Chinese-American author Kat Zhang has 3 different Amy Wu books , but since I'm a total sucker for children's books that involve food...

'Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao' - Read and Rise May 2022



Chinese-American author Kat Zhang has 3 different Amy Wu books, but since I'm a total sucker for children's books that involve food, I had to feature "Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao!" The story chronicles little Amy Wu's struggles as she attempts to make the perfect bao like her mother, father, and grandmother. 

Before I continue, I feel like I should clarify what bao are for those who don't know. Bao (pronounced bow as in, "She bowed before the princess") are amazingly delicious steamed buns. We get them all the time from the Asian market in town. They come in a variety of sizes with all sorts of fillings. We've had ones filled with various meats, vegetables, red bean, and custard. The kids' favorite is one called a Phoenix bun, which is filled with a sweet runny eggy custard.


Ok, now I can get back to the story. So Amy tries over and over and over to make the perfect bao but they're just not coming out right! Can she figure out the secret to making the perfect bao her own way? Watch the read aloud below and find out!

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While it is actually a chilly rainy windy day here, it's May and we're all thinking about warm weather and pools and...ice cream! To...

'The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle' - Read and Rise May 2022


While it is actually a chilly rainy windy day here, it's May and we're all thinking about warm weather and pools and...ice cream! Today's story takes us back over 100 years to the time 11 year old Frank Epperson accidently invented the popsicle!

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  I'm very excited to share my second Global Explorers GET'EM mystery with you all! I originally planned to have one ready last mont...

Global Explorers GET'EM Mystery - Ukraine

 


I'm very excited to share my second Global Explorers GET'EM mystery with you all! I originally planned to have one ready last month but I ran into trouble when I tried to do too much. I was right in thinking creating the mystery this time around would go much more smoothly than with Korea. However, wanting to also add in a full meal menu proved to be a little crazy trying to test out recipes while doing everything else! (There were also various other ideas popping into my head distracting me...) So I've realized I should focus on one thing I want to do and if I end up with extra time I can add more. Since my kids like the mysteries the best, that's going to be my first focus!

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In honor of Earth Day, we're going on a nature hunt today! "We're Going on a Nature Hunt" by Steve Metzger and Miki Sakamo...

'We're Going on a Nature Hunt' - Read and Rise April 2022


In honor of Earth Day, we're going on a nature hunt today! "We're Going on a Nature Hunt" by Steve Metzger and Miki Sakamoto is an adorable book that I used to read all the time with my preschoolers and then with Lil C and Squidgy! And it's the perfect book to read before you head outside on your own nature hunt!

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  Easter is one week away and so it is the perfect time to read "The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story" by Eric Kimmel and...

'The Birds' Gift' - Read and Rise April 2022

 

Easter is one week away and so it is the perfect time to read "The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story" by Eric Kimmel and Katya Krenina. This story is a folktale explaining the origin of the beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs, pysanky. In the tale, winter comes early and a flock of golden birds nearly freezes in the snow until a little girl discovers them and recruits help to rescue them. The entire village shelters the birds in their houses and church all winter. Then on Easter, the villagers are astonished to find beautifully decorated eggs everywhere - it is a gift from the birds! Ever since that spring, people have made pysanky to honor the birds' gift.

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  Unless you're new to this blog, you know that I love making holiday themed foods for my kids. So for St. Patrick's Day we love gre...

All Natural Shamrock Smoothie and Smoothie Bowl

 


Unless you're new to this blog, you know that I love making holiday themed foods for my kids. So for St. Patrick's Day we love green foods! But since I also try to make pretty healthy recipes most of the time, we turn everything green naturally! 

Today I have a healthy remake of the Shamrock Shake without any vanilla ice cream or food coloring. And while my kids would probably enjoy the ice cream version, they love this one enough that I've never made them the sugar-loaded one.

I have two versions of the recipe for you today, a regular smoothie and a thicker version for smoothie bowls. Try them both ways, either way it'll be delicious!

Shamrock Smoothie
Makes 2 small and 1 large glass of smoothie

In the pitcher of a high powered blender combine 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 2 cups baby spinach, and 10 fresh mint leaves*. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and gold sprinkles if you want to be a little extra festive!

*Since there are always way more than 10 mint leaves in the bunch you buy from the store, I freeze the extra. Simply give 10 leaves a rough chop before tossing them into the cup in an ice cube tray then fill with water. Repeat with however many mint leaves you have. Once they're frozen, I keep the cubes in a bag in the freezer and if I want to make the Shamrock Smoothie I can just throw one cube into the blender with everything else!



Shamrock Smoothie Bowl

In the bowl of a food processor combine 1/2-2/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I use Oikos triple zero), 1/4 cup water, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen mango, 2 cups baby spinach, and 10 fresh mint leaves. Blend until smooth.

We topped ours with chia seeds, chopped cashews, gold coin sprinkles, and mini chocolate chips.

Note: If your kids - or you - want it extra smooth without any tiny bits of spinach, blend the liquid and spinach by themselves before adding everything else. That will help it have a more uniform look.


For another delicious green recipe, check out Naturally Green Spinach Crepes.

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  In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science this year, we got a big stack of picture books about female scientists from th...

'The Leaf Detective' - Read and Rise March 2020

 


In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science this year, we got a big stack of picture books about female scientists from the library. Out 14 amazing women, I had only heard of 2 of them! One of the new scientists I was introduced to was Dr. Meg Lowman. Her story is amazing! She was the first person to actually climb up into the rainforest canopy to study wildlife and helped create canopy walkways so more people could study and experience the wonder of the canopy!

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  We picked up a bunch of books about amazing female scientists from the library last month and have been slowly reading through them and do...

'Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor' - Read and Rise March 2022

 


We picked up a bunch of books about amazing female scientists from the library last month and have been slowly reading through them and doing extension activities. This is the first of many I will be sharing!

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  I'm very excited about today's post because not only do I get to share a wonderful story with you, but I also have an interview wi...

'The Rescuer of Tiny Creatures' and a Super STEM Spotlight

 


I'm very excited about today's post because not only do I get to share a wonderful story with you, but I also have an interview with an amazing female in STEM to share as well! Let's check out the book first and then you can meet Ms. Valente!

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  Today is the last day of Chinese New Year, the day of the Lantern Festival! We've finished reading "Celebrating Chinese New Year&...

Chinese New Year Mini Unit Day 3 with 'Celebrating Chinese New Year'

 


Today is the last day of Chinese New Year, the day of the Lantern Festival! We've finished reading "Celebrating Chinese New Year" by Eugenia Chu and Javiera Mac-lean and used it for inspiration to end this 15 day celebration with a bang!

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.



We made paper bag dragon puppets for the Dragon Dance. The dragon printouts we used came from Pink Stripey Socks


We also made some paper lanterns to decorate our school area even more. Lil C turned her lantern into a tiger lantern - I think it came out adorable!



After reading the "Around the World" section and finding out they have dragon boat races in Sydney, Australia, we just had to make a dragon boat! The benefit of having a GIANT Lego collection is you can build a dragon boat without needing to buy the set! Thank you Lego for having downloadable building instructions!


I don't know if we have enough specialty pieces to build another one, but we at least got one dragon boat! I love it and think it's so fun and the kids think it's hysterical that there's a croissant as the dragon's nose!

It is VERY cold here today, but if we're brave enough we'll go out on the patio under the full moon tonight and light a couple of sparklers!

I want to send Eugenia Chu another HUGE thank you for sharing her awesome book, "Celebrating Chinese New Year: History, Traditions, and Activities" with us. We loved learning all about the holiday and the different ways people celebrate in China and across the world!

Check out the rest of our Chinese New Year fun!

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My kids are super into mysteries and anything involving escape-room like puzzles. So I decided to make them work for their Valentine's t...

Valentine Treasure Hunt

My kids are super into mysteries and anything involving escape-room like puzzles. So I decided to make them work for their Valentine's treats!

To start, I left a red envelope on the kitchen counter. But instead of finding a Valentine card, they discovered this letter. 


Lil C realized right away that some of the letters were underlined so she grabbed a pencil and began writing down everything that was underlined. The underlined letters spell "intheclosete2" or "in the closet e2." The e2 doesn't make much sense now, but it will soon. In hindsight, when 2 letters next to each other were both underlined it was easy to miss a letter. Next time I might capitalize the letters instead of underlining.

Anyway, so they went searching closets. Eventually they found this hanging inside the door of one of the closets.


This is where the "e2" comes in. You have to spin the inner wheel until the 2 lines up with the letter E. Then you can figure out the message below: DUPLOS.



Inside the box of Duplos, the kids found a magnifying glass and a small piece of paper with pictures on it.


After close inspection, Lil C and Squidgy eventually realized that there were pink ovals around all the teddy bears. So they ran off to search through their immense collection of stuffed animals.



There was a piece of paper tucked behind a teddy bear in Squidgy's closet. And if you look closely, you'll see the end of a spy pen sticking out next to the pelican's head. The paper appeared blank, but Lil C quickly caught on that there was probably an invisible message on it! And she was right!


My drawing leaves a little to be desired, but after debating if they were stockings, socks, or boots, they agreed that boots sounded like the most likely option. So off they ran to find some boots.



Near the front door were several pairs of shoes, including a pair of my boots. Inside Lil C found a key with a note attached. Only the note was a little hard to read...


Lil C realized it was backwards and luckily we have mirrored closet doors ALL over the house so she didn't have to go far to find a mirror.




On the kitchen table they found this piece of paper and a bowl of M&Ms. Squidgy tried to eat the M&Ms but Lil C made him stop because she realized the number of M&Ms must be key to cracking this clue. They counted 12 orange M&Ms, 15 yellow M&Ms, and 14 red M&Ms which spelled out "BED." Back upstairs we go! But whose bed is it??


Hmm...there's a suitcase on Mommy and Daddy's bed. And it's locked! Where's that key?



Finally! Success and Valentine treasures!

To set up your own Valentine treasure hunt, grab the printables here:

In addition to the printables you will need: a magnifying glass, spy pen, white paper with drawing of boots in invisible ink (if you don't have a spy pen you can always use a white crayon and leave some watercolors nearby), colored candies, a small lock with a key, and something to be locked like a suitcase. Happy hunting!



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I never made a big deal out of Valentine's Day...until I had kids. Kids seriously bring new meaning to every holiday - even the random s...

Valentine's Breakfast Ideas with Berry Sauce and Pink Smoothie Bowl Recipes


I never made a big deal out of Valentine's Day...until I had kids. Kids seriously bring new meaning to every holiday - even the random silly ones like ice cream for breakfast day and silly sock day! It's become a tradition now that every year I make some fun Valentine-themed meals for everyone. 

Above you can see our I<3U breakfasts - sliced strawberries, heart shaped pancakes, and bacon or sausage U's. 



This year I made heart shaped cinnamon rolls - Squidgy actually asked me a few days ago if I could make bloody guts again so I figured I'd give the cinnamon rolls a Valentine twist instead. To make the hearts you unroll the bun halfway, then coil the loose end. Try to pinch the bottoms to get a sharp point because the rolls have a habit of curving in while they bake.



I served the heart rolls with bacon (that I attempted to shape into hearts!) and berry sauce. The berry sauce is super easy to make - all recipes are at the end of this post. 



If you want something a little more on the healthy side, this pink smoothie bowl is for you! Full of delicious fruits, it's naturally sweet and beautiful! Scroll down for the recipe.


Easy Berry Sauce
Place 3 cups frozen berries* in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and heat 5-10 minutes until the berries are thawed and softened. Mash the berries lightly. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and stir together. Bring to boil, simmer 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Add in a tiny splash of lemon juice and give it a final stir before pouring on top of your cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, or French toast!

*Note: you can use a single type of berry or a mix.


Pretty in Pink Smoothie Bowl
In a food processor, combine the following:

- 2 frozen bananas, broken into chunks (if you want a thinner smoothie base, use 1 1/2 bananas - as is, this recipe has the consistency of ice cream)
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 1/2 cup milk
- topping ideas: chia seeds, shredded coconuts, mini chocolate chips, nut butter

Blend until everything you have a smooth uniform consistency. Top as desired.

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  I'm very excited to finally be able to share with you my new format for the Global Explorers series! After testing this summer's o...

Global Explorers Family Dinner Adventure - Korea

 


I'm very excited to finally be able to share with you my new format for the Global Explorers series! After testing this summer's original format at home, I found the activity books were a little hit or miss with my kids. Sometimes they were interested and did some of the activities and other times they looked at the postcard and booklet and just left it off to the side. So I started brainstorming ways to make it a little more fun and exciting and ideally involve the whole family. That's when the idea for a family dinner emerged. I thought providing an idea or two for a full meal menu along with some fun fact conversation cards and an activity placemat would make for a more complete experience. But then, I had another brain spark...

My kids are SUPER into mystery books and they've enjoyed mystery puzzle games like Carmen Sandiego and Highlights Top Secret Adventures. They also had a lot of fun when I created a Wild Kratts-Carmen Sandiego hunt across Africa last year to introduce our African savannah unit study. I thought, what would be more fun than a themed dinner followed by crime mystery to solve! And so began the task of creating such a game...

Let me just say that it took a lot more time to prepare than I was expecting. I had to come up with a crime. I had to research various locations in Korea. I had to create a guide booklet with information about each location. The plan was to use the format of the Carmen Sandiego games and have the players follow the thief from place to place until they were caught and the stolen item was recovered. But I wanted it more fun and interactive than just reading clues about the next destination. So I had to come up with clues AND puzzles about the locations and clues about the thief. Then I had to figure out how to make the puzzles as easy to set up as possible without needing specialized items. That meant creating a lot of printables. Then I had to print everything out, set it up, and test the game. Daddy and the kids were more than happy to test it out for me and provide feedback on what needed a little tweaking. And after the test run I realized I needed to provide very detailed instructions on how to set up and guide the game. BUT...it is finally ready to share AND I learned a lot during the process and I'm confident the next go around will go much smoother and quicker. So, without further ado, here is everything you need to have your own Korean Family Dinner Adventure!!

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We continued with our Chinese New Year mini unit study today, reading the section on how people prepare for the Lunar New Year and common fo...

Chinese New Year Mini Unit Day 2 with 'Celebrating Chinese New Year'

We continued with our Chinese New Year mini unit study today, reading the section on how people prepare for the Lunar New Year and common foods that are made in "Celebrating Chinese New Year" by Eugenia Chu. 


This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.

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  When author Eugenia Chu sent me a copy of her new book, "Celebrating Chinese New Year" I knew it would be the perfect base for ...

Chinese New Year Mini Unit Day 1 with 'Celebrating Chinese New Year'

 


When author Eugenia Chu sent me a copy of her new book, "Celebrating Chinese New Year" I knew it would be the perfect base for a mini unit on Chinese New Year! This is an all inclusive guide to Chinese New Year - it includes history, background, legends, and an introduction to common traditions and foods. At the end of the book, Eugenia also includes a bunch of activities like making your own paper lanterns, dragon puppets, as well as her mother's famous jiăozi recipe!

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.

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  I was very excited to receive a free copy of  "Juana and Lucas: Muchos Changes"  by Juana Medina from Candlewick Press to review...

'Juana and Lucas: Muchos Changes' Book Review - Multicultural Children's Book Day

 


I was very excited to receive a free copy of "Juana and Lucas: Muchos Changes" by Juana Medina from Candlewick Press to review for Multicultural Children's Book Day. I love books that sprinkle in non-English words and couldn't wait to find out what changes were in store for Juana (although, the cover did give me a clue that there was probably a baby involed!) "Juana and Lucas: Muchos Changes" is an easy chapter book (with pictures on every page) and is the third book in the Juana and Lucas series by Juana Medina. I was thrilled to discover my library carries the series so we can go back and read the first two books as well! But back to this book.


Juana and her perrito, Lucas, live in Bogota, Columbia. (Of course, that made me want to learn more about Columbia - Global Explorers trip anyone??) We soon learn that Juana's Mami recently got remarried and they are all adjusting to life together in a new house. Juana is getting more comfortable with the situation but then Mami springs another surprise on her - she's going to have a baby! Juana is not thrilled. And then she becomes even LESS thrilled when she learns that Mami signed her up for skating camp during school break when Juana was looking forward to relaxing and having fun swimming, reading, visiting her abuelos, and having sleepovers. How is she going to handle this??


Juana resists going to skating camp, but Mami insists she give it at least 5 tries. I might have to try this strategy! Squidgy is more resistant than Lil C to trying new unfamiliar things, but maybe giving him a clear ending point where he has the choice whether to stop or continue will help. As the story goes on, Juana tackles some more changes, like taking on more responsibility when Mami gets put on bedrest, having to stay with her abuelos while Mami is in the hospital, and having to wait to touch and hold her new baby sister because she is born prematurely.


This book touches on so many topics I think every kid can feel a comradery with Juana - getting a stepdad, becoming a big sibling, trying a new camp, making new friends, feeling like the odd one out, coping with Mami being on bedrest, and having a baby born prematurely. It's such a great look into how change affects children - they need communication, information, support, time, and encouragement! This is a great reminder for us as parents so we can help our children through the changes. Just keep in mind that it won't always go perfectly. When we moved a few years back, we tried to do all this and make it exciting by looking at all the positives we'd gain from the move, but Lil C still had a breakdown when we officially moved out of our old house. There were a lot of tears and hugs. But now we're all so happy in our new bigger house, with a bedroom for everyone, a great school area, and large backyard with lots of trees, animals, and a hill for sledding! 

Like we discovered with our new house, change can be scary and uncomfortable and unwelcome, but often, change can be really wonderful. It can often just take a few (or five!) tries to realize something new is actually fantásticas!



My challenge to all of you is, try something new this week! It can be something tiny like a new food, book, or movie, or something bigger like a new activity, class, or talking to a new person! Give it a try and see what happens!

Check out my other MCBD 2022 review: "Sissy Goes Tiny"


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

SUPER PLATINUM: Make A Way Media

PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD's Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

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FREE Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Raising Awareness on Systemic Racism in America Classroom Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

1 comments:

  I am super excited to be a part of Multicultural Children's Book Day for the second year! Communicating with author Eugenia Chu on he...

'Sissy Goes Tiny' Book Review - Multicultural Children's Book Day

 


I am super excited to be a part of Multicultural Children's Book Day for the second year! Communicating with author Eugenia Chu on her book "Brandon Makes Jiao Zi" for last year's MCBD was just the start of so many more author collaborations and friendships! Not to mention a lot of awesome new books to review and share. 

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.

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  When author John C. Stickler reached out to me to share his and his wife's book, "Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale,"...

'Maya and the Turtle' and 'Land of Morning Calm' Book Review

 


When author John C. Stickler reached out to me to share his and his wife's book, "Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale," it planted the seeds of heading to Korea for our next Global Explorers destination. And when I mentioned the idea and he sent me "Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now" as well, I KNEW Korea would be our next destination! So while I finish putting together all the activities and resources for our "trip," here's a glimpse at these two amazing books.

"Maya and the Turtle" is a Korean fairytale written by Soma Han and her husband, John C. Stickler. It tells the story of Maya, a girl who finds a little turtle all alone one day and brings it home to care for it and keep it safe. Many years later, when Maya offers to sacrifice herself to a monstrous centipede in exchange for money to help her ill father, the turtle - who has now grown to an enormous size - in turn sacrifices itself to save Maya. It is a tale of family, love, selflessness, sacrifice, and destiny. The tale was told to Soma by her mother who was told the story by her mother growing up in a small village in Korea. With John's help, Soma translated the tale into English and paired it with her own beautiful watercolor images (seriously, they are amazing!). The story is very well told, something that I know is not always easy to do when you are translating from one language to another. I may have never heard the story told in Korean, but I imagine that this version maintains the essence of the original tale. The new audiobook version is wonderful to listen to as well.

I grew up hearing variations on fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm in addition to a couple Ukrainian fairytales my mom would tell us. Now, I find it so interesting to read folktales from around the world - it's so fascinating to find strings of commonality in tales told on opposite sides of the country! I've actually just discovered Grace Lin's novels based on Chinese folktales and "Maya and the Turtle" reminded me very much of tales of monstrous magical creatures in Lin's novels. 



"Land of Morning Calm" contains the same beautiful illustrations by Soma Han and delves deep into Korean Culture. I would recommend this book for older elementary students as it really goes into detail about various aspects of Korean culture including dress, food, language, celebrations, and the flag. The book also incorporates various legends and folktales which simply add to the book's charm. If you want a taste of Korean culture, I highly recommend this book. It can be used with younger children, but I would plan on reading only a few pages at a time and mixing it with hands-on activities to maintain their interest. 

Please come back next week for a Global Explorers trip to Korea!


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The kids were so interested while we were reading "The Adventures of Keva: The Power of the Trees" by Ebony Zayzay and they had s...

Interview with 'The Adventures of Keva' author Ebony Zayzay


The kids were so interested while we were reading "The Adventures of Keva: The Power of the Trees" by Ebony Zayzay and they had so many questions! Ebony graciously took the time to answer all of our questions and I'm happy to share them with you all!



Cardboard Mom: Is this your first children's book?

Ebony Zayzay: Yes. I recently began to release children's books in 2021, amidst the pandemic and birth of my first child. I always had an interest in telling stories and encouraging a love for reading.

CM: What inspired you to create the character of Keva?

EZ: I wanted to create characters that looked like me and that other children, especially minority, were able to relate to. In mainstream publishing, they are starting to increase the number of stories featuring minority or BIPOC protagonists; however, as an independent publisher, I have the ability to create more niche stories to appeal to this audience.

CM: What country/area inspired the setting for this story?

EZ: I was inspired by the forest that I grew up with in North Carolina, as well as rainforests in Latin America. I traveled to Costa Rica in the past and was completely amazed by the trees.

CM: What kind of tree is Iya modeled after? What made you decide to write about the power of trees? Do you have a favorite kind of tree?

EZ: I modeled the tree, Iya, based on the Kapok Tree native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South American, and West Africa.

I personally always had a deep appreciation for trees, and I still stare at them in amazement of their beauty and history. I really love the multitude of trees in North Carolina, especially when the leaves start to change in the fall. I would say one of the more interesting trees that I've come across is the Socratea exorrhiza, the walking palm or cashapona, which is a palm native to rainforests in tropical Central and South America. I discovered this on my aforementioned trip to Costa Rica. It actually moves location based on the location of the sun!

Chloe, 11: What language is Iya? Does Keva mean something?

EZ: Iya means 'mother' in West Africa, which is where my husband originates. In the story, I mention 'we call her Iya as she gives so much,' as mothers often do. While Keva means 'beautiful/gentle,' which is perfect for this character who has a beautiful spirit and gentleness with nature.

Lil C, 9: How do people use bark to heal wounds?

EZ: It is stated that more than 121 natural remedies in the rainforest can be used as medicine. For instance, there are instances in which bark has been used to help with inflammation, high blood pressure and arthritis. One fun example for children is that the bark and leaves of Christmas trees, or the Scottish Pine, have been used to treat arthritis or improve lung health. However, I'm no medical expert and cannot guarantee the results ;-) 

Resources: 

Chloe, 11 and Lil C, 9: Why did they take Iya out of the ground? What were the people going to do with her? Who were they? (the girls were very upset at the people who took Iya and extremely interested in their purpose)

EZ: Trees like Iya are used for furniture, homes, paper, etc. In the case of Iya, she is very special as she's filled with magic, which may or may not have led to her removal. This is to be discovered in future stories.

CM: Will there be more adventures to come?

EZ: Yes. I plan to tell more stories of her adventures of discovering the magic of the outdoors.


I don't know about you, but I CAN'T wait to read about Keva's next adventure! I think this series will be so inspirational for the next generation of nature lovers and protectors. If you're interested in activities to go along with the book, you can sign up for Ebony's mailing list at www.zayzayco.com to receive activity sheets. And if you missed our review of "The Adventures of Keva: The Power of the Trees," read it here.

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