Tag Archives: books

Read Some Lucky Books For St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is usually known for the wearing of the green, shamrocks, leprechauns, and green beverages. But as you celebrate this year, consider reading a few books about Irish history, culture, and humor – kid-friendly, of course! Here are some suggestions, but feel free to share your own.

St. Patrick and the Three Brave Mice by Joyce Stengel and Herb Leonhard

Too Many Leprechauns: Or How That Pot o’ Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow by Stephen Krensky and Dan Andreasen

The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola

That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover! by Lucille Colandro and Jared D. Lee

 

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Black History Month By the Books

Although we at KidCulture think that any month – and every month – is a good time to learn about other people and cultures, we’re happy to celebrate Black History Month with a list of some books you can share with kids to give them a better appreciation for the history, culture, and talents of the diverse group of people we honor this month.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally Walker

What Color is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul Jabbar

We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Baseball League by Kadir Nelson

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Halloween Round-up

It’s finally here!

Whether you’ve had your costume ready for months or are still scrambling to put something together, the big day has arrived.

Hopefully, you and your family will have a safe and happy Halloween.

While you’re digesting your Halloween candy, you might like to read some past KidCulture posts about Halloween.

From learning about the cultural origins of Halloween where it is celebrated around the world to learning about some Halloween-themed kids’ books you might like to read, there’s still plenty to learn about the holiday.

Halloween Celebrations Around the World

Halloween Book List

Most Popular Candies Around the World

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Cooking the Books for Some Kid Fun!

readingTwo of my favorite hobbies as a child (and adult) were reading and eating delicious foods.

To this day, there are some foods that I continue to associate with favorite books.

For example, when I read Little House on the Prairie, I longed to taste Ma’s flapjacks.

In The Long Winter, which I read in the summer, I could feel the chill of the blizzards she described seeping from the page and into my fingers. I compensated for their intense hunger by making sure I didn’t miss a meal!

That one book may have inadvertently led to my habit of hoarding food in the pantry when winter begins peeking over autumn’s shoulder!

Little Woman made me long for crisp, delicious apples just like the kind Jo March ate while reading sad romances in the attic on a threadbare old couch. And when Meg made blancmange for Laurie when he was sick, I puzzled over what on earth the strange food could be (it’s kind of like a pudding or flan).

For younger children, there are other excellent books that really evoke a food, culture, or cuisine.

Who hasn’t had a craving for EVERYTHING after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the one-millionth time? I imagine generations of parents finally getting their children off to bed and then heading for the fridge for one cupcake, one pickle, one Ritz cracker, one lollipop, and one stomachache!

PBS’s website, Kitchen Explorers, has a fantastic listing of other children’s books that just scream food.

Some – like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – will be familiar while others will be new.

I know I added several books to my child’s reading list after checking out this article and I hope you will, too.

Happy eating and reading!

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Food, Family, and Chinese New Year

There are few better – or cheaper – ways to introduce your child to other cultures than through food.

With so many great ethnic restaurants, it’s easy for parents to get children accustomed to foods from different countries from an early age.

However, parents may be unsure of what to order that’s kid-friendly.

In honor of Chinese New Year, which runs February 3-15, over the next few days KidCulture will provide some suggestions to help parents choose food in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants.

In each of these countries, people celebrate Chinese New Year by sharing good food with their families and friends – and that’s a custom worth adopting.

So stay tuned for some fresh, fun, food ideas to help you introduce your child to other cultures.

 

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Books About Chinese New Year

Here are some suggestions for children’s books about Chinese New Year. Enjoy!

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright, and Ying-Hwa Hu

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan! By Lauryn Silverhardt, Jason Fruchter, and Aka Chikasawa

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub and Benrei Huang

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine and Sebastia Serra

 

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Global Family Fun: Celebrate Chinese New Year

A little more than a month after most New Year celebrations end comes Chinese New Year, a fantastic opportunity to teach your children about Chinese culture and recommit to all the great intentions with which you started 2011.

Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world in countries with large Chinese populations and those with a significant shared cultural heritage. Indonesia, Malaysia, Chinatowns in North America, Australia, and Europe, as well as Korea, Vietnam, and Japan all celebrate the festival that begins on February 3 this year.

With its focus on family, good fortune, health, and happiness, Chinese New Year has many elements parents can adapt for their children.

For example, families in China prepare for the new year by thoroughly cleaning their homes in order to remove bad luck and make way for good fortune. However, they believe that it is very important that no one sweeps during the first few days of the new year because cleaning will remove the good luck once the new year begins.

Homes are decorated in red, the luckiest color, and adorned with intricate Chinese paper cuts. By putting up Chinese New Year decorations, you’re getting a head start on Valentine’s Day, which also incorporates red decorations.

Family visits are an important part of New Year celebrations and people usually buy new clothes. Your family can adapt this custom by planning a visit to an elderly neighbor or relative. They’ll be happy to see you whether you’re wearing new clothes or not!

Like most holidays around the world, food is a big part of the celebration. Throughout the holiday, families will share meals that include dumplings, fish, duck, chicken, noodles, and sweets.

Preparing the dumplings, in particular, is a family activity. Parents, grandparents, and children work together to prepare enough dumplings for the feast. Extended family and friends are invited so families have to be ready to feed a large crowd.

On the morning of the new year, children wish their parents health and happiness. In return, they are presented with leisee, money in red envelopes decorated with gold to signify wealth.  Children also are given oranges. The Chinese name for “orange” sounds the same as the word for luck or fortune.

Families cap off activities by setting off fireworks and some towns organize parades complete with lifelike dragons and lions. One of the most famous parades outside of China takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

One final element of the holiday is forgiveness. People are urged to reconcile with each other and welcome the new year in with peace. That is especially fitting in 2011 as the ferocious and volatile Year of the Tiger gives way to the easy prosperity and peaceful negotiation of the Year of the Hare.

Although Chinese New Year celebrations last for more than two weeks, you can be a lot less ambitious with your activities. Sharing a special dinner, cleaning the house together, or making some special decorations are all you really need to do to give your family a flavor of the holiday and teach them about Chinese culture. Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

 

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French Onion Soup

Although well-known in the United States (it even appears on the TGI Friday’s menu), French Onion Soup is actually an ancient soup that originated in France and is typically affiliated with the poor because it was cheap and simple soup to make.

This French Onion Soup recipe comes from Chef Danielle at CookingClarified.com.

Of all the soup’s we’ve covered so far, this is likely the only one my mother will make! French Onion Soup is one of her favorites. Bon appetite, maman!

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Sweet Corn and Sweet Potato Soup

Today’s Sweet Corn and Sweet Potato soup is an original recipe from Chef Danielle Turner, author of CookingClarified.com.

Although Chef Danielle created the recipe, it relies on typical ingredients – corn and sweet potatoes – used by Southeastern Native American Indians.

As Chef Danielle says, “This soup is summer in a bowl.” We hope you enjoy it!

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Peruvian Beef Stew

Peruvian Beef Stew

Photo courtesy of latina.com

Peruvian cuisine is known as one of the best in South America. Its influences range from the indigenous people to immigrants from Spain, Italy, China, Japan, and West Africa.

Peru’s traditional staples are corn, beef, and potatoes. You could easily add potatoes to this recipe, from Cooking the South American Way, to incorporate all of those foods.

Peruvian Beef Stew

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 ½ lb. round steak, cubed

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. salt

¼ c. white wine vinegar

2 c. beef bouillon

2 c. squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 c. frozen peas

1 c. frozen corn

3 sprigs parsley

Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions.

Add meat and brown well, about 20 minutes. Add all spices, the vinegar, and the beef bouillon. Bring to a boil, stirring to mix well. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes. Add squash, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add peas and corn and heat thoroughly. Garnish with parsley.

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