Friday, March 18, 2022

Luli in PW

 Luli and the Language of Tea

Andrea Wang, illus. by Hyewon Yum. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4614-8

Wang (Watercress) brings a group of children together via a beloved beverage in this warming picture book. After noticing the students in her ESL class all playing alone, young Luli draws a picture of the group sitting together, then makes her plan a reality during the next class session. After setting up “a thermos, a canister, stacks of cups, and a fat bellied teapot” on a classroom table, Luli prepares hot tea, then beckons her fellow classmates in Chinese: “Chá!” One by one, the students respond in their own languages—Arabic, German, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Turkish, with each response presented in the language’s script alongside an English transliteration. Soon, the table is full. All fluent in the language of tea, the kids know exactly how to ensure that each person has a warm cup in their hands, then, as a group, enjoy Luli’s new favorite English word. Yum’s (Grandpa Across the Ocean) colored pencil illustrations portray dot-eyed children with a variety of skin tones and hair textures; a bird’s-eye view emphasizes the community that accompanies sharing a cup of tea. Back matter includes an author’s note and details about the history of tea drinking. Age 3–7.

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