MING’S CHRISTMAS WISHES
by Susan L. Gong, Illustrated by Masahiro Tateishi
Published September 29, 2020
by Shadow Mountain
Ming wishes for three things at Christmas. First, to sing in the school Christmas choir. Second, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window. And third, to feel she belongs somewhere.
As a daughter of immigrants in 1930s California, Ming is often treated differently than other children at school. She’s pointedly not invited to sing in the Christmas choir. At home, when Ming lobbies her parents for a Christmas tree, her mother scolds her for trying to be American. Ming doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere: she’s not quite American enough at school, not quite Chinese enough at home.
Seeing his daughter’s unhappiness, Pop takes her into the mountains to visit a wise old friend. Always happy for an adventure with her kind father, Ming hopes to persuade Pop to bring home a mountain pine to be their Christmas tree. But he has something else in mind, something that will help Ming draw strength from nature, from their Chinese heritage, and from deep and enduring family ties.
“The book s beautiful illustrations feature snowy Northern California landscapes and warm indoor scenes, in which Ming s wise father shows her how to honor her heritage while embracing new customs. It s a heartwarming holiday story based on real events.” –Foreword Reviews, starred review
“Gong’s depiction of the long arc of a bittersweet history in the context of the strength of human character that readers will remember. A thoughtful take on Chinese American history that goes beyond the usual fare.
“Illustrations have lovely warmth, imparting a mythical quality to the tale. Ming’s story shows the search for one’s place in the world begins young, and that, while there’s pain in navigating two conflicting cultures, there’s a way to heal.” –Booklist
“Prose is lyrical and deeply sympathetic…Intricate, warmly washed interiors and expansive landscapes enchant, conveying viewpoints that effectively highlight Ming’s varying emotions. A historical holiday story that poignantly explores identity and belonging from a less-seen perspective.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Susan L. Gong is a former teacher of Mandarin Chinese. She holds a BA in English literature and an MA in creative writing. She and her family have lived in Asia, Europe, and North America. Masahiro Tateishi is a professional artist who specializes in digital and traditional painting and illustration. He also does calligraphy, graphic design, and mural painting. He was born and raised in Sasebo, Japan, next to a beautiful mountain and waterway. He lives in Fukuoka, Japan.