Book Title: Kai the Dancing Butterfly by Crystal Z. Lee
Category: Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 38 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Balestier Press
Publication Date: February 2022.
Content Rating: G
Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?
Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures. This children’s book is a marvelous read for all those who love Taiwan, or for those who’d like to learn more about Taiwanese culture. This elaborately illustrated picture book makes an ideal gift:
*Real locations in Taiwan make for an inspiring geography, history and cultural lesson
*Storyline sparks dialogue around empathy, kindness, courage, faith, perseverance, friendship, and the support between siblings
*Exquisite illustrations of Taiwan’s majestic animals and endangered species fosters learning around ecological conservation and habitat protection
Topic: Setting the Scene in Taiwan
Q: What was your inspiration for Kai the Dancing Butterfly? Why butterflies?
A: Taiwan has over 400 species of butterflies, 50 of which are endemic to the island! Taiwan is also home to the beautiful purple crow butterfly population, which makes up one of the planet’s largest butterfly migration overwintering congregation. My children and I adore butterflies, so I was inspired to write a children’s book about this unique butterfly species from Taiwan, where I grew up as a child.
Q: Fun facts about Taiwan you’d like to share?
-Taiwan is the size of Belgium but has twice as many people.
-Taiwan ranked as the eighth-strongest democracy in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s new 2021 Democracy Index.
-Taiwan implements a National Health Insurance program which is considered one of the best universal healthcare systems in the world.
-Half a million people in Taiwan identify with a Taiwanese Indigenous tribe.
-Taiwan is home 400 butterfly species, 50 of which are endemic.
Q: Among all the locations featured in Kai the Dancing Butterfly, which is a favorite?
A: Sun Moon Lake is hands down a favorite, because I had spent my baby-moon there while pregnant! Also, while I was there I had carelessly left my purse at a spot near the lake, and a local picked it up and waited there for me for over an hour to come retrieve it. I’ve traveled to around thirty countries and honestly have never met anybody as nice as she was to a complete stranger!
Q: There are many animals in this storybook. Besides the butterflies, which ones are favorites?
A: The pangolin and Formosan Clouded Leopard are favorites. They are both also critically endangered. We hope this book will spark an interest in learning more about these majestic animals and about their protection.
Q: You grew up between Taiwan and California. What was it like balancing the two cultures at such a young age?
A: I attended kindergarten and first grade in California, then second to the eighth grade in Taiwan, then high school and college in the US. It was a bit of a struggle when I was younger, moving between continents with such frequency. But it also laid the foundation for a bicultural, bilingual upbringing, and for that I’m very grateful.
Q: Tell us about your personal history with Taiwan.
A: My paternal great-grandfather was a journalist in Taiwan who aided the anti-Japanese colonial efforts. My maternal great-grandfather was a school principal in Taichung, and my maternal grandmother was a teacher in Taipei. My maternal grandfather worked at a bank, and his brother was a famous painter who held gallery shows. I grew up hearing all of their stories.
Meet the Author:
Crystal Z. Lee is a bilingual writer who grew up in Taiwan and California. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Crystal is also the author of the children’s book A Unicorn Named Rin, and the novel, Love and Other Moods.
connect with the author: instagram ~ goodreads
Allie Su was born and raised in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. She is a professional illustrator, specializing in oil painting and ink painting.
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