In ancient times, the Chinese saw the dragon as both a protector and a threat, able to bring on rain or cause droughts. To honor this powerful creature, people created long narrow boats that they raced in an annual rainmaking festival.
From the wearing of fragrant pouches, to the consumption of rice dumplings, to thrilling boat races, the dragon boat festival of today is a celebration of Chinese traditions all over the world.
Arlene Chan, a respected librarian and an experienced dragon boat racer, explores the origins of the festival, it’s customs, and the races themselves. Beautifully detailed illustrations by Song Nan Zhang let you experience the beauty and energy of this ancient festival.
Arlene Chan is a librarian with the Toronto Public Library, primarily responsible for the bookmobile and home library services. She has written two previous books, The Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb, a Proud Canadian Citizen and The Moon Festival: A Chinese Mid-autumn festival. She can often be seen paddling a dragon boat on Lake Ontario. On land, Arlene Chan makes her home in Toronto with her husband and two sons.
Song Nan Zhang was born in Shanghai, China and studied at China’s leading art college, the Beijing Central Institute of Fine Arts. He also studied at L’École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Song Nan Zhang has illustrated several books for Tundra. He now lives with his wife in Montreal.
“Vibrant, colorful paintings encourage youngsters to pore over the details in each illustration. This is an engaging look at the traditions of this ancient culture and the story behind the modern-day sport.”
— School Library Journal
“Through beautiful illustrations and clear text … Chan explains the … Dragon Boat Festival … Awakening the Dragon is a great book….”
— Resource Links
“Arlene Chan and Song Nan Zhang explore the many manifestations of the dragon boat festival — Zhang in highly detailed, wonderfully vibrant paintings …”
— Globe and Mail