Review of Indonesian Children's Favorite Stories -- Multicultural Monday


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

January is always an exciting month here at Crafty Moms Share. It always represents Multicultural Children's Book Day since it is held the last Friday in January and the books are reviewed throughout the month of January. I am co-hosting once again this year as well as one of the many book reviewers for the event. Tuttle Publishing is always a sponsor of this event and although this book qualifies to be part of it I am not reviewing it today for Multicultural Children's Book Day. It is one I have on my review shelf before I started getting the books for the event. 

When Hazel was young her favorite books were the stories from other countries. I always found the old stories--myths, legends and fairy tales--taught about the culture in a manner in which even younger children could understand. She loved the stories and with each one you learn a bit about a culture and their beliefs. Today I am sharing Indonesian Children's Favorite Stories by Joan Suyenaga and illustrated by Salim Martowiredjo.

This book shares stories that teach about love, good versus evil, relationships and so much more. Then within each story there is a bit about the various Indonesian cultures and life there long ago. The stories are fun and full of action and the illustrations are bright and colorful.

The cultures are built into the stories as well as the illustrations. One stories even shares why so many of the buildings and head scarfs in Sumatra are shaped like the horns of a buffalo. Like in this building, Anjungan Sumatera Barat. 

Goverment of Jakarta Special Capital Region, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course after reading the story I wanted to look at pictures of the head scarfs and buildings to see the culture. This natural curiosity is taught when we read stories like this. And of course it adds to the story and the lesson on culture. 

I think my favorite story in this book was "The Woodcarver's True Love." It shares a wonderful story of the underdog winning the hand of the princess by giving everything he had. It is a story of love and generosity. It reminds me of the story in the Bible about the widow who throws in her last two coins into the collection at the temple versus the rich man who made a big show of donating much money. Which was the greatest gift is the question Jesus asks. So many of our own stories in our culture have similarities to stories in other cultures. It is always fun to compare them. The differences teach about the culture and the similarities teach about the human mind and beliefs. 

This book is full of eight stories that share a bit about the cultures of Indonesia as well as the life lessons that so many of our own stories share. I hope you will check it out!