real life characters
Awards and Honors
Winner, New Voices, New World Multicultural Fiction Contest (Little, Brown)
Smithsonian Notable Book
Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies
Best Holiday Book, Horn Book Magazine
Recommended by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for their list, "Mirrors and Windows: Seeing the Human Family"
Other Multicultural Picture Books about Food
Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee
Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and Kristi Valiant
Hiromi's Hands by Lynne Barasch
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin
Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules and Kathryn Mitter
Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin
Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Sweet Potato Pie by Kathleen D. Lindsey and Charlotte Riley-Webb
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley and Peter J. Thornton
The Have a Good Day Cafe by Frances and Ginger Park and Katherine Potter
Where on Earth is My Bagel? by Frances and Ginger Park and Grace Lin
No Mush Today by Sally Derby and Nicole Tadgell
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez
Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing
Boy Dumplings by Ying Chang Compestine and James Yamasaki
Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man by Sandi Takayama and Pat Hall
Plenty Saimin by Feng Feng Hutchins and Adriano F. Abatayo III
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia and Ken Min
Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take-Out by Ted Lewin
Happy Belly, Happy Smile by Rachel Isadora
Guacamole by Jorge Argueta and Margarita Sada
Arroz con Leche/Rice Pudding by Jorge Argueta and Fernando Vilela
Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo and Beth Lo
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos and Rafael Lopez
George Crum and the Saratoga Chip by Gaylia Taylor and Frank Morrison
We Eat Rice by Min Hong and Grace Lin
Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert and Bonnie Christensen
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan and Tricia Tusa
White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi and Ned Gannon
How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman and Allen Say
Maggie's Chopsticks by Alan Woo and Isabelle Malenfant
Ganesha's Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes
Tea Cakes for Tosh by Kelly Starling Lyons and E.B. Lewis
Tamalitos by Jorge Argueta and Domi
Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth and Jeffrey Ebbeler
Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
Seven-year-old Marisa, an Asian American girl in Hawai'i, learns to make dumplings for her family's New Year's celebration.
DUMPLING SOUP is my first published picture book for children. It is based on my childhood experiences of celebrating New Year's in Hawai'i. After I moved to the mainland, I discovered that New Year's Eve was geared toward adults, who partied all night while waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square. In Hawai'i, New Year's was always family oriented, a time for enjoying large quantities of food and basking in cultural traditions. I wanted children to know that New Year's could be even more fun than Christmas, and to show them why it was my favorite holiday.
All the main characters in DUMPLING SOUP are based on real people, most of whom still live in Hawai'i. Marisa's brother Hiram is based on my older brother, Newton. Grandma is an important character in the story, as my own maternal grandmother represented the heart of the Yang family. She, in essence, raised Newton and me while my parents worked. The aunts, Elsie, Ruth, and Grace, are really three of my mother's four sisters.
Now that I am grown, I miss these New Year's celebrations, which stopped shortly after my grandmother passed away.
Everyone loves to make and eat dumplings!
Activities Across the Curriculum
Most of these activities were enjoyed by the students I visited while I was a writer-in-residence at Parklawn Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia.
1. Research other types of New Year's celebrations. Make murals or dioramas illustrating these.
2. Describe other kinds of family celebrations or special traditions. Interview several family members to gather anecdotes about past celebrations. Share these orally or in essays.
3. Read HOW MY PARENTS LEARNED TO EAT, by Ina Friedman, and then demonstrate how to use chopsticks in class. Provide wooden chopsticks and small treats such as cheerios, M&M's, or cookie bits to practice on. For a real challenge, use chopsticks to eat lunch.
4. Host an international lunch, asking students to bring in different ethnic dishes.
5. Compile a classroom book of international recipes.
6. Make leis using natural materials, or allow the students to make leis reflecting their own personalities or backgrounds.
7. Research other Hawaiian holidays, such as Lei Day, Kuhio Day, or Aloha Week.
8. Discuss the concept of "mixing" or "blending" as illustrated in the book. Cite examples from the story: soup ingredients, dumpling ingredients, mixture of foreign words, mixture of races in the family, mixture of ages, mixture of activities.
9. Make a class word book, asking each student to contribute a word representing his/her ethnic origin.
For More Ideas
DUMPLING SOUP was recently selected to be part of the AfterSchool KidzLitTM Reading Program, sponsored by the Developmental Studies Center in Oakland, California. Their goal is to bring reading enrichment programs to after school sites around the country. They have published a guidebook which contains wonderful suggestions for activities and discussion.
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