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Luli and the Language of Tea

Food is a way to connect all cultures. So when I read about Andrea Wang’s newest book, I had to reserve it at my library! I also connected to this book because the word for tea in Korean is the same in Chinese, “cha.”

The story starts on the end papers showing parents going to an ESL class, and the children going into a childcare room. Children of all nationalities play by themselves because no one knows English. But Luli stirs up a plan. She draws a picture of a tea party and just happens to have a tea set and tea in her backpack. After yelling “cha,” children recite the word “tea” in their native language and join Luli at the table. After sipping on tea, they all play together. As I stated in the introduction, food connects cultures.

A note from the author explains that this story is based on her own immigrant parents’ experience. Back matter also tells about tea in the following countries: China, Kazakhstan, India, Turkey, Iran, Morocco, Kenya, Germany, Brazil, and Chile.

Since my school is already out for summer, I’d love to read this in the fall to connect all the cultures that will be in my classroom. Teachers could have students design a teacup from their culture, share the word for tea in their native language, or even come up with a different well-known food that each culture has in common. If you’re a kindergarten teacher like myself, you could set up a tea set in the drama center so students could play and practice serving each other.

~A story that stirs the warmth in your heart to include people of all nations.

Now if you excuse me, I must go steep my tea.

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