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My Mother Told These Tales

Author Interview
Teresa Chin Jones Author Interview

Tales of the Monkey King is a retelling of classic Chinese tales of the famous Monkey King. What drew you to this folklore and inspired you to write a book?

I am of Chinese origin. We came to the US as refugees in 1950 when the Nationalist government fell. My mother told these tales to my brother and I and over the years I told them to the children of all our friends and they all loved the tales-especially the boys.

I decided it was time to write up these stories (in my mother’s words) for children and now my grandsons to enjoy. There are plenty of academically precise translations in several languages – but like all scholarly works, they aren’t much fun.

The illustrations were beautiful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Gennel Marie Sollano?

I sent in the very amateurish and rough sketches I did years ago for the first edition and she took what she wanted for the illustrations. There was no direct contact, it was all done with Xlibris but I wanted to make sure the artist was recognized and so her name is clearly listed as the book illustrator.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

My introduction explained it all. This is a really well loved and well known set of stories in Asia. You tube has both the 1986 TV series (Journey to the West) and the 2000 (Journey to the West sequel). I belileve the Japanese did a very good cartoon rendition and there are endless movies and Chinese operas based on the themes.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I haven’t gotten started yet but am thinking of extracting interesting anecdotes from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (several TV series on 3 kingdoms which is also very well known in Asia). It’s sort of a practical rendition of how to apply Sun Tzu’s Art of war to win.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Monkey King, China’s most popular hero in lore and legend, has entertained and delighted children for centuries. Born from a rock, Monkey proclaims himself king of all monkeys. But the impish, clever Monkey causes too much trouble for heavenly authorities. He is punished until he agrees to provide protection for a Buddhist monk on a difficult journey to India to fetch sacred writings and bring them back to China. Monkey needs all his magical tricks and secret weapons, as he and his companions, Pigsy, Sandy, and Horse, confront demons, monsters, and dangerous situations throughout their long trek.

Tales of the Monkey King

Monkey is capable of some marvelous things. He wishes to be a master in virtually every area, Small but mighty. His thirst for knowledge is unmatched, and his abilities outshine everyone around him. When he transforms into the famed Monkey King, it is just the beginning of his fantastic journey. Monkey is, however, quite a character. He never fails to be the center of any and every bit of chaos. Monkey is filled with intensity and determination from his temper to his strength. There is no one else like him.

Tales of the Monkey King, by Teresa Chin Jones, is a retelling of classic Chinese tales of the famous Monkey King. Jones delivers a fabulous series of chapters tracing the making of the Monkey King through his outrageous adventures to the fascinating end of his journey. Along the way, readers will meet captivating characters and find themselves in awe of the fantastic and, sometimes, harrowing situations in which Monkey and his cohort find themselves.

I was taken with the colorful characters and the vibrant language throughout the book. Though there are beautiful illustrations placed sporadically throughout the chapters, readers will have no trouble visualizing the characters and exquisite settings. Jones does a fantastic job of building Monkey and his comrades into strong mental images for her readers. In addition, the more challenging text structure and choice of verbiage will push young readers. I can see Tales of the Monkey King as a beautiful read-aloud addition to any classroom.

As a teacher, I appreciate the added summaries at the beginning of each chapter. Teachers and students alike will find these little bonuses helpful when picking up reading where they left off. As I usually spend a little time reviewing previous chapters before reading, I can see these summaries making that much more manageable and bringing my students and me quickly up to date. In addition, young readers will find the summaries an easy way to review on their own.

I truly enjoyed reading Monkey King’s escapades and seeing Jones’s work as a real asset to upper elementary and middle school classrooms. Folklore is an essential part of literature education, and I highly recommend Tales of the Monkey King to any fan of classic folk tales and legends. Monkey is sure to bring a smile to readers’ faces.

Pages: 277 | ASIN : B091721V92

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