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Our Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza is rolling right along and I am truly hoping that our Summer Reading Extravaganza has shown reading families some amazing and fresh summer reading ideas thanks to the many book bloggers who have graced the pages of this blog over the last month and a half.
Cooking with Books: Lucky Birthday Noodles
As a former classroom teacher and now parent, I diligently look for books that will expose my kids to the world. Luckily, it has become easier to do this over the years with more and more choices (although the publishing world still has a long way to go). I also have a love of books that involve food or cooking. The book I’m sharing with you today fits with both of these passions!
Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles by Shan-Shan Chen and Heidi Goodman is a loving story of adoption, Chinese culture and a special birthday treat. This brand-new book published by Tuttle Publishing has been read several times in our house. Mei-Mei is Chinese. She was adopted by a family who flew across the world to get her. It’s important for Mei-Mei’s family to help her learn about her roots and culture. So, on her birthday, Mei-Mei’s mom makes the traditional Chinese dish- long noodles which represent a happy long life. This year Mei-Mei is old enough to help in the dinner preparation. Readers are taken through the day of this birthday celebration. And, the book even includes a recipe for Lucky Birthday Noodles at the end.
I love that the Goodman’s illustrations compliment the text beautifully. And, Mei-Mei’s 6th birthday cake looks as yummy as the noodle dish! This is a book that children of all ages will appreciate.
Author Shan-Shan Chen comes from a long line of restauranteurs. She is often a guest on television where she shows viewers how to prepare Chinese dishes. Chen is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She loves to share Chinese traditions with her family and the public. Chen hopes that this new book will help children learn and celebrate a culture through food.
This book is perfect for encouraging families to get in the kitchen and cook together. My boys enjoyed making and eating the Lucky Birthday Noodle recipe in the back of the book. The kids tried some new foods including bamboo shoots and bok choy. There were also lots of familiar ingredients too! I’ve found that if kids help to prepare or even grow the meal, they are more likely to eat it. We planted a large garden with our neighbor this year. My kids are learning so much about how food grows.
There are so many literacy benefits to having kids work with you in the kitchen. Children work on following directions, reading, listening, developing vocabulary and developing oral communication skills. I aim to have my kids cook or bake at least one recipe a week with me.
I really love the idea of exploring cultures through food. I think we will try to find a book each month that inspires us to explore another culture and cook a native cuisine.
Do you have a favorite book that has inspired you to try a new dish? I’d love to hear your recommendations!
Jodie Rodriguez has a passion for helping caregivers nurture our youngest readers. As a former National Board Certified early-childhood and elementary teacher and administrator she has worked with thousands of families and educators providing best literacy practices. She now stays home with home with her two young sons (ages 2 and 3) and is the creator/founder of Growing Book by Book.