Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts

The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany's Gift of Hope -- Multicultural Book Review

 Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. They also sent me a copy to giveaway! As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation. 

I wanted to share a multicultural book with you for Multicultural Monday!! The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany's Gift of Hope by Daryn Reicherter and illustrated by Christy Hale is based on a true story. It seems appropriate to be sharing it now with the posts I have seen comparing Cambodia in the 1970's to Syria today. This story is about the life of a woman who was a refugee from Cambodia.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella

I thought I would try to finish the fairy tales that I know of and can get for our series of Fairy Tales in Different Cultures. This one is Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella and the version I used is written by Jewell Reinhart Coburn. Since i have been away this weekend and have had one of those days, I am going to skip giving you information about Cambodia. I also am using crafts we have shared in the past. To see the original post, just click on the picture!

A lonely fisherman lives with his daughter, Angkat, in Cambodia in a riverside home. Angkat (which means ash child) was dutiful and obedient. Beyond the fisherman's ponds lived a widow with her daughter, Kantok. Kantok was beautiful, but no redeeming qualities. The fisherman met the widow one day and shortly after they became married. The stepmother wanted Kantok to become the Number One daughter in the family. Angkat was upset and protested since the Number One daughter rightfully would be her. The stepmother proposed a test of fishing. The daughter who came back with the most fish would be Number One daughter. The Number Two daughter would have to serve the family without complaint. 

On the day Angkat took her basket and went into the cold pond and caught four fish. Kantok, who was lazy, dilly dallied along the way and arrived at the pond as Angkat was finishing. Angkat was cold and tired so she came out and wrapped her dry sampot around her. She wedged her basket with four fish in it between two rocks in the river and took a nap.

While Angkat slept, Kantok stole three of the fish from her basket and tipped the basket over to make it look like they escaped on their own and then ran home with the three fish. When Angkat woke up she found her stepsister gone and only one fish in her basket. She knew she was doomed to be the Number Two daughter. On her way home she let the poor little fish in her basket go in one of her father's ponds. While out doing her chores one day a shimmering fish came out of the pond and spoke to her. She recognized the little fish and saw a good spirit possessed it. She began to feed the little fish some of her rice. After this Angkat was no longer lonely. 
Blue Fish with Rainbow Fish Qualities

Kantok got suspicious of what was making Angkat so happy and followed her one day. She saw Angkat feed the fish some rice. The next day when Angkat was down the river fishing, Kantok caught the fish and brought him home for lunch.

Angkat was so upset when she realized her small friend was gone. She ran home to her mat and cried. The spirit of virtue appeared to her and told her what happened to her friend and told her to get the fishbones and put them under her mat that night. The next morning a beautiful pair of golden slippers were under her mat. The Spirit of Virtue told her to leave one that night by the open window and the other under her mat, and she did. She woke up to a large black bird carrying away the slipper. She was very upset.

Shortly after the prince was out walking in the palace gardens when a bird swooped down and dropped the golden slipper into his hands. At first he wondered why the slipper was dropped there, but decided that it was to help determine who his bride should be. He began the search for the woman who could fit the slipper. The stepmother, father and Kantok left to have Kantok try on the slipper telling Angkat she had too much work to do to try  it on. The stepmother took a bowl of rice and scattered it over the nearby field. She told Angkat she could attend the celebration after she had collected every single grain of rice. Angkat's father did not speak up for Angkat and left with his wife and stepdaughter. After they left a flock of chicken appeared and quickly filled her basket with every grain of rice, so Angkat could go to the celebration and try on the slipper. She quickly changed into her best sarong and hid the other beautiful slipper inside and set off to the palace. 

The prince was happy to see her when she arrived since no one had fit into the slipper. He insisted on having her do it right away and of course it fit perfectly and she pulled the other one out. He married her after the court women prepared her to be a princess with silk, fragrant oils and a multitude of flowers. The prince and Angkat were happily married and truly loved one another. However her entire family was very jealous of her and developed a scheme to get rid of her and have Kantok take her place. Her father sent a message to the prince saying he was gravely ill and needed his daughter home with him. Since the prince loved Angkat he permitted her to go.

When she arrived she was ordered to make her father hot soup. When she got close to the big pot on the fire, they knocked it over on her and killed her. They put sad looks on their faces and went to tell the prince of Angkat's death. They offered him Kantok as a substitute wife. The prince allowed her to stay at the palace to honor Angkat's memory. He was grief struck.

When the stepmother and father returned home they discovered a large beautiful red-leafed banana plant in the very place Angkat had been killed. The stepmother ordered the father to get rid of it since she feared Angkat's spirit had come back to haunt them. He got out his machete and cut it down in pieces then he went far into the forest and spread the pieces out. Everywhere a piece landed sturdy bamboo shoots rose from the ground.

The companions of the prince took him on a hunting trip to try to get his mind off Angkat's death. They decided to camp in a bamboo grove. While sleeping there he heard something comforting in the wind. He listened more closely and then ordered that all the bamboo be dug up and brought back to the palace. Then he sat in his bamboo grove each day.

One day he heard Angkat's voice telling him she was with him. The prince begged the Spirit of Virtue for the return of his true love. First he saw her faintly and then they touched hands. When Kantok looked out the palace window and saw this, she screamed and ran away from the palace. The family was banished from Cambodia and the prince eventually became king with Angkat his queen. They ruled over the kingdom in peace and joy for many years.

I found this version so interesting since the father was not just an invisible bystander or dead. He actually helped devise a plan to kill his own daughter. I also see so many ties to other Asian versions of the story. There is the fish which is in the Middle Eastern version, Chinese versions, Vietnamese version, and Thai version. Many of these also include the scattering of the rice with the aid of some birds. The Egyptian version has a bird that drops the slipper in the pharaoh's hands. You can see how the story has changed in different countries, but how it probably started as the same story at some point.

For more Cinderella in different culture posts:

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month -- Book Round-Up

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. I always feel bad about this month. It happens at such a busy time of the year and is often overlooked. May was chosen to mark the anniversary of the first Japanese immigration and the completion of the transcontinental railroad. (The majority of the workers on the railroad were Chinese immigrants.) It also represents such a large area. Asian-Pacific Island includes all of Asia and the islands in the Pacific including New Zealand and the Polynesian Islands. It covers a huge area. (Source)
Source: World Atlas
Although we have no Asian or Pacific Island heritage that I know of, I like to teach Hazel about all the various cultures. I always describe myself as an American mutt since I have quite a mixture of European ancestors and even have some that can be traced to the Mayflower. There is a story in our family history of someone marrying a Native American as well, but I do not know the details. As such I do not identify with any ethnicity besides American and I find it interesting to look at the different ones around. To begin looking into Asian and Pacific Island Heritage we went to the library for books.

General Asian Stories and Picture Books

  • A is for Asia by Cynthia Chin-Lee
  • Asian Children's Favorite Stories by David Conger, Marian Davies Toth & Kay Lyons
  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester
  • Come Look With Me: Asian Art by Kimberly Lane
  • I Dreamed I was a Panda by Debra A. Johnson
  • Floating Clouds, Floating Dreams Favorite Asian Folk Tales edited by I. K. Junne
  • Moon Magic: Stories from Asia by Katherine Davison
  • The Tiger's Whisker and Other Tales from Asia and the Pacific by Harold Courlander
  • Folk Tales from Asia by  Asian Cultural Centre for Unesco
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo and More Stories to Celebrate Asian Heritage DVD produced by Weston Wood Studios, Inc.
Asian Crafts and Animals

  • Asian Kites by Wayne Hosking
  • Haiku: Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids by Patricia Donegan
  • Asian-American Crafts Kids Can Do! by Sarah Hartman
  • A Kid's Guide to Asian American History by Valerie Petrillo
  • Asian Crafts by Judith Hoffman Corwin
  • Monkeys of Asia and Africa by Patricia A. Fink Martin
  • Really Wild Animals: Adventures in Asia DVD produced by National Geographic Society
Next I took some of the many countries in the area and found some picture books to read with Hazel. I am sure there are more and of course there are more countries, but at least this is a start. I am going to add a link party to the end so people can add their own favorite Asian and/or Pacific Island themed books to help learn about the cultures and celebrate the month. Many of these books are about immigrants' experiences in coming to America or leaving their country. Since there are so many, I am not going to list each one. I will however list the ones I have posted about previously with links in case you want to learn more.


The Year of the Horse is part of a series of books about the Chinese Zodiac

The Phillipines


Sora and the Cloud Review



Asian-Pacific Cinderella Tales

Wishbones and Yeh-Shen

If you know a good book to learn about an Asian or Pacific Island culture or to help celebrate this month, please list its title and author in this link party and share with us all!! You do not need to link a review or post about the book!!