People living in every era have their own kinds of sufferings. Hardships never belong exclusively to today’s youth. We cannot grow into a strong person unless we obtain an elegant spirit to deal with life sufferings. Misfortune can be a great fortune.Cao Wenxuan
In a normal week, our family can be found visiting our local library weekly, but in these unusual circumstances we are very grateful for audio and ebooks available online through our library system. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a fantastic resource for kids and adults.
During this time at home tucked away in their room painting, drawing, and sewing for hours Ava and Lily have been enjoying listening to some great audio book stories together. They just recently finished listening to Bronze and Sunflower a powerful story about hardship and the flexibility to endure it. The historical fiction story is set during the era of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Sunflower is an orphan who is adopted by the poorest family in the village. Bronze, her friend turned brother, is mute due to a traumatic experience early in his life. The beautiful story explores the children’s relationship, their family life, and the courage to endure many hardships bouncing back with dignity, diligence and determined love.
Author Cao Wenxuan, doesn’t agree that children’s literature is all about books that make children happy. “Blind happiness can easily lead to superficiality, from which one may not be able to sense the depth of human life.” Bronze and Sunflower does not have your typical, feel-good happy ending, yet it left my daughters and I reflecting on our own relationships with gratitude and perspective for the simple things in our lives we sometimes take for granted. This enriching story and its authentic look at resilience through difficult times is an inspiring read and extremely relevant as we navigate through this global pandemic.
To bring a little color and beauty to our reading experience the kids painted sunflower pictures. Here’s a great link to a paint-along tutorial inspired by Van Gogh’s sunflowers.
Camille and the Sunflowers A story about Vincent Van Gogh was another good read to add to our sunflower art inspiration and exploring a great artist.
We explored Chinese writing symbols on youtube videos and practiced writing with ink and a fine paint brush. Chinese character writing is done in columns, from top to bottom and from right to left. These writing symbols go back more than 3,000 years and began as pictures. In ancient China, students had to memorize many pictures or characters each week and used brushes and ink to paint the “words.”
For dinner we made a homemade dish of fried rice and practiced eating with chopsticks!
It you’re interested in some other age 8 and up books that explore human hardships and resilience Ava and Lily have recently read and been inspired by these great books: