Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
What to do…what to do…If you are like us, the summer is an exciting time to discover new books, break out the art project we’ve been promising ourselves to start since February, and try every popsicle flavor from the ice cream truck.
Summer is the time to beat the heat, right? Whether that means hunting for air conditioning or jumping into a pool, we are here to keep you and your family loving books while you keep cool.
Over the coming weeks, we are pairing Lee & Low titles to your favorite summer destinations with fun activities!
Your summer outing: the ZOO
Book recommendation: Parrots Over Puerto Rico
If you haven’t heard already, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year, creating a hybrid holiday known across the internet as Thanksgivukkah. This overlap won’t happen for another 70,000 plus years, meaning people have been coming up with some very creative ways to celebrate (turkey menorahs aka menurkies, anyone?).
While it’s fun to enjoy the novelty of this rare holiday, November is also Native American Heritage Month, which means we’re thinking about the complicated history of Thanksgiving, but also giving thanks for recent steps that have been taken towards Native American equality. November 29 is Native American Heritage Day, and we can’t think of a better way to honor the day with a some great books about American Indians, including Killer of Enemies and Under the Mesquite.
Rainbow Stew, our colorful spring picture book by award-winning author/illustrator Cathryn Falwell, is out today! This one is definitely up there among our top 10 picture books in terms of sheer adorableness, I think. Exhibit A:
Readers will delight in the vibrant colors of this rainy day adventure, which Kirkus Reviews called “a story that positively revels in family togetherness and good food.”
To celebrate its release, we’re sharing Cathryn Falwell’s recipe from the back of the book so you can make your very own Rainbow Stew! It’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure kind of recipe, so you can make it lots of different ways depending on your own tastes.
Today is Chinese New Year! Traditionally, the night before Chinese New Year, Chinese families will gather around and eat dinner together, much like this plate from the LEE & LOW title, Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic:
Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic author and illustrator Ginnie and Beth Lo were kind enough to share one of their favorite soybean recipes with us: Mapo Tofu! While not a traditional Chinese New Year dish, the Lo sisters say that “mapo tofu is a Lo family favorite that we eat on the holidays, Christmas, and Chinese New Year.”
On Thanksgiving, everyone looks forward to the turkey. Valentine’s Day is the time for chocolate. During Chinese New Year, one of the most popular dish is one called jai, or Buddha’s Delight.
Jai is a vegetarian dish and is eaten on the first day of Chinese New Year to bring good luck. According to Buddhist tradition, no animal or fish should be killed on the first day of the lunar new year, thus, a dish with lots of vegetables is considered purifying.
While most of the ingredients are probably not available at your local grocery store, they can be found at Asian grocery stores in many parts of the country.
Thanksgiving is the best holiday, ’cause it’s all about food. I mean, it’s also about being thankful, and about our country’s complicated history, but: turkey! stuffing! PUMPKIN PIE!
Here are some favorite food-related traditions and recipes from the Lee & Low staff:
Keilin, Marketing/Publicity Intern:
One food-related Thanksgiving tradition that my family does is something AFTER the actual meal. My family takes all the turkey meat to save for sandwiches, but we also save the turkey bones! We use them to make a Chinese rice porridge called “jook.” Usually, jook is made with chicken and pork bones, but for the next week or so, my family gets to enjoy turkey jook! It has a different (albeit subtle) taste, and it’s something I look forward to every year!
In this post, our marketing intern Keilin Huang dishes on rotis around the world:
In one of our new LEE & LOW books released this October, Drummer Boy of John John, a young Trinidadian boy named Winston dreams of being in the best band in the Carnival parade, so he can get some of the Roti King’s famous rotis. As Winston puts it, “Carnival jus’ ain’t right without a roti.”
Winston craves these “folded pancakes filled with chicken and secret herbs and spices,” but what exactly is a roti? The word roti means “bread” in Hindi, Urdu, most other North Indian languages, and Malay, and is essentially a round, flat, bread that is cooked on a griddle:
Congratulations to our picture book Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic, which just received its THIRD starred review! School Library Journal calls it “a stellar title that will rest comfortably next to acclaimed picture-book memoirs by Allen Say, Peter Sís, and Uri Shulevitz.”