“Do you want to play with me?” the boy asked. “My name is Ethan.” This invitation begins the tender friendship between “Travel, Learn and See” characters Ethan and Dean in a charming children’s book, written in English and Mandarin, that celebrates cultural and racial diversity and the power of friendship.
After Dean finds out he is moving to Chicago, far away from Ethan, his new best friend from his Chinese-language-immersion elementary school, he and Ethan devise a plan to spend the summer together learning Mandarin in Shanghai, where they can combine playtime with learning about a new culture. They bond over building blocks, their passion for dinosaurs and the coincidence of their moms’ shared advice: “Don’t forget to eat your carrots. They’re good for your eyes.” Filled with nostalgia over your own sweet early friendships, you’ll be rooting for this duo to continue their journey together.
Each page is written in English and Mandarin (simplified characters and pinyin) side-by-side, accompanied by beautiful illustrations to bring the language to life and make it easy and fun for children to sharpen their Mandarin skills.
Edna Ma, an anesthesiologist, mother and wife, says she was inspired to write this story by her son’s friendship with his best friend in L.A.
There are two sequels, “Travel, Learn and See ShangHai” and “Travel, Learn and See the Great Wall of China,” that follow the characters’ journey to major cities in China to expand their friendship and fluency in Chinese.