Grandfather Counts (Reading Rainbow Book)

by Andrea Cheng

Other authorsAnge Zhang (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2003


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Call number

E Ch


Lee & Low Books (2003), Paperback, 36 pages


When her maternal grandfather comes from China, Helen, who is biracial, develops a special bond with him despite their age and language differences.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member morgantk
I read this book aloud to my students to practice the SWBS strategy before they needed to use the strategy in their homework assignment this week. My students, and I loved this book. We made many personal connections with the characters. We enjoyed watching the movement throughout the story as they
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learned the new languages.
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LibraryThing member sdglenn
Fiction. Diversity in the classroom. Great for grades k-3. When her maternal grandfather comes from China, Helen, who is biracial, develops a special bond with him despite their age and language differences. Illustrations might be drawn using pastals.
LibraryThing member rustedharmony
Gong Gong (Grandfather) is coming from China to live with Helen s family. Helen is excited, but anxious. How will she and her siblings, who only know English, communicate with Gong Gong, who speaks only Chinese? At first Gong Gong keeps to himself, reading the Chinese newspapers he brought with
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him. Then one day, as Helen sits outside watching for the train that runs behind her house, Gong Gong joins her. He starts counting the train cars in Chinese, and then teaches Helen the words. Helen reciprocates by teaching Gong Gong to count in English. Soon Helen and Gong Gong are teaching each other more words, and a special bond between them begins to develop and grow. A moving intergenerational story, Grandfather Counts highlights the universality of the love shared between grandparent and grandchild, a love that helps them cross the boundaries of language and culture.

This story reminds me of how a grandchild and a grandparent can bond and build bridges with the different cultures. I never really knew my grandfather on my dad’s side but I have a strong bond with the farming culture of my other side. They would always bring us around the farm and teach us the importance of hard work. Sweet moments like this make the family line stronger.

In a lesson, you can have the children ask their grandparents many questions about their heritage and find a common bond with today’s culture. Another expansion could be to pin point where all of the children in the classroom came from on a map.
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LibraryThing member mmuncy
When Gong Gong moves in with her family, Helen feels that she is being kicked out of her room, which is also her favorite spot to watch trains. After a chance encounter, she sees that Gong Gong too likes to watch trains. Because they speak different languages, they have a hard time communicating.
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But, through the train watching they do start teaching eachother to count in their respective languages.

This was a nice book. I liked that the grandfather and the girl had to work together to overcome theri language barrier.

I would help the students count in Mandarin and if possible have someone come in to teach the students a few more words.
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LibraryThing member weeksie50
This book is about a grandfather who comes from China to live with his family. He is very upset to find out that none of his grandchildren speak chinese. The grandfather teaches the young girl to count in Chinese and in turn she teaches him.

This is a lovely story.
LibraryThing member candaceZ
Summary: Grandfather Counts was written by Andrea cheng. Gong Gong (Grandfather) is coming from China to live with Helen’s family. Helen is excited, but anxious. Helen and her siblings are worried about how they will communicate with there grandfather who only speaks Chinesee. At first her
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grandfather would just read his Chinese newspaper and keep to himself. Helen decided to sit by hin one day and listen to him speak Chinese. He began to teach her how to count trains in Chinese. Soon they were very close and learning about each others languages and difference.

Personal: This was a very good intergenerational story, Grandfather Counts highlights the universality of the love shared between grandparent and grandchild, a love that helps them cross the boundaries of language and culture.

Extension: This book is for ages 4-8. This could be used in the classroom to teach about different cultures and languages.
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LibraryThing member khudd
This sweet book shows the relationship of grandparents and grandchildren through Helen and her grandfather. As their relationship grows after grandfather moves from China to America, they begin teaching one another their first language; Helen, English, and grandfather Chinese.

I would use this book
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in geography class when studying China as well as math to learn the different numbers in Chinese.
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LibraryThing member DanaLD
Thismulticultural picture book is about a Chinese grandfather coming to the US to live with his daughter's family. The children don't even speak Chinese and the grandfather only speaks Chinese so they have to learn how to communicate with each other. There are some Chinese cultural aspects woven
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through but the story seems to really be about learning to understand each other and respect each other. Both the grandfather and the granddaughter learn from each other. This story could be used with lower elementary students to teach them something about Chinese culture and about accepting other cultures.
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LibraryThing member VikkiLaw
When my daughter was 2 or 3, I searched for picture books that had characters who were hapa (half asian pacific american). This was one of the few that I found. I enjoyed reading it to her and I think she enjoyed having it read to her as well.
LibraryThing member Franeli87
When a Chinese-speaking grandfather comes to live with his English-speaking family we get to learn the trials and joys of coming together.
LibraryThing member bokeef2
Grandfather Counts
Bryan O’Keeffe

I really did not know what to think about this book after I read it. However I thought about the book and actually came to like it after I read the book a second time. The writing of the book was done really well for being on a lower reading level. I do not think
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it would have been challenging to read as a first grader. For a picture book the characters seemed believable. Gong Gong was a typical older person who liked to read their newspapers and keep to themselves. Helen as well was believable because she felt like she was a normal girl who could not relate to her grandfather that she had not met.
I really did enjoy reading this book because of the illustrations. I imagined myself as a first grader reading this book for the first time and seeing Helen the main character sitting outside watching the trains go by with her grandpa Gong Gong really helped. The use of the Chinese language was really interesting as well. In the book the author had the granddaughter being taught how to count to 8 in Chinese. While they both sit out back behind her house and count the cars on the trains going by. Helen also teaches her Gong Gong to count to 8 in English. Reading this book as a little kid would be great to learn how to count to 8 in Chinese. The message of the book is really consistent throughout the book. Love in a family especially with a grandparent and a grandchild cannot be separated by a language barrier.
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LibraryThing member mwade4
Summary: Helen's grandfather arrived to come live with her family. He did not really speak after arriving. Soon enough after a few days while Helen was watching the train he counted in Chinese with her. Her grandfather taught her how to count in Chinese while she taught him how to count in English.
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They also taught each other to write their names in each language.

Evaluation/Argument: I really liked this book and how each language and different cultures were incorporated. Before the text even began the author showed the Chinese characters that were going to be used throughout the text. These characters were used in English in the text, but shown in picture form through the Chinese characters. I thought that the author did a great job of incorporating both of these cultures with the characters. The bond forming between the grandfather and Helen was heartwarming and really emphasized the values of family.
the central message of this story is the importance of family and to embrace the culture that your family comes from. The culture that helps to form your background really impacts you individually. Our cultures should be embraced for what they are as we strive to learn about these differences.
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LibraryThing member kkerns3
Summary: This is the story about a young girl named Helen who's grandfather (Gong Gong) comes to live with her and her family from China. when he arrives he is confused because none of his grandchildren know any Chinese. At first Gong Gong is very quiet and keeps to himself because he is unable to
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communicate. This frustrates Helen and her mother because they want Gong Gong to go out and do things with them instead of sitting at home reading Chinese newspapers. One evening Helen goes to sit outside and wait for the train to go past. She is surprised when Gong Gong joins her. As the train passes they both count the number of cars, Helen in English and Gong Gong is Chinese. Then they teach each other the numbers one through eight in their language. This helps open the door for their relationship and they continue to teach each other.

Review: This book shows how important family connections are especially when it comes to culture and tradition. The author did a good job of showing how difficult it can be to adjust to a new country, a new language, and new customs. I like that this story was told from the point of view of the grandfather because it showed the reader that moving to anew country is not only difficult for children. Although the main focus of this book is on the language barrier it can be assumed that there are many other aspects of life that Gong Gong had to adjust to. The illustrations were simple but did contribute to my overall understanding of the story.
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Physical description

36 p.; 10.38 inches


1584301589 / 9781584301585


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