Please welcome my guest author today, Harshita Jerath! She has a book list of gingerbread men in different cultures! We are also giving away a copy of her book, The Leaping Laddoo! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
The Leaping Laddoo by Harshita Jerath, illustrated by Kamala M Nair
In this fun, cultural variation of the Gingerbread classic, an Indian dessert, laddoo (luh-DOO), runs away from the hands of its maker. Series of characters such as the kids playing cricket, the groom on an elephant, dancers, chai vendor, and other characters run after the haughty Laddoo to savor a bite, starting a rollicking chase on the streets of India. Sprinkled with Hindi words, tongue twister, and vibrant illustrations, this story transports readers to Indian streets. [picture book, for ages 4 and up]
I’ve always loved folktales. The familiarity with these classics feels like a cozy rendezvous with a dear friend you’ve known forever. The Gingerbread Man story is one such timeless folktale. The story’s repetitive elements and simple structure render it a perfect playground to experiment with different settings. These variations offer an opportunity for the young readers to learn about new cultures and make connections. Today I’m sharing with you the list of The Gingerbread Man variations set up in different cultures.
Gingerbread Men in Different Cultures
Kolobok by Natasha Bochkov, illustrated by Tim Friesen
Kolobok is a traditional Russian folk tale in which a freshly baked bun is bored and decides to run away from the window into the forest where different wild animals chase him until he finds a trickster fox. The refrain is catchy for kids to singalong, “From the dough, I was made, in the oven, I was baked…” [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Matzah Man: A Passover Story by Naomi Howland
This story is a fun read-aloud variation of the Gingerbread Man, highlighting the Passover traditions of Jewish culture. In this Matzah Man, a flat cracker-like bread escapes from Mr. Cohen’s bakery and is followed by a series of characters preparing for the Passover meal. Yiddish words are fun to listen to, and the glossary of the Passover terms at the end is very helpful to understand the terms used in the book. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Runaway Latkes by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz
In this Jewish spinoff, three potato pancakes, called latkes, escape from the pan and are chased by the rabbi, cantor, and other characters. The chase continues until the latkes dove right into the Hanukkah miracle. This story made me hungry for some latkes, and I’m sure it will make you want some too. I appreciated the note, in the beginning, mentioning the significance of Hanukkah and the cultural details. The recipe at the end is a bonus. Kids would love its catchy refrain. “Big and round, crisp and brown, off we role to see the town.” [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Erik Brooks
With a traditional opening of ‘once upon a time’, this story is a Texan cowboy variation of the classic. The haughty tortilla escapes and is followed by desert animals until he finds his match in Señor Coyote. The Spanish names of animals and the numbers are fun to read aloud and provide an opportunity to learn another language. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Tungwai Chau
Nian-Gao, a Chinese rice cake, flees from a poor family’s house. This story is filled with cultural details of Chinese New Year, and the ending has a good lesson about compassion and sharing that brings the whole community together. The recipe of Nian-Gao and a description of the Chinese New Year celebration are much appreciated. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Cajun Cornbread Boy by Dianne De Las Casas, illustrated by Marita Gentry
If you’re from Louisiana and love the Cajun culture, this book is for you. In this delightful read-aloud, the Cajun cornbread escapes from its maker, speeding past hungry animals like raccoon and fox, ultimately meeting an artful alligator who learns his lesson from this spicy bread. It’s a sweet tale with a recipe at the end. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The King Cake Baby by Keila Dawson, illustrated by Vernon Smith
This fun zippy tale where a plastic baby hidden inside a traditional Mardi Gras King Cake escapes until he meets a baker who knows where he really belongs. This story takes the readers through the New Orleans Mardi Gras festival elements. This story would equally excite the readers familiar with New Orleans and eager to learn more about this city. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Despite a universal storyline of food coming to life and starting a chase, the cultural details in these stories add a distinct flavor. And next time your family is getting ready for dinner, these stories make you wonder if the food would wiggle-jiggle, come to life and run away.
The Leaping Laddoo! GIVEAWAY!
We are also giving away a copy of her book, The Leaping Laddoo! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. mailing addresses.
Harshita Jerath (pronounced her-SHE-ta) loves writing stories for children. She draws inspiration from her growing-up memories in India and the colorful world around her. She’s a science graduate in Industrial Microbiology with a Master’s equivalent in Hospital Administration. Harshita is represented by agent Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Literary Agency. To find out more about Harshita and her books visit her website at http://harshitajerath.com and her blog ipenlife.com where she shares her views about everyday life, and follow her on Twitter @hjerath and Instagram.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.