Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments
By Emily Jiang
Illustrated by April Chu
Every musician knows that learning to play an instrument has its challenges and its rewards. There’s the embarrassing first day of rehearsal, but also the joy of making friends in the orchestra. There’s dealing with slippery concert dress, or simply getting swept up in the music. The twelve children in this book are just like any other musicians practicing their instruments and preparing for a concert. But what sets these music lovers apart is that they all play traditional Chinese musical instruments in a Chinese orchestra.
Including both flights of fancy and practical considerations, lively poems capture each child’s musical experience with a different Chinese instrument, while sidebars provide more information about each one. Vivid illustrations depicting each fascinating instrument bring you along on this musical journey. And then you are invited to the grand finale!
For additional connections and exploration of themes, pair these field trip and activity ideas with Summoning the Phoenix.
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About the Creators
Emily Jiang is the American-born daughter of Chinese American immigrants, and she has been writing poems and stories since she was five years old. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California and a BA in English from Rice University. Emily is also a musician and composer. She delights in painting with words and with sounds.
April Chu began her career as an architect, but then decided to return to her true passion of illustrating and storytelling. She remembers coming home from school every day, spending hours drawing whimsical characters in her notebook, and creating outlandish stories while watching cartoons, and she hasn’t stopped drawing and creating stories since. April lives and works in Oakland, California.