“A New Year’s Reunion” by Yu Li-Qiong describes the story of a little girl, Maomao, and her reunion with her dad on Chinese New Year. Maomao’s dad, known as Papa, is a migrant worker who, according to Maomao, “builds big houses in faraway places. He comes home only once each year.” During their brief time together (three days), the two of them along with Maomao’s mom, Mama, spend time together before Papa has to leave to go back to work. The story provides a heartfelt and innocent description of the situation numerous Chinese families go through with migrant workers. I would recommend this children’s book for anyone in search of a little humility.
This book has themes that show many typical Chinese stereotypes. This includes the importance of family as shown when Maomao and her family celebrate Chinese New Year. The book also shows the theme of working hard portrayed by Papa fixing the roof and windows in the short duration with his family. However, I believe the most important theme displayed in this book is the quality of time Maomao spends with her dad. The author and the illustrator both express the joy and happiness Maomao has with her dad. When Maomao meets Papa for the first time, she is hesitant and barely recognizes her dad with facial hair. However, as the story progresses, Maomao and Papa bond until he starts packing his bags to head back to work. The most touching moment comes at the end of the story when Maomao gives Papa the coin he originally gave to her. This coin symbolizes Maomao’s love for her Papa and hopes the coin will help her dad during the tough times when he is away from home.
Maomao’s story about her reunion with her dad reminds me of the sacrifices many parents make for their children. Even though Maomao only spends three days of the entire year with her dad, she makes the most out of it. If I were in her position, I would spend irreplaceable father/son time with my dad. Now, the question to ask is, what would you do if you only saw your mom and/or dad for only three days of the year?