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  • Rachel Ip

Mooncakes & the Mid-Autumn Festival



The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of my favourite Chinese festivals and falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month each year. Mooncakes and lanterns are already lining the shelves here in Hong Kong in preparation.


Here are a few of my favourite English-language picture books celebrating the folklore and traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival:


A Big Mooncake for Little Star

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

This is a beautiful book – with dazzling night sky illustrations and some quite fabulous starred pyjamas. Little Star and her mother live in the sky. When they bake a mooncake, Little Star’s mother leaves it to cool in the night sky, but Little Star can't resist a tiny taste! As she nibbles away at the mooncake, we watch the moon move through its phases, from full to new moon.



When she has eaten it all, there is only one thing to do – bake another one together!


The Shadow in the Moon

Written by Christina Matula, illustrated by Pearl Law.

The Shadow in the Moon written by Christina Matula, illustrated by Pearl Law.

This story follows a family as they celebrate the traditions of the Mid-Autumn festival. As they share a family dinner, giving thanks for the harvest, Ah-ma tells her grandchildren the tale of Chang-e, the Spirit and Lady in the Moon. With suns, arrows, magic potions and mooncakes, the story of The Shadow in the Moon comes to life.


A perfect book to share both modern traditions and the folklore surrounding the Mid-Autumn festival.


It includes an author’s note about the festival and a recipe for mooncakes.


Round is a Mooncake

Written by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin.

Round is a Mooncake written by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin.

This is a shape book, which opens with a lovely spread about the Mid-Autumn festival and colourful lanterns. Circles are an important shape because they signify harmony and unity.


Whilst it doesn’t go into detail about the festival’s traditions or folklore, it’s beautifully illustrated and a lovely book to share with younger readers to introduce the festival.




Thanking the Moon

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

With a night-time picnic, mooncakes and lanterns, pomelos and tea, this is a perfect introduction to the traditions of the Mid-Autumn festival.


Grace Lin’s illustrations are colourful and bright, and the night scene with all the lanterns is magical. It includes an author’s note with more information about the festival.



Now it's almost time for some mooncakes...