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A Morning with Grandpa by Cynthia Liu. Illustrated by Christina Forshay. Lee & Low, 2016

Mei Mei watches Gong Gong doing tai chi and wants to learn how it’s done. The little girl’s attempts to emulate her grandpa are enthusiastic, but it’s hard for her to control her abundant energy as she turns every move into a chance to show off. Gong Gong clearly understands his granddaughter’s self-centered behavior is simply part of being a child, and he is both patient and playful as he directs her. “Now that I’m good at tai chi, it’s my turn to teach you something new,” Mei Mei tells him before their roles are reversed: She becomes the encouraging teacher and Gong Gong follows her lead doing yoga. A bright, buoyant story featuring a Chinese grandfather and grandchild giving each other their undivided attention includes information about tai chi and yoga, including illustrated descriptions of Gong Gong and Mei Mei’s tai chi movements and yoga postures, at volume’s end. (Ages 3–7)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: A Morning with Grandpa. Can you find letters or words that you recognize in the book?
  • Talk: About body control. Talk about flexibility, balance, and movement. Are there things that child(ren) are better at and grownups are better at?
  • Sing: Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  • Write: Draw a picture of what you like to do with one of your favorite grown-ups.
  • Play: Try some of Gong Gong’s tai chi motions and Mei Mei’s yoga poses.
  • Math or Science: Try to balance on one foot or in one of the yoga poses. How long can you stand or stay in pose without falling. What helps you to stay upright and balanced?

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