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Dumpling Soup


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About the Author

Jama Kim Rattigan, a third-generation Korean-American, was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. After receiving a master's degree in English from the University of Hawaii, she taught for several years and then began writing full time. The inspiration for Dumpling Soup grew out of her vivid childhood memories of celebrating the New Year with her extended family was well as her desire to convey the rich cultural diversity of Hawaii to young readers.

Lillian Hsu-Flanders was born in Camden, NJ, and attended college and graduate school in New England. As a child, she enjoyed many Chinese family gatherings much like the one described in the story, and continues to make, eat, and love dumplings today.


Winner of the first New Voices, New World Multicultural Fiction Contest in 1990, this story of a Hawaiian girl's New Year's Eve is as warm and comforting as homemade soup. Marisa narrates this slice of Korean-Chinese-Japanese-Hawaiian-Anglo life, describing her close-knit family's New Year's Eve traditions. She describes the food, the games, the fireworks and the evening's climax, a midnight feast of dumpling soup in which float Marisa's lumpy but lovingly praised first attempts at making dumplings. With her savory prose, Rattigan cooks up a world replete with love and respect for one's family and heritage. Nuggets of pithy dialogue convey the essence of family members: `` `Too much gossip!' says Grandma in Korean. `Mince that cabbage! More bean sprouts!' '' Hsu-Flanders's watercolors are stuffed with delicate details and are as appetizing as Marisa's ingenuous tone--and her dumplings. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

K-Gr 3-A large, loving Hawaiian family gathers to celebrate the new year with Marisa making mandoo, or dumplings, a traditional holiday feast. Told from the seven-year-old child's breathless point of view, the event is also a tribute to diversity. The Yang family, like much of the population of Hawaii, includes members of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and haole (white) descent. And everyone loves mandoo, especially the funny-looking ones that Marisa makes. Though the text is low-key, the characters and their affection for one another are infectious. Cluttered, lively, full-color illustrations in a style reminiscent of Marylin Hafner's work are packed with detail and children. Domestic groupings of all sorts will keep young eyes busy trying to identify which cousin is which. The pages are so full of activity that they often bleed entirely off the page. Any child who loves family gatherings will identify with this book, and teachers will welcome it for its inclusive approach. Though lengthy to read to a young group, the story will be relished by older primary-aged children for reading aloud and by independent readers, too.-Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA

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