Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts

Ultimate Food Atlas -- Explore the World through Food with This Book


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

When Hazel was younger, we loved exploring the world and participated in a blog group celebrating food from around the world. We did the series Around the World in 12 Dishes. I miss it sometimes because it got us exploring different dishes. Some we loved and others not so much. Today I get to share a book that lets you explore the world through food so basically our series in one book sort of. The book is Ultimate Food Atlas: Maps, Games, and Recipes for Hours of Delicious Fun by Nancy Castaldo and Christy Mihaly. It is from National Geographic Kids and is recommended for ages 8 to 12 but could work with younger kids with adult help.

Multicultural Books for Multicultural Monday

Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

January is upon us. Wow, time has been flying. Now that the holidays are over we turn back and look at our lives. Did you make resolutions? I always find January to be bitter sweet. I enjoy the holidays and seeing everyone and they are over. We take our Christmas decorations down and the house seems empty. However as someone who loves diversity there are always more things to look forward to. Multicultural Children's Book Day is January 31st and I am co-hosting again this year. Stay tune for my official posts starting this week. The lunar new year is also approaching. I will be participating in Multicultural Kid Blogs annual blog series on January 20th to share books about China and Korea and their lunar new year celebrations. And of course Martin Luther King Day is this month. So much great stuff. Then February hits with Black History Month. Lots to look forward to. Today I thought I would share four multicultural books with you to start off our January. 

Multicultural Books for Different Ages

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It has been awhile since I did a Multicultural Monday review, but here it is. Today I am going to share with you book for different ages from all over the world and with diverse characters. Hazel loves learning about other countries and cultures. Today I am sharing books that tell tales from other cultures, share about other countries and a multicultural young adult book set in Boston. We will start with All About Thailand by Elaine Russell and illustrated by Patcharee Meesukhon and Vinit Yeesman. 

Picture Books about Night and Sleep

Disclosure: I was sent these books free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Tonight I am going to share some new picture books about sleep and nighttime. Are your kids afraid of nighttime darkness? Or perhaps they just do not like going to sleep? These books are perfect for you then! Our first book is Time Now to Dream by Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. 

Mystery of the Golden Temple -- Multicultural Book Review

 Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Pack-n-Go Girls as part of the Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Every night Hazel and I enjoy reading some stories. Lately she reads one to my parents over the phone and then I read a few picture books to her and then we read a chapter or two from a chapter book. She is very into the Rainbow Magic series, but this past week we also enjoyed reading Mystery of the Golden Temple by Lisa Travis. This book is in a series of books by Pack-n-Go Girls. This is the first book set in Thailand. They have books set is Austria and Mexico and are hoping to come out with a new one this fall set in Brazil. They are also hoping to come out with Pack-n-Go Girls dolls. To do this, they need people's help. Please consider donating something to this kickstarter campaign. It will be open through June 25, 2015. They are almost at their goal, so go help them make it!

Asian Kites

Hazel has been asking to fly a kite for awhile. Somehow whenever we are at my parents, it does not happen. They live near a beach and usually have more wind (and less trees and power lines) than us. Plus my father has some kites or at least he thinks he does. Well I bought her a cheap Disney Princesses kite and we are taking it to my parents' house this weekend. She is so excited. I told her by having her making paper kites in Asian styles with me first. I was really excited to find Asian Kites by Wayne Hosking at our local library.

All of the styles of kites we made came from this book. The book explains how to make real kites with Silkspan, however I was not looking to make kites to fly, but kites to show Hazel different styles from the Asian countries. We made them with paper and streamers. In fact we used leftover black streamers from Oriental Trading that we reviewed in our Minnie Mouse Pinata post. We also substituted drinking straws for the balsa wood to strengthen the kites. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons
The book has a bit of the history of the kite in the Introduction. Although many places say the first kite was flown in China, Asian Kites says it is actually unknown. It is believed that kites date back to two and a half to three thousand years ago. Kites also once carried messages based on their shapes, pictures or other cultural symbols. Eventually every day people began to fly them without a religious significance. There are many theories to how a kite came to be including leaves, trying to emulate birds, the wind blowing a farmer's hat and a tent or sail becoming airborne in the wind. Stories of Chinese kite flying spread through Europe thanks to Marco Polo. In the 15th and 16th centuries examples of kites were brought back from China and the East Indies. In the 18th and 19th centuries Europeans and Americans were using kites for scientific studies of natural elements including developing the flying machine. Asians were still flying kites to celebrate nature and human spirit. Many Asian cultures share their past with kite festivals as well as kite tours.

China gets to boast the first written record of a kite flying dating back to 196 B.C.E. The description tells how the Chinese general Han Hsin flew a kite to help calculate the distance his army would have to tunnel to escape. There are many legends of how the Chinese attempted to use kites in battle. The Chinese also used them for cultural and religious significances. With the invention of paper by Tsai Lun, kites became  a universal folk art and possible for all people to enjoy flying. From a Kite Day Festival to scaring away evil spirits at grave sites, the Chinese have a rich history of kite flying. Today China has six main kite regions. Each region uses a unique kite style. October is the traditional month for kite flying, but due to favorable winds kite flying season usually runs from the Chinese New Year through Qingming, the day for mourning the dead on April 5. 

We chose to make the Butterfly kite. The book describes it as a fair to good flier in light to gentle breezes. The Chinese often make and fly Butterfly kites because they represent beauty and a free spirit. There is also an old saying: "Only the greatest artists go to heaven to paint butterfly wings.

Kites have a long history in Malaysia as well. In fact some scholars believe Malaysia may have been the birthplace of kites. In Malaysia kites are called wau. A legend from the state of Kedah say the knowledge of how to build a kite is an effort to appease the heavens. If you visit northern Malaysia any time from April to June you will most likely see colorful kites flying. During this time they have monsoon winds which are strong enough to fly large kites and also it is after the rice harvest and is a time when farmers and fishermen celebrate life.

We chose to make the Mini Wau. The Mini Wau is a child's kite that is often flown from a stick. Since they believe the wau is a gift from the gods, they fly them in hopes of good fortune. This one I made out of tissue paper which the book said could be used instead of lightweight Silkspan.

Kite flying is very popular in Thailand as well. Oral tradition puts kite flying back in the 13th century when Thailand became a country. The earliest recording of kite flying was a ritual priests performed. They were also part of fighting war as well as just a love of the entire country. Kites often were entangled with the roofs of the royal palace. Eventually there was an edict forbidding flying kites over the palace. Based on a challenge of King Rammi II, a traditional kite game is established and is now a national sport held each March in front of the royal palace. 

We chose to make the Thai Fish kite. It is said to be a fair to good flier in gentle to moderate breezes. The fish is a major source of food in Thailand. It is second only to rice and since both are associated with water they are said to belong together. The fish often represents abundance.

Korea may have gotten kites from China during the period of the Three Kingdoms. Kites are called Yeon in Korea. Kites have not changed much in Korea over the centuries. Kite flying is part of many ceremonies and once again there are many stories of how kites were used. The kite flying season closely relates to the agricultural cycle. Koreans begin flying kites on the first day of the lunar calendar and the kite season lasts for fifteen days. There is also an annual custom of kite fighting. Kite fighting involves trying to cut the other kites' strings. They do not attach blades of any kind, but use skill of the flier and the specially prepared string to do this. Once cut, the freed kite belong to whomever can capture it. They have special kites for kite fighting called a bangpae-yeon or shield kite. There are also special kites to fly on the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar to fight off evil. Traditionally the flier of these kites releases the line after all of the line is out. These special kites include the aeg-mag-i-yon and song-aeg-yon. 

We chose to make the Ga-o-ri-yon or ray fish kite. It is fair to good flier in light to gentle breezes. It is a rhombus shape and resembles a sting ray in the sky. It is typical of children's kites all over Asia. 

During the seventh century Japanese civil servants brought the knowledge of kites and paper from China. Kites held a special importance in Japan and only the privileged class and monks could fly them. The monks used them to keep evil spirits away and invoke a rich harvest. The Japanese considered kites a way to carry petitions to the spirit gods. It is also a traditional Japanese belief that a destroyed kite's soul is released  and is free to be reborn in another kite. There are many Japanese folk stories involving kites. There are approximately 340 different traditional kites made in forty-two districts of Japan. Families share their heritage today through kites on special days like New Year's Day and Children's Day. There are also kite battles in May and June.

We decided to make a kao-no-tako or octopus kite. It is a fair to good flier in gentle to moderate breezes. It comes from Sanjo in Niigato (Japan's west coast). Tako means both octopus and kite. During the Edo Period, kite makers often hung these octopus-shaped kites in front of their stores as a sign of their occupation. 

Those are our Asian kites and some of the things we discovered about kites in Asia thanks to Asian Kites. Over the weekend I hope to share what we have learned about Children's Day in Japan as well as our craft of a carp wind sock (often mistaken for a kite). 

We are sharing this at the Multicultural Kids Blog Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop. If you missed our post co-hosting this blog hop, we shared some Asian-Pacific Island crafts and stories we have done and read to learn more about the cultures in that part of the world.

For more Asian-Pacific Island crafts and stories, check out:

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!!

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Thailand-- Banana Cake

Enter the Little Pim Giveaway!!
This month Around the World in 12 Dishes is stopping in Thailand!! We have had some fun with Thailand. A few weeks ago we shared a wonderful version of Cinderella from Thailand. Today we will share more stories, resources and food!! For a brief introduction to the country of Thailand, visit our Cinderella post.

Around the World in 12 Dishes is brought to you by the following blogs. Each month each of us picks a recipe from the selected country to make with your child(ren) and share it on our blogs. You can see the line-up here.
Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Babes in Deutschland, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids' Makings, The Educators' Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

Hazel and I found many books with recipes from Thailand at the library as well as some multicultural books about food and schools. We looked through them and decided on a recipe for banana cake or kanom gluay. We found this recipe in The Cooking of Thailand by Matthew Locricchio. I adapted it to be gluten free. I also made a Thai dinner, but Hazel did not help with that food since she was tired from school, so we will only be sharing the recipe for the cake.

Banana Cake or Kanom Gluay Recipe adapted from The Cooking of Thailand by Matthew Locricchio. Now the fact that it had rice in it intrigued me and I found some jasmine rice from Thailand to use!

2 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups cold water
5 ripe bananas
1/4 cup cold cooked white jasmine or basmati rice
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut cream (take thick top layer off when open can without shaking or stirring)
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

The first step is to soak the shredded coconut in the cold water for 10 minutes. Then drain in it in a strainer and push the back of a spoon to get more water out. Then set aside 1/4 cup of it to use on the top of the cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and slice the bananas and then add them to a large bowl with the coconut, rice and coconut cream. Using a potato masher, mash these together until well mixed. Set aside.

Break eggs and add sugar to the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer for two minutes.

In separate bowl mix flour and xanthan gum.

Add about 1/3 of the egg mixture to the banana mixture along with 1/3 of the flour mixture. Use electric mixer to mix together. Then add another 1/3 of each and mix. Then put final 1/3 of each in and mix.

Turn mixer off and add coconut milk. Use a rubber spatula to blend it into the batter.

The recipe called for a 10-inch cake pan to be lightly greased and floured. I found it filled 2 9-inch round pans. I used a baking spray instead of butter and flour. Once pan is prepared pour batter into it. Put in oven and bake for 60 to 65 minutes. The cake should be lightly brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then turn out onto the racks. Sprinkle with the coconut you set aside and the confectioners' sugar. Let cool to room temperature before eating!!

All three of us liked the banana cake! Hazel and I tried it warm and found it was too hot and one of them fell apart coming out of the pan too early. I added time to the cooling here to help with this problem. It tasted much better after it was cool.
After making the cake, I made some chicken satay with a peanut sauce and stir fired vegetables (recipe from Sue Townsend's Thailand book). The satay recipe I combined several different ones that I found in the books above. Steve really liked the chicken, Hazel did not like it and I thought it was all right. Being the only one to have tasted satay before, I didn't like it in comparison to what I have had at a Thai restaurant. However we all liked the stir fried vegetables even though it did not really have a sauce on it. The lemon grass and ginger in it was  delicious. Now I went to four grocery stores to find lemon grass, but finally did. We also had sticky rice from Thai with our meal. I also found Thai fortune cookies, which we all liked as well.

We also explored some great books. One of our favorites was Peek!: a Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho. It is a simple story of a father looking for his daughter who is playing hide-and-seek and he keeps finding the various animals of Thailand instead. The Life of Rice and The Story of Silk by Richard Sobol are two amazing books. Richard Sobol is a photographer. He traveled in Thailand for work and discovered the importance of rice to the people there. He went and told the rice farmers story. When he was back during non-rice farming season, he asked what the people in the village were doing and discovered the silk making. These books are about the life of average people in Thailand's small villages and country.

That is what we have explored in Thailand. Now it is your turn. Have you tried cooking a Thai recipe and want to share it here. I hope you will!! And in case you missed it, here are the pages for Thailand passport and placemat!

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: A Cinderella Tale from Thailand

For this week's fairy tale in a different culture we are sharing a Cinderella tale from Thailand. We are exploring Thailand with Around the World in 12 Dishes this month and I happened across this Cinderella tale when I was looking at books from the library that came up with the key word Thailand. The book is Kao and the Golden Fish: A Folktale from Thailand As Remembered by Wilai Punpattanakul-Crouch retold by Cheryl Hamada and illustrated by Monica Liu. Now one thing I loved about this book are the beautiful pictures. The story is wordless, however at the end of the book the story is written in words. The first time through the book, we just looked at the pictures trying to figure out what was happening and then found the story. The second time through I was able to tell the story as we looked at the pictures. I was very happy to discover it was a Cinderella tale. Before we get into the tale, a little about Thailand.
Thailand is officially the Kingdom of Thailand and was formerly known as Siam. It is in Southeast Asia. It is a constitutional monarchy with King Rama IX reigning since 1946. He is the longest serving head of state and the longest reigning monarch in Thailand history. The capital city is Bangkok and it is the largest city in Thailand. 

Thailand is considered an emerging economy and a newly industrialize country. It offers free public education through age 17. Teaching is done mostly by rote memorization. Thailand exports rice, textiles and footwear, rubber, cars, computers and more. Thailand exports the most rice in the world. Rice is the most important crop there. (Source)

Now onto our story. Kao is a young Thai girl who lives happily with her parents until her mother dies. Her father remarries a woman who also has a daughter. The stepmother and stepsister make Kao do all the housework. One day after Kao's father has died while bathing in the pond a golden fish comes up to Kao and talks to her saying it is her mother. Kao spends more time bathing and comes back happy and her stepmother gets curious as to the cause. She sends her own daughter to spy on Kao the next day. She sees Kao talking to the fish. Then the stepmother has the stepsister go down and trick the fish and capture it. They cook it and eat it. Kao is so upset. She buries the fishbones and waters where she buries them in hope her mother will come back. Soon an eggplant plant grows there. Kao talks to the plant on her way back from bathing in the pond each day. Her stepmother is jealous of Kao's happiness and sends her daughter to dig up the plant. They eat and burn the plant, but Kao finds some seeds. She takes the seeds away from the house near the road and plants them there. When she can she goes and waters them. They grow into two beautiful trees. Kao hears her mother's voice when the wind blows them. Many people rest under the trees. One day a prince stops and rests there. He loves the noise of the wind blowing in them and orders his servants to dig them up and bring them back to his palace. The servants try and try and even use an elephant to try, but the trees will not be moved. The prince posts signs and asks the owner of the trees to come to his palace. Kao sees the sign and goes. The prince asks her to give him the trees. She tells him she will give him an answer the next day. She goes and asks the trees/mother what to do. They decide to make the prince happy. The mother asks Kao to bring the prince to the trees and she does. Then they get married and live happily with the trees in the courtyard of their palace. 

This story reminded me a bit of the Chinese version where the lead character befriends a fish and uses the fishbones for magic after the stepmother kills the fish. Again what I really loved about this book were the pictures and the wordless pictures. If you read this book, read the story ahead of time so you can tell the story with the pictures. It is a wonderful introduction to life in Thailand.