Friday, January 26, 2018

#ReadYourWorld: Diverse Picture Book Reviews

Yes, on Saturday, January 27, 2018, we will celebrate the 5th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day, a day to learn, share, and talk about the many wonderful diverse children's books available to young readers. Below are two reviews of books I have read and enjoyed, and as a Co-Host, I will be here with a linkup for participants to share their own diverse book posts. And I would like to take a moment to thank all of the wonderful publishers and authors who donated books for the giveaway bundles and who sent out books for participating reviewers. Your support is invaluable.

A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, 
illustrated by Christina Forshay
2016, Lee & Low Books, 32 pages
One of the more wonderful relationships in life are the ones shared between grandchildren and their grandparents. In this delightful story,young Mei Mei is out in the garden one warm morning with her Gong Gong (grandfather). When she asks him about the dancelike moves he is making, he tells her that he is doing tai chi, a type of martial arts exercise. But unlike karate, which Mei Mei is familiar with, tai chi is a series of slow, gentle movements, designed to "send good energy through your body, Gong Gong explains and tries to teach a few tai chi movements to Mei Mei. When they are done, she offers to teach him some yoga positions she had learned in school. One of the things I really liked about this story is that Mei Mei is not immediately good at tai chi and neither is Gong Gong trying yoga, so that kids realize that proficiency a learning process, and fun when it is shared. A Morning with Grandpa is a delightful, heartwarming intergenerational story that will be shared again and again, particularly between grandpas and granddaughters. Young readers will not only delight in their give-and-take relationship but will also learn something about the culture of Chinese tai chi and Indian yoga. Forshay's digitally rendered illustrations are as delicately playful as the backyard movements Gong Gong and Mei Mei practice together.

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) by Eugenia Chu,
illustrated by Helena Chu Ho
2017, Outskirts Press, 24 pages
Young Brandon sure is surprised when he discovers that his Pó Po (grandma) has come to visit from China. Brandon also loves to eat jiǎo zi, a/k/a dumplings. But when he and Pó Po begin to make the dumpling wrappers, Brandon's enthusiasm gets the best of him and the whole bag of flour goes everywhere, including all over him. Pó Po tells Brandon he looks like a ghost and they both have a laugh. After cleaning up, they get to work making dumplings, with Brandon filling Pó Po's wrappers. This is a gentle intergenerational story that shares information about Chinese language and culture with the youngest of readers. Brandon, Chu writes, is a smart but silly boy who loves to have fun and Pó Po is a patient teacher who enjoys being with her grandson. Chu Ho's illustrations look like they may have been drawn by Brandon using crayons, giving the story a very relatable quality for young readers. Since part of the purpose of this story is to introduce kids to Chinese language and characters, Chu has included a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the story, and there is also a  glossary of words used. Should you want to check your pronunciation, you can hear the author reading the story HERE. As I have often mentioned, my Kiddo speaks fluent Mandarin, which she began learning in school. It's my hope that books like Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi will encourage other kids to start learning Chinese as well. (Ironically, while I was writing this, my Kiddo called to tell me her in-laws, visiting from Dalian, China, just taught her how to make dumpling wrappers. Needless to say, I told her all about Brandon and Pó Po.)
If you would like to make your own jiǎo zi, you can also find a recipe on Chu's website HERE, and they look mighty tasty to me: 

What are some of your favorite diverse books? I invite you to share them with us on Saturday, January 27, 2018 on the linkup that will be posted on the Multicultural Children's Books Day website, as well as on the websites of all the Co-Hosts, including here.


  1. These both look like wonderful diverse books. Thanks for sharing them. :)

  2. My 5 year old loves A Morning with Grandpa. He thinks it's so funny when Grandpa can't do the yoga.


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