‘Bronze and Sunflower’ Materials

About the book


“Bronze has not spoken a word since a terrible fire swept through his village when he was small, and he is often alone. Sunflower has moved to the countryside with her father, but there are no other children nearby and she, too, is lonely – until she spies Bronze on the far side of the river. As they become friends, new worlds open up for them both. However, life in rural Damaidi is hard – and Bronze and Sunflower must work together to survive.”

The author, Cao Wenxuan is one of China’s most important children’s writers, often referred to as China’s very own Hans Christian Andersen. He is a professor of Chinese literature at our partner university Peking University. Bronze and Sunflower’s English translation is written by Helen Wang who is Curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum. Helen also contributes to Paper Republic; a Chinese literature translation website.

Literature in language learning

The Department for Education’s National Curriculum instructs that pupils should be taught to read literary texts in the language they are learning, such as stories, poems and letters, to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression, expand and understand the language and culture.

Using literature in language teaching can make learning contemporary and relevant whilst aiding with students’ speaking as well as reading skills. In addition it can engage the class in aspects of critical thinking that text books rarely do and open minds onto the world1. The lesson plans and ideas below show how a book such as Bronze and Sunflower can contribute to Mandarin language learning on different levels in a particularly interesting and fun way.

Reading Materials

Please click here for the Chinese excerpt of Bronze and Sunflower (P89-90)

Please click here for the English translation Bronze and Sunflower English (P89-90)

Listening Materials

Bronze and Sunflower – Chinese listening

Bronze and Sunflower – English listening

Please be aware that if you are using Internet Explorer, you will need an upgraded version of the browser in order to listen.

Lesson plans and ideas from the IOE Confucius Institute

Bronze and Sunflower teaching ideas

Bronze and Sunflower teaching ideas for primary

Bronze and Sunflower Literature Project from Greasby Infant School

Acting out the story

As part of Confucius Institute Day 2015, Greasby Infant School focused their Mandarin learning on Bronze and Sunflower. Below are some of the really creative and interesting ideas they had for using literature in language learning.

Language Strategy at Greasby Infant School

Bronze and Sunflower Presentation

Bronze and Sunflower Script

If you use any of these ideas, we would be really interested to hear how you got on with them in your own classroom! Drop us an email at chinesenetworks@ioe.ac.uk.

Further Literature

A Very Special Pigeon is a book about two boys written by Cao Wenxuan and translated into English by Helen Wang. The book is available (in English and Chinese) for free here.


Get lit up: literature as a teacher’s best friend by Fitch O’Connell