A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Historical information about Chinese culture and the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan province, lots of recipes, a cooking glossary, and basic cutting techniques for budding chefs.
When situations are difficult or uncertain, teamwork and finding ways to contribute can help make the experience better. It's OK to be scared; sharing that fear with others and being compassionate can help you all feel better.
Positive Role Models
Mei's family loves her deeply and tries to help. Her aunt gives Mei a chance to connect with her community in a way that's meaningful to Mei, and a chef encourages her amid the chaos.
Chinese characters, culture, and cooking are centered in the story.
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Violence & Scariness
Mei and her community in Wuhan experience frightening uncertainty in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Morning Sun in Wuhan, by Ying Chang Compestine, is a breathtaking, gripping, and uplifting story of Mei, a girl living in the frightening uncertainty of China's Wuhan province in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The story moves quickly, but each page holds the slow pauses of swirling unknowns -- health, safety, survival, and abrupt changes -- that can resonate with readers as well. While Mei's feelings of sadness, guilt, fear, and worry are heavy, she's equally ignited by feelings of compassion, teamwork, and an urgency to use her cooking talents to help her community. The recipes throughout will inspire cooks young and old, and there's a glossary and other helpful information at the end of this amazing book.
Is It Any Good?
This is a remarkable, exceptionally good book about a moment in our recent history we may not fully understand yet. Readers impacted by the fear and uncertainty of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely have a deeply emotional response to young Mei's experiences. Morning Sun in Wuhan is extraordinary, as it draws on the fear of the unknown and the resolve of a community to be compassionate in a time that was chaotic and terrifying.
The rich Chinese culinary tradition is somehow both the centerpiece of the story and the supporting character to Mei and her friends, who are learning to cook, to trust, and to be vulnerable while being strong. The recipes throughout the book are both plentiful and clearly written, and should inspire readers to hit the kitchen themselves.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Strong Female Characters
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
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