Multicultural Picture Books

Literacy-Read Aloud

Lon Po Po

Illustrated and written by Ed Young. Published in 1989.

This read aloud is intended for 2nd graders. Lon Po Po is a Little Red Riding Hood story from China where three children outwit a wolf pretending to be their Lon Po Po (grandmother). This children's folklore picture book received several awards:
Caldecott Medal

Boston Globe Hom Book award

ALA Notable

Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

Parent's Choice Silver Honor

This picture book includes members of a 'minority' group for a purpose other than filling a 'quota'. It also demonstrates unique language or style in its use of Chinese language Lon Po Po, and in its artistic work of three panel sequence. With this unique artistic work it has an appealing format and has endearing quality.

Author & Illustrator Ed Young

Mr. Young illustrated other people's stories for about 10 years before he began to do some of his own writing. He draws inspiration from many things, especially nature and the folklore of his native China. The article below quotes Ed saying, “Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I try something exciting, I grow. It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant as well,” He believes that stories should be moving and exciting for the children.


This book shows its Chinese culture through the use of its language and illustrations. It uses Chinese language when it uses Lon Po Po the grandmothers name and also the children's names. Also it encoroporates the culture with the ghinko trees that the children climb. This tree is native to China and Japan. It especially shows the culture through its pictures, using a three-picture sequence, which resemble the decorative panels of Chinese tradition. Through mixing abstract and realistic images with complex use of color and shadow, this artist transforms this fairytale into a wonderful piece of art.

Talking Notes

-I first started out by asking the children (Have you ever been scared before but had to stay strong?) -class discussion

-I then introduced the text, 'Lon Po Po' written and illustrated by Ed Young, (This text is considered in the genre folklore for children)

-(How do you feel about the cover of this story?) It is all black and dark blue, looks like a forest and has no pictures or words (Does it look like a happy or scary story?)

-I then introduced 3 vocab words and wrote them on the board and discussed their definitions: Latch, Disguised, Route. They were instructed to provide motion to these words whenever we came upon them in the book (latch-clapped hands together and intertwined fingers, disguised-they brought their hand over their face as if they were putting on a mask, route-they took two fingers and moved them like they were walking)

-I then began reading the text

-After reading about the children starting to notice weird things about the grandmother I asked a prediction question (What do you think will happen next? Why do you think that?) We discussed their predictions and I continued on with the story

-After finishing the story I then asked (Does this story sound familiar or like any other story that you have heard before?) Little Red Riding Hood (In what ways are these two stories alike?) Had a conversation about what was the same and different

-I then talked about the illustrations and how they made the story interesting because of their colors and all the effects.

-We then wrapped up by discussing how brave the girls were to outsmart the wolf to save their lives when they were actually very scared


-I selected this book because it was a multicultural picture book that my CT was about to read to do a comparison/contrast lesson with Little Red Riding Hood. The culture of this book was not really found in my students but they could still relate to the culture as it is present in the school.

-I believe that the read aloud went extremely well. The students were excited about doing the hand gestures while I read to them. I have not seen them be read to in this manner before and I think they really enjoyed it. They all sat quietly and participated and behaved so well.

-If I were to do this again I would add more participation activities. Possibly have an activity involving the discussion questions rather than just sitting and asking them, I feel that they would be more excited about the questions then.

-Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary student has great benefits. It allows students to see all types of cultures and ones that they may be able to relate to. Everyone likes to be able to relate to things and not be left out and this can help them feel included. Not only is it nice to be able to relate to things but it also helps one learn better. If you can make different connections then you are more likely to remember the information.