city, the progress from old to new, and the connections to other parts of the world.”
This historical explanation notwithstanding, readers can experience, through the story’s protagonist, what Shanghai might feel like to a girl from the country. Auntie Yen is a businesswoman in the city. Her young visitor eats her favorite lunch: steamed buns, shrimp, vegetable, and rice; shops with Auntie in the Grand Mall; and watches men playing mah jong in the park. Toward evening, they walk on the Bund, a famous pedestrian boulevard, and gaze at the buildings’ twinkling lights. At bedtime she wonders about her future. Will she stay in the village like her mother or move to the city like Auntie? The Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin, will guide her, just as she guides the fishermen safely home.
Written in English and Mandarin Chinese, this book is heart-warming. Author Dedi King has produced a well-written text and a glossary to explain unfamiliar words. The beautifully descriptive illustrations by Judith Inglese complete this delightful book that offers to children the enjoyment of a global perspective. This is the first book in an exciting series to teach children about different cultures. Future publications by Satya House include I See the Sun in Nepal and I See the Sun in Afghanistan. For ages 5 and older.