Amanda and Kara are close cousins. They are Native Americans. Kara’s family is moving to the Rez (Reservation). Clutching dolls that their maguu (grandmother) made, they say goodbye. The girls stay in touch throughout the year and are reunited in the summer to rekindle their close relationship during a family reunion. This picture book is sprinkled with Native American rituals and words i.e. Rez, powwow, maguu, frybread, tipi rings, Hidatsa name however much of the book espouses experiences that all can relate to like playing with dolls, getting new lunch boxes, splashing in puddles, playing tag, and swimming. Illustrations match the story with emotions depicted. There are author’s note and an explanation about moving from the reservation to the city in the back of the book.
Have you ever had a cup of chai? This is a tea beverage from India. In this picture book, A girl travels with her mother via train. Between train connections there is just enough time to stop at the tea vendor called Chaiwala. The scents of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper swirl deliciously through the air. Viewers watch Chaiwala make the milky sweet tea. Mother and daughter savor their drinks. Yum! This book is beautifully illustrated in collage capturing a slice of life in Indian culture.
A boy named Grey, who is of Vietnamese heritage, wakes up for breakfast. He names the foods he likes. His mother prepares breakfast. After his meal, Grey participates in pretend play. When he is hungry, he names the snack foods that he likes and shares them with his dog. He has lunch. He imaginarily plays throughout the day. At dinner time his dad, aunt and grandmother are in attendance. At the end of the day he shares a snack with his mother. Illustrations are easily read and many foods are shown such as cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, egg rolls to name a few. Grey is thankful for the foods he receives and the ability to share them with his family.
A girl named Melba lives in St. Lucia. She is excited to go to Carnival however when she wakes up, most of her family have gone to Carnival without her. She tries to take a bus to Carnival however many distractions cause her to keep missing the bus. Fortunately the distractions are people and animals that accompany her on the way. Despite being late, Melba still has some enjoyment. My Book Eyes likes the infusion of creole words throughout the story. Included in the back of the book are a glossary and added information to help readers understand the culture of St. Lucia in sections called Did You Know…, What is Creole? Where in the World is St. Lucia? Where is Carnival? Bright contrasting colors on white background show the island and Carnival experience.
On the Caribbean island of Jamaica, when a young girl named Shelly-Ann gets hungry, she asks her grandmother to make a Jamaican dish. Each time, Shelly-Ann’s grandmother shows her how to make a meal, Shelly-Ann’s cooking is faulty i.e. too soft, mushy, burnt, salty. One day the grandmother is too tired to cook so the girl demonstrates her independence in the kitchen and cooks her grandmother a breakfast that isn’t as good as her grandmother’s but considering that this is only Shelly-Ann’s second time cooking the foods, they both find the meal tasty. Children and adults will appreciate the child’s determination to be as good of a cook as granny but it will take practice as it took granny many years to perfect her culinary skills. There are 4 recipes included for fried or boiled dumplings, ackee, saltfish and fried plantains. Additionally fun facts about Jamaica are added at the back of this picture book. Illustrations are eye-catching and suit the story. Due to the added recipes, an older child could definitely benefit from this book.
In India, Mrs. Kapoor plans to make a big laddoo for her husband. As soon as she rolls the mixture into a ball, the laddoo comes to life and dashes out the door and down the street. Laddoo encounters many people who want to capture it but laddoo is too fast similar to the Gingerbread Man. Through illustrations and words readers and onlookers are introduced to some of India’s culture such as but not limited to the marketplace, common animals, clothing, the sport called cricket, a wedding, and chaiwala. Illustrations are vibrant and transport viewers to India. There are a glossary and ladoo recipe in the back of the book. My Book Eyes was surprised and satisfied with the ending.
Enjoy a feast of dumplings from around the world in this rhyming picture book. Ten families prepare dumplings that originate from their homelands of USA, Nigeria, India, China, Syria, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Russia and Israel. They share their foods at a potluck. Counting dumplings from 1 -10 occurs. The end of the book includes 10 recipes for each type of dumpling as well as a map pinpointing recipe birthplaces. Illustration style reminds My Book Eyes of folk art and is a great match for this picture book.
Readers and viewers experience life through the senses (mainly smell) of a girl from Philippine ancestry. Her summers are filled with scents of stone fruit, jasmine, fingerpaint and trouble until grandma (Lola) arrives from the Philippines. Lola adds scents to the air of mango jam, sampaguita, dried squid, milk candy, wooden beads, cassava cake, suman, sisig, kalamansi pie, lumpia, kamayan, stuffed milkfish to name many. The storyteller also adds scents that are more common to the masses such as chlorine at the pool, tennis balls, sunscreen, salty swimsuits, limes, garlic, fireworks, warm summer rain, cherry ice cream cones and freshly sharpened pencils. Illustrations are vivid on a white background. Happiness throughout the visit and sadness during the departure are seen but the girl adapts as the story transitions to a new school year. My Book Eyes enjoyed this picture book with the addition of another culture to enlighten about diverse and shared experiences.
This is a heartwarming story about a girl named Zura who is uneasy about bringing her grandmother, Nana Akua, to school for Grandparent’s Day to discuss what makes her special with Zura’s diverse classmates. Nana Akua has facial markings called Adinkra symbols that the other grandparents do not have and Zura is worried that her classmates will make fun of her grandmother. Readers learn that Nana Akua, born in Ghana was given those marks as a child to represent the tribe that her family belongs to as well as to symbolize beauty and confidence. Dressed in African clothing and armed with a quilt decorated with Adrinka symbols, the two head to school. Nana Akua comfortably discusses her culture and gets the students and other grandparents involved by allowing them to choose symbols from the quilt that she paints on their faces. My Book Eyes appreciates the way Nana Akua uses a hands on approach to include others in her cultural experience. Illustrations are ladened with texture with some items representing African culture sprinkled throughout Zura’s home. A terrific picture book to educate people about culture.