We travel this week to Japan and go back in time with some stories of my family to the Daimyo Shogunate in Japan. I have chosen some kidlit to reflect the duality of Japan versus United States, and have featured artists who are reflected in the books including ukiyo-e masters Hiroshige and Hokusai and the father of Manga, Osamu Tezuka.
To cover the Culture Revolution, I selected Little Leap Forward, a chapter book about living during this time in China. Zen Shorts still remains one of my all time favorite picture books because is manages to combine Chinese Philosopher Chuang Tsu’s parables in a way that is accessible to kids and yet leave adult readers pondering Big Ideas. Finally, for everyone who has a Joy Luck Club story from their homeland, I hope that you all have had a chance to read this book that broke the ground for a new Asian American literature genre twenty-five years ago.
The first book is a picture book that is a really wonderful way to visit another culture with your children. The second book is for young adults. As for the food, I was intimidated to make Sri Lankan food, but the owner’s son who manages the two cafes assured me that this was an easy and delicious recipe that he loved as a child. As for Sri Lanka interior design, it reminds of me of Ralph Lauren when he tries to create romantic images of British Colonial Style. It’s elegant cane furniture crossed with Polynesian style.
Travel to Korea via children’s books, food, and culture with me as I share my husband’s family history of the Yi Dynasty or Choson period, considered the Golden Age of Korea.
I’ve never been to Laos but I want to. My first introduction via children’s literature is from Mali Under the Night Sky, A Lao Story of Home. This story is universal in that it gives a gentle background to the refugee immigrant story and has a place in any classroom or home. I’ve found amazing Lao artisans who work with materials on hand including silver, wood, fibers and more. Finally, The Plain of Jars is fascinating stuff and still a mystery to be solved. Come explore Laos from your armchair with your children!