Books by Theme
Apple Pie 4th of July
"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.
Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic
While on a visit to her aunt and uncle in Illinois, the narrator and her family unexpectedly find a field of growing soybeans which begins a 40-year tradition. Based on the author's experiences, text and child-like illustrations reveal a caring, surprisingly modern family story from times past.
What's better than just eating a favorite dish? Anticipating it while preparing it, of course! Rhythmic, rhyming language and playful illustrations capture the joy of making this special Korean dish — and the joy of sharing it.
Country of origin: Korea
Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out
After a busy day at his family’s Chinese take-out restaurant in Brooklyn, the young narrator enjoys his favorite dinner: pizza! Lewin’s highly realistic watercolor illustrations show the bustle, the food, and the way the boy works with his family.
Cora Cooks Pancit
Cora wants to learn how to cook, but she's too young to do the jobs her older siblings do. One day, however, after the older kids have all gone out together, Cora asks her mother what they can cook together. To her surprise, Cora's mother asks her what she would like to make, and Cora chooses her favorite Filipino noodle dish, pancit. This family story about the importance of sharing tradition is brought to life by Kristi Valiant's charming illustrations and includes a bilingual glossary of Tagalog words.
Dim Sum for Everyone
A Chinese family goes out for dim sum ("little dishes"), choosing their favorites off the restaurant cart and sharing with each other. The illustrations evoke the textures and patterns in this traditional meal, and an endnote provides background on the cultural history and customs surrounding dim sum.
Marisa gets to help make dumplings this year to celebrate the New Year, but she worries that no one will eat her funny-looking dumplings. Set in the Hawaiian islands, this story celebrates the joyful mix of food, customs, and languages from many cultures.
Hot, Hot, Roti for Dada-ji
Aneel's active grandparents bring stories, special foods, and fun with them from India.
How My Parents Learned to Eat
When an American sailor meets a Japanese woman, they both try in secret to learn the other's way of eating. Their courtship and growing love culminates in marriage. This realistic family story explores cultural similarities and differences and is told with humor and honesty by the couple's daughter.
Poor Maggie struggles to master her chopsticks — it seems nearly everyone around the dinner table has something to say about the "right" way to hold them! But when Father reminds her not to worry about everyone else, Maggie finally gets a grip on an important lesson.
No Kimchi for Me!
Yoomi loves her grandmother’s Korean cooking; that is, everything except kimchi. Her older siblings say it’s because she’s still a baby. But Yoomi’s grandmother is wise and comes up with a tasty solution: kimchi pancakes! A recipe for this is included and other dishes mentioned are pictured and labeled on endpapers for an international feast.
The Have a Good Day Cafe
Mike's Korean grandmother is still adjusting to her move to the U.S. While Mike helps her learn English, she helps the family, which owns a food cart, beat stiff competition. The family once did a good business serving pizza, bagels, and hot dogs on a busy corner, but now two other carts serving similar fare have moved in. Mike's idea — to serve delicious Korean specialties that only Grandma knows how to make — saves the business and also helps Grandma feel at home. — Booklist
The Ugly Vegetables
In a neighborhood of flower gardens, a Chinese-American girl and her mother plant what the child considers to be ugly vegetables. The ugly vegetables, however, become attractive and help build community when made into a delicious soup! A recipe is included.
A child is embarrassed when parents stop the car to harvest wild watercress. Illustrations in sepia, however, show why this is such an emotional moment for the Chinese American family as it recalls an earlier time. Inspired text and stunningly detailed watercolors provide insight into one family’s history and a glimpse of their life before coming to the United States.
We Eat Rice
In this short book for beginning readers, a young Korean boy and girl share all of the different ways they like to eat rice, which are presented in colorful illustrations done by Grace Lin. A teacher's guide with early reading activities is available from the Lee and Low website. Also available in Spanish.
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