Asian Culture Picture Books

Lee & Low publish a great many of books that focus on specific cultures. We’ve highlighted their Vanishing Cultures books before. Their books kinda follow in the same vein and I was excited to check some of their other works.

Where on Earth is My Bagel? tells the story of Yum Yung who lives in Korea and dreams of eating a New York Bagel. He sends a pigeon with a message to a New York Bakery informing them that he would like a New York Bagel shipped to Korea. While he is awaiting his bagels arrive, he searches his own home country attempting to find the “delicacy.” He visits Farmer Ahn, Fisherman Kee, Beekeeper Lee and Oh’s Heavenly Bakery trying to find a bagel. While in the bakery, the pigeon returns with a message from the bakery in New York, offering the recipe in place of the bagel. In order to complete the recipe to make the bagel, Yum Yung ends up needing wheat from the farmer, sea salt from the fisherman, and honey from the beekeeper. The people within Yum Yung’s Korean community come together to bake this bagel and feast upon it. Given my son’s great love of bagels, I thought this book would be a hit and I was in no way mistaken. Illustrated by Grace Lin, I think the pictures offer the idea to the young reader that they are reading a story that is set within a somewhat unfamiliar culture. This book was really very enjoyable and I love the sing-song fashion in which the story is told. Fabulous, fabulous book.

The Have A Good Day Cafe does a good job at introducing young children to Korean foods. In this story, the young boy’s grandmother moves from Korea to America to be with her son and his family. The family owns a food cart that they operate on a street corner in a big city. Some new food vendors join them at their corner and the family ends up needing a way to set themselves apart from the competition. Grandma feels an intense homesickness for Korea and she comes up with the idea of selling Korean food from their cart. The family does so and the new venture meets with great success! It ends up being a win-win situation because Grandma gets to feel a piece of home, gets to help the family and the family’s business continues to thrive. At the end of the book they have pictured various Korean food dishes. My two year old ran his finger over each of the pictures saying, “That looks good! That looks good! That looks good!” I’m not sure what he’d actually think but I’m rather tempted towards some experimentation of my own in the kitchen!

Both of these books are very well done. Lee & Low have done a really awesome job sharing other cultures and traditions through their picture book series. If you are looking for some help in introducing different parts of the world with your children, make sure you take a look at what Lee & Low have to offer. I bet you’ll find something you like!

Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.

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