Learning About China
by Kathie Johnson
Last summer in my children's library, we had our usual reading game. For the twelfth time, we did "geographical" reading, with books about a particular area of the globe. In previous summer readings, we moved across the United States and through the other countries of the Western Hemisphere, and then spent two years reading books on the British Isles. This year, I decided to jump to the other side of the globe, so that children who participate over multiple years are not limited to the West. I chose China (along with Mongolia and Taiwan), partly because of its rich, deep culture, but also because I think it's important for us to understand the country that is becoming our biggest competitor in the world.
As I began putting away the summer books, while leaving out the ones I wanted to write about, I realized there were so many of the latter that I decided to do two columns on books about or set in China. In this first column, I'll talk mainly about the non-fiction books.
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Kathie Johnson has always had a love for children's books. She collected many as a teacher and began sharing them with other teachers. In 1986, she opened a children's library in her home, and it has continued to expand over the years. Many home-schooled and schooled children borrow books from it, and she takes great pleasure in finding the "right" book for a child. She attends First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.
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