It’s the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year’s rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. “Ai yo! I don’t think so!” it cries, coming to life and escaping. Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da’s family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs’ generosity doesn’t go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them. Ying Chang Compestine’s heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau’s soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.
Why was it especially difficult for the family to share their rice cake?
Was sharing the rice cake a selfless act?
How were they rewarded for their generosity?
This is a bit on the long side, but it’s a beautiful story about being generous, even when you have almost nothing left to give. While the rewards of generosity may not always come as swiftly as they did to the Chang family, the conclusion of the story with the young boys being rewarded from learning from their parents’ and neighbors’ generosity is delightful and moving.
“Ying has authored over 20 books of multiple genres. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into her writing — from cookbooks, novels, to picture books for young readers. She is passionate about showcasing Chinese history and culture, as well as promoting the importance of healthy eating and living.
Her novel Revolution is Not a Dinner Party, based on her life growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, has won numerous awards globally and has been selected as required reading in schools around the world. Several of her works are currently being optioned for movie adaptations, television series, and video games.
Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs and is regularly profiled in prestigious news media agencies, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post in addition to being named one of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by the Author’s Show.”