Natsumi is a young Japanese girl that is constantly being told things like “slow down!”, “not so fast!”, and “not so loud!”. When the community is gearing up for a special holiday, Natsumi wants to try all of the different activities! She tries dancing, matcha-making, and flower arranging, but none of them are for her. Luckily, Natsumi’s grandfather has an idea and meets her everyday after school to prepare. On the night of the event, Natsumi reveals what she’s been working so hard on to her family and community.
This is a beautiful book about both big emotions and Chinese family history. Emmy has a lot of sadness and grief that Nainai is back in China, and grapples with these big emotions during her exploration of the house. We are lucky enough to live in the Boston area and have been to the PEM, getting into our own exploration of the house! In the back of the book is more historical information about the house, and how it got from China to the museum.
Harpreet Singh is a young boy who wears a different color patka (turban) for his moods. When Harpreet moves to a new place with his family, he wears a white turban for a long time because he is sad. Will Harpreet ever feel at home in his new school and make a friend? Harpreet is a sweet character very in touch with his emotions, which is fantastic for introducing emotions and decoding the feelings of others for young children. The illustrations are adorable, and we love the expressions that illustrator Alea Marley is able to convey.
Aneel’s grandparents have come all the way from India for a visit! They do lots of fun things like burn incense and practice standing on their heads for yoga. Dada-ji, his grandfather, tells the best stories of when he was young. Dada-ji tells Aneel he gets superpowers from roti and Aneel must learn to make them to find out if Dada-ji still has superpowers! Aneel can’t find anyone to help him make hot, hot roti so he decides to try himself. It turns out Aneel’s superpower is making perfect roti, and Dada-ji feels strong enough to go on an adventure like when he was young. Since there are no water buffalos to wrestle, or cobras to tie in knots, Dada-ji and Aneel must make due with swinging on swings and gathering apples for a pie. The book ends with the pair stargazing in lotus position, looking at the stars.