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Love Like Chocolate

Love Like Chocolate

Love Like Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Like Chocolate

Yracy Banghart

Alina Chau

Little, Brown, 2024

40pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9780316408516 

As a family welcomes an adopted little girl to their home, her brother takes it upon himself to teach his new sister their traditions. For good days and bad, for birthdays, holidays, and everything in between, their family always celebrates with chocolate. They make super chewy chocolate chip cookies in the spring, very-berry chocolate-cherry mousse in the summer, chocolate banana pancakes in the fall, and warm chocolate sauce in the winter. But the boy soon realizes that his sister might have favourite treats of her own, and that if they work together, they can create new traditions and memories together.

The author’s note at the back says that this book was, in part, inspired by her family’s experiences in welcoming a child from Thailand into their family, and so this is a story that will allow adoptees to see themselves in a story, but I believe its broader appeal will be because of the subject matter because one of the truisms of this world is that chocolate makes everything better.

And just as the children share and make recipes, it provides an opportunity to be the centrepiece of a display that encourages children from throughout the school to share their special chocolate recipes (focusing on procedural texts), perhaps even sparking new friendships, as well as investigating all other things chocolate. Often the most unexpected storybooks can lead to all sorts of discoveries and this has the potential to do that. 

Words Between Us

Words Between Us

Words Between Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words Between Us

Angela Pham Krans

Dung Ho

HarperCollins US, 2024

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780063224544

Felix and Grandma have always lived oceans apart—until the day Grandma arrives in the city from Vietnam. Felix is so excited to meet Grandma and spend time with her. But it’s tricky when he speaks no Vietnamese and she speaks no English. They get by with both showing each other special things like Felix’s pet iguana Pete and Grandma showing him how to care for the garden but one day, when Felix and Grandma are visiting a big festival,  Grandma gets lost and doesn’t know how to ask for help.  It is then that Felix decides to teach her English, and by working together and teaching each other, they bond closely as they learn to share words as well, culminating in their shared love of pizza.

With end papers that have flashcard translations of common words, (and Grandma’s recipe for pizza), this is another story like I Hear a Buho and Giovanni  that allows us to share and celebrate the languages spoken by our students as they take the opportunity to teach us the common words for the things that unite us regardless of our heritage.  Having bilingual books in our collections and actively promoting them is a way that we can build bridges and open doorways for those who are not native English speakers by showing them that we value what they can bring to the teaching and learning experience.  

For many newcomers to this country not speaking the common language can be a very isolating experience, compounding the difficulties of what must have already been a difficult decision, but if we can reach out to families through stories – perhaps even inviting them into the library to share the stories of their childhood in their own language to encourage those of the same background to hear them and learn about them – we show the parents, particularly the mothers, that we care and that their child will not be lost.  And, in return, we all gain so much!!!

Saturday is Pancake Day

Saturday is Pancake Day

Saturday is Pancake Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday is Pancake Day

Bernadette Green

Daniel Gray-Barnett

Scribble, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781761380389

Saturday is pancake day when Papa Milo makes his famous pancakes and everyone gathers round for a delicious breakfast.  But, strangely, today Dada Henry doesn’t want to get out of bed to join them.  

Determined to tempt him down Gwendolyn, Lily and Lena raid the pantry to concoct something new and more appealing, coming up with some special pancakes like ‘Good Morning Green Ice Cream’ made with pickles, spinach, and mayonnaise as well as a scoop of ice cream for sweetness, but Dada Henry just pulled the covers up further.  IS there any combination that will persuade him to get out of bed? Is it that he is not hungry or is there another reason?

Despite the fun and silliness of creating the weirdest flavour combinations, there is a serious side to this story as young readers might speculate on why Dada Henry is finding it hard to get out of bed. Astute readers may see that there is no Mama or Nana in the story, so perhaps today is a special day of memories for Dada Henry or they may bring their own experiences to the fore and suggest other reasons.  Whatever the reason, the common thread is the love in the family and how they are all willing to pull together to make sure that Dada Henry is okay.

A gentle reminder that sometimes even grown-ups need some time to themselves to regather and regroup. 

 

 

Artichoke to Zucchini

Artichoke to Zucchini

Artichoke to Zucchini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artichoke to Zucchini

Alice Oehr

Scribble, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781761380617

Many of us grew up learning that healthy eating was based on selecting something from the five food groups each day…

 

Five Food Groups

Five Food Groups

And then we learned that we should be judicious in our choices using the Food Pyramid as a guide…

Food Pyramid

Food Pyramid

Then we were encouraged to eat a rainbow every day…

Food Rainbow

Food Rainbow

So it seems only logical that now we can indulge in an entire alphabet of food in this beautifully illustrated new release from graphic artist Alice Oehr, a follow up to her successful first book, Off to Market. a CBCA Notable and the Winner of the 2023 ABIAs Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year.

A is for artichokes and long spears of asparagus. It’s for bright, creamy avocados and salty little anchovies …

While these sorts of books appear, on the surface, to be for very young readers learning new vocabulary as they pick out those foods they recognise, they have a much wider value as we try to encourage little ones to learn to make healthy choices from the get-go.  Students can have fun classifying the various foods into those familiar food groups; they can tick off those they have tried and those they are yet to try; they can suggest foods they know that start with a particular letter but which haven’t been included on the page; those from other countries can contribute foods they are familiar with which we might not know; they can seek out recipes and ways to cook and prepare the foods they are unfamiliar with; they can carry out research and data collection of favourite foods; they might even venture into the history of food, the concept of food miles, traditional foods for traditional celebrations – the list is endless.

This is the first book I’ve reviewed for this company and if this is the calibre, then we are in for some good stuff.  I’m just glad I did the review after my healthy chicken and salad meal! 

I’d Rather Eat Chocolate

I'd Rather Eat Chocolate

I’d Rather Eat Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d Rather Eat Chocolate

Narelle Wynter

Rebecca Cool

Little Steps, 2023

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

 9781922833365

I don’t like veggies,’ I say with a sigh.
‘I’d rather eat chocolate, a cake or French-fry.’

Every day Dad tries to persuade the child to eat their veggies because “they’ll make you grow strong and keep bad colds away” but  such logic doesn’t work when it’s heard over and over again. After the child declares that maybe they will eat meat all the time so they will be like “a lion or wild crocodile”,  dad hits on a more interesting line of persuasion.  Perhaps if the child ate broccoli like goats that jump everywhere, they too could be better at jumping and scoring in their basketball matches.  Or ate mushrooms like bears to get stronger or snow peas like chickens or zucchinis like deer… 

Complete with amusing rhymes, illustrations and even QR codes to find recipes for the various vegetables, this could be one to entice fussy eaters to vary their diet and try new things.  Although, I’m with the kid – I would rather eat chocolate…

Chloe’s Lunar New Year

Chloe's Lunar New Year

Chloe’s Lunar New Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chloe’s Lunar New Year

Lily LaMotte

Michelle Lee

HarperCollins. 2024

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780063076518

It’s almost Lunar New Year, and Chloe can’t wait to celebrate! But first, Chloe and her family must prepare for the new year. They buy new shoes, lay out good-luck oranges in a bowl, decorate the red envelope, and make a crispy turnip cake. Everyone comes together to cook a fantastic feast, saving a plate for A-má, no longer with them, of course. Chloe enjoys the festive celebration and yummy food, but most of all, she loves spending time with her family.

As many of our students start to prepare for their most important annual celebration, just as with the traditions of Christmas there are core elements that all observe, but this story focuses on the traditional things that form part of the Taiwanese version of the celebration, particularly the reunion dinner. There are many dishes, each with a special significance for individual members of the family and it is this coming together and sharing this special time that flows through this story.

The upcoming year is the Year of the Dragon, and while this opens up all sorts of possibilities to investigate, perhaps this story will encourage an exploration of how each of our Asian neighbours celebrate, especially the different emphases on various elements and the food that is shared.   Students could share their stories, acknowledging their culture and customs and feeling that they are continuing those traditions by teaching others about them.  A search of SCIS shows very few picture books about this important celebration that are readily available in Australia, so maybe this is an opportunity to collect the students’ stories and create a new resource for the collection. 

Orlando’s Garden

Orlando's Garden

Orlando’s Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando’s Garden

Stephanie Paulsen

Valery Well

Little Steps, 2023

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

 9781922358585

Orlando lives in a light, bright apartment that has a large balcony where he plays with his trucks and diggers most days, in amongst the plants that his parents have planted in pots and containers..  But mostly he loves going on walks with his parents and discovering all the different plants they see on the way.  He is fascinated by their diversity – their colours, shapes, sizes and textures – so when he plants a bean seed in his sandpit and it sprouts, it is just the beginning of a whole new world of discovery for him.

Including some beginner-gardener activities, this is a story designed to inspire young readers to take an interest in growing things and perhaps even grow their own.  Even if they only have a balcony, there are many things that can be grown in pots – all they need are the right conditions and someone who cares enough to nurture them. 

The rise in school kitchen gardens and the support available for them including how they are integral to the sustainability and environmental strands of  the curriculum  shows that there are many children who are interested in growing things, particularly if they can eat the produce when it is ready, and Orlando’s story is not only an inspiration to get started but also shows that even those living in flats and apartments can join in the fun.  (In fact, he probably grows more there than we can here on acres of thin mountain soil exposed to all weathers.)

As the new term looms, and planting season for many things is on the horizon, this could be one to kickstart some initial planning, particularly using the initial guide from NSW Department of Education.

 

What’s In A Dumpling, Grandma?

What's In A Dumpling, Grandma?

What’s In A Dumpling, Grandma?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s In A Dumpling, Grandma?

Linda Meeker

Sandra Eide

Thomas Nelson,2023

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

 9781400244225

It’s a special day for  Grey and his cousin Mila because they are going to  Grandma’s and she is going to teach them how to cook bánh loc, traditional Vietnamese dumplings.  But it becomes more than just a cooking lesson as Grandma tells of her memories of sharing this heritage comfort food with other loved ones.

Celebrating the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, this is a story that shows that there is so much more in traditional family recipes beyond the physical ingredients. As well as inspiring young readers to investigate their traditional family recipes so they too can learn to make them and pass on their heritage, it has the recipe for Grandma’s fish sauce and a guide to the pronunciation of some of the key Vietnamese words used in the story, perhaps an encouragement for them to learn their ancestral language too. 

The names we have, the way we look and the food we share are perhaps the most important cultural ties that families share, so used with Joanna Ho’s Say My Name , Eyes that Kiss in the Corners,  and Eyes that Speak to the Stars, this could form the basis of a significant unit that not only welcomes all children to the class but encourages each of them to explore and share their heritage. 

The Cubby House Kitchen

The Cubby House Kitchen

The Cubby House Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cubby House Kitchen

Amy Medley

Little Steps, 2023

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922833303

Emma collects apples to make an apple pie in her cubby house kitchen and invites Carlo and Sachi to help her. While they go to get the other ingredients, Emma places her four apples on the windowsill of the cubby and starts to get her utensils ready. But each time she turns around, an apple is missing.  Where are they going? Who or what is leaving the cores with teeth marks in them?  And when there are none left at all, how will she be able to make an apple pie?

Written for early learners, this book is an opportunity for young readers to predict who might be eating the apples while practising their counting skills as they count with Emma. It’s also a chance to introduce the concept of a recipe and its special format, maybe even finding a recipe for an apple pie and making it together with all the talk and measuring and anticipation that that brings, including sharing favourite foods. Something a little different with a lot of potential. 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Lunch

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Lunch

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Lunch

Eric Carle

Puffin, 2023

12pp., board book., RRP $A16.99

9780241618523

 

Remember that very hungry caterpillar that hatched from the egg lying on a leaf when the sun came up one Sunday morning? And then through the week he ate his way through an assortment of healthy fruit until on Saturday he pigged out on an array of goodies?  And then, that night had a stomach ache? 

Well, he’s back!  This time in a series of books that focus on the various meals of the day, in this case lunch.  Each day he has something different, with an emphasis on its colour but while there is the odd treat like a chocolate cookie, he shuns the sticky blue lollipops completely. And of course he finishes with a feast, but this time is is a multicoloured fruit salad!  

The emphasis on healthy choices permeates all four books, but each has a different focus – The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast has a counting theme; The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Dinner is about shapes; The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Snacks introduces opposites while The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Australian Feast is all about what special things a little one might take to a picnic on an Australian beach.  

The VHC has been a constant for generations of children for over 50 years and now another generation can delight in his continuing adventures and learn so much at the same time.