Food is a great looking glass to other cultures. As Chinese New Year is right around the corner (January 23rd), now is a great time to teach your kids about this holiday and the food that goes with it. It’s also a great opportunity to eat with chopsticks—something every kid loves. We’re celebrating with the new children’s book, Crouching Tiger (Candlewick Press, 2011), by my friend and writer, Ying Chang Compestine. Couching Tiger is a picture book about her son Vinson, and his grandpa who is visiting from China. Vinson (or Ming Da) wants his grandpa to teach him tai chi, but when he sees how slow it is, Vinson soon gets bored. The story shows how Vinson comes to understand and embrace his grandpa and his ancient Chinese customs. It’s perfect for boys as it introduces them to the notion that martial arts is not about fighting and that strength can be gentle.
Ying’s other books are The Story of Kites, The story of Chopsticks and the Runaway Rice Cake—all sweet children’s stories about Chinese culture. You can find more on them at http://www.yingc.com/.
To accompany the book, whip up some longevity noodles, which are typically eaten for the new year to bring good luck. –Jill Melton