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Arlene Chan

Arlene Chan is a third-generation Chinese Canadian who grew up in Toronto’s Chinatown. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English and an M.L.S. in Library Sciences from the University of Toronto, she worked for the Toronto Public Library until her retirement. Arlene has written books for adults, young adults, and children on the subject of Chinese Canadian history and Chinese culture. She lives in Toronto.

Chan’s publications for young readers include a biography of her mother, Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb: A Proud Chinese Canadian (1997), Awakening the Dragon: The Dragon Boat Festival (2006), The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now (2013), and, Righting Canada’s Wrongs: The Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century (2014). She has also authored two non-fiction books for adults: The Chinese in Toronto from 1878: From Outside to Inside the Circle (2011), and, Paddles Up: Dragon Boat Racing in Canada (2009).

Fiction (Juvenile, Folklore)

The Moon Festival: A Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Illustrations by Nicolas Debon.
Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1999.

Publisher’s Synopsis

During the Moon Festival, there are many captivating legends. The enchanting story of the beautiful Chang O is filled with deeds of heroism as her brave husband, Hou Yi, shoots down nine suns and saves the world from destruction. His reward is a magic potion that promises immortality. Chang O discovers the treasured reward and, after taking the potion, finds herself flying to the moon where she is doomed to live alone forever.

This beautifully illustrated book presents other legends and the ways in which the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated as an important family occasion.

Awards and Honours

1999 Silver Birch Award (Nominated)


Arlene Chan personal website

Publisher Dundurn [publishes many of her non-fiction books]