Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Hyewon Yum

Published by Neal Porter Books

Summary:  While a group of parents attends ESL classes, their children stay in the playroom next door.  Since they speak different languages, the kids end up playing alone a lot.  But Luli has an idea.  Today she’s brought a thermos, a teapot, and a stack of cups.  She sets up a table, then calls “Chá!’ the Chinese word for tea.  The word is similar in many other languages (and other languages have a word that is similar to the English “tea”).  Each child is shown saying the word for tea in their own language, and soon, they’re gathered around the table.  Lili pulls out another box and practices a new English word, “Cookie?”  The playroom is no longer quiet.  Includes an author’s note about tea, and several pages about immigrants from each continent that include maps and information about how tea is served in different countries.  40 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  A perfect book to share for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.  The kids are super cute, and it’s interesting to see how both the words and the customs for tea transcend different languages and cultures.

Cons:  Ten young children sharing tea in small cups (and even transferring some from one cup to another) without spilling a drop? Seems a tiny bit unrealistic.  

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