What do you know about Asian Art? I know very little about art, especially Asian art. But I do want my children to know as much as they can to make it more meaningful and interesting to them. We have all learned a little something while reading the unique book, Adventures in Asian Art: An Afternoon At The Museum, and will now look at this area of art in a new way.
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We received a little surprise box from Tuttle Publishing (thank you 🙂 ) and inside were several titles we’ll be sharing with you in the coming weeks. They are all wonderful books that the children are truly enjoying! The box arrived just as we were starting our lunch and the kids laughed at my inability to exhibit delayed gratification, which is unusual (my lack of patience is unusual in this case; not their laughing at me, which happens daily). But I just couldn’t eat knowing there were some new books sitting next to me! So I dug in for a sneak peek – before I could return to my cooling lunch.
Kallista’s first eye-catcher, was Adventures In Asian Art. I think what caught her attention was that when she read The Cambodian Dancer, (still her favourite book), she liked the fancy headdress that the Cambodian dancers wore, and there is one on the cover of this book.
This is a unique book about 53 of the 18,000 artifacts in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. What an interesting way to get children interested in art, it’s meaning, and in such a fun way. Children follow a cartoon mom and her three young children around the museum and learn along the way through their antics. Ride a rhino and climb Mt. Fuji along the way as they discover pieces from China, Japan, Korea, India, and more.
Each page spread has a rhyme on it, which makes it fun and catchy for kids. On each spread there’s also a block of text about the art piece that is being shown.
The book mixes real photos and items with illustrations and cartoon characters so it’s not ‘dry and boring’ for a child’s first experience in art history. Along the way, the book asks questions to the readers about their thoughts and choices, which makes it interactive and can lead to more conversation about cultures. If you’re stuck with the answers, there is some handy information at the back of the book, as well as websites for further investigation.
As children read through this book they’ll learn that the items aren’t just for beauty, but they also served a practical purpose; that thing that looks like a seafood trap is actually a summer pillow; and that ornament that hangs from the waist was used to carry things in the days before pockets. You’ll also find a flamboyant hat and wedding dress, as well as many other fun and interesting items. My children immediately recognised the Samurai outfit as being very similar to the one where the Japan Society of Northern Ireland meets.
Most of my own souvenirs are from Japan and my children are familiar with them, but I do have a few they haven’t seen from both Japan and China, so I will have to bring them out for the children to learn about.
I would highly recommend that this book be taken along when you visit a museum of Asian art. I’ve been asking around, but I don’t think that there is one that we can visit near us; but I will do some more research before we travel anywhere to see what’s in the area and we may just find a place yet undiscovered. That will make the visit all that much more satisfying.
Art can be a difficult subject for us parents if we do not know about it ourselves. And children will learn whatever we teach them when they are interested. So take advantage of their interest when it arises. One of my go-to places for art education is The Art Curator For Kids. I think that you’ll find some interesting information in her Art Around The World in 30 Days series, and her post about Kinesthetic Learning in Artis great fun for kids, especially after reading Adventures In Asian Art.
If you’re interested in purchasing this book or other great Tuttle Publishing books, here are some Amazon links for you: