Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ballad of Mulan

The ballad of Mulan is the epic poem that tells the story of Hua Mulan, the legendary heroine who takes the place of her aging father to fight for her country and save his life. She fights with her army for ten years, at the end of which her only wish is to return home. Her comrades are unaware that she is a women until she has returned home, and gets dressed in her women's clothing and makeup.  

Mulan's patriotic spirit and filial duty is much admired by the Chinese.Written sometime between AD 386 and AD 581, this classic poem continues to be taught to children in China today, and is sung in Chinese operas. Most westerners are likely familiar with the Disney animated version. 

FA Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior  by Robert D. San Souci. We read this book first, since the retelling of the poem is in storybook fashion, which is more interesting for Elle (10). The author follows the traditional sequence of events, but uses his historical and cultural knowledge to fill in the scenes as a story.       
The Song of Mu Lan  by Jeanne M. Lee. After reading the story, we read this translated version of the ballad. The book is beautifully illustrated in watercolors, and has the original poem in calligraphy accompanying the translation. The ballad has a great rhythm, and Pea, who particularly enjoys poetry, favored this book.
Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey. This short novel retelling of the ballad was read by Pea, and she enjoyed it. She says it was an easy read, with a great degree of focus on Mulan's childhood. 

I've linked up this post to these great blog hops of reviews and activities for Children's books at Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Children's Bookshelf
Books are a wonderful way to experience new worlds and ideas. Our house is filled with books, most of which are borrowed from our public library. Public libraries are an incredible resource, making books accessible to everyone, and we highly encourage everyone to discover theirs. If you are hoping to build your own home library,I've made it easy by linking book titles to Amazon.com. Please note that I have become affiliated with them, which means that if you make a purchase, you are also supporting this website.


  1. I am so excited that you joined us in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I LOVE the concept behind your blog. It's fabulous! I've joined your email subscriber list so I can follow along with your journey exploring China. :)

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I had something to contribute to your blog hop - love kid's lit, and your blog is great! It's fantastic that your kids are involved in reviewing books.
      Hope you enjoy our Chinese journey :)

  2. This is fantastic! Reading and going on a virtual journey are superb ways to learn. I cant wait to find out what you find out :) Am a follower too!


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