Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Santa's Got a Brand-New Multi-Culti Bag

I've always been that friend or relative that you either love or absolutely hate around gift-giving time: I like to give books and "educational" stuff. Of course, that also means that I love to get those kind of presents too, and I hope The Pumpkin picks up that tendency from me. Here's a list of all the multi-culti and/or educational presents my toddlergirl received this Christmas (and no, they weren't all from me!):

The World Rhythms Kit by Latin Percussion's World Beat Kids.
The Pumpkin actually got three percussion sets this Christmas [and no, actually, I wasn't mad] and she loooves music, listening to it, dancing to it, making it. Now all she needs is a kiddie-sized taiko drum and some mini kulintang instruments. Heh.

The Wooden Sushi Bento Set by Melissa & Doug.
This thing is freakin' awesome. You know you want one. It comes with a cleaver you use to "cut" apart the velcro'd-together maki pieces. The Pumpkin loves this thing. [She has way too many food-oriented toys. Heh.]

"Little Daruma and Little Kaminar: A Japanese Children's Tale by Satoshi Kako
Cute retelling of a Japanese folk tale, haven't really read it to her yet, but brought back found memories of my childhood copies of "Momotaro the Peach Boy" and "Little One-Inch."

"Bee-Bim Bop!" by Linda-Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
She looooves this book. We read it several times a day, and she's already reading along with the rhymes.

"Yoko" by Rosemary Wells
I find this one a bit problematic, and wonder if it would have turned out different if it had been written by an Asian American author. This little Japanese American cat takes sushi to school and gets ridiculed. Her mom wears a kimono at home--um, how many Japanese immigrant women of child-bearing age in this country are wearing kimonos? Yeah, thought so. And the teacher's solution to the teasing? No real intervention, no telling kids to stop or that they're wrong--no, it's to have an international food fair! And still only one other kid eats the sushi...

"Old Turtle" by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee
Beautiful book given by The Pumpkin's compadres, about tolerance and diversity and peace.

Okay, so the next three actually were from us:

"Skin Again" by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka
A children's book about racial difference, by bell hooks, illustrated by the guy who did one of The Pumpkin's earliest favorites, "Charlie Parker Played Be Bop"? Slam dunk.

"Jazz" by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Chris Myers
The text is a little too dense for her now, but it's a beautiful book (and I went to college with Chris).

"Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel by Anthony D. Robles, illsutrated by Carl Angel
She loves the first Lakas book, "Lakas and the Manilatown Fish," which asks for as "Fish." A children's primer on fighting the power, and it's bilingual in English and Tagalog.

Okay, this last thing was given by our good friends who also gave the sushi set, and they readily admitted that it was more for me than it was for The Pumpkin. This is what the picture accompanying this post is of:

"Pre-Cut Asian Family" by Little Folks Visuals, specialists in "making the highest quality felt sets available today." Not being a preschool teacher, I had no idea such a market even existed. Besides a bunch of bibilical play sets, nursery rhyme sets, and some science stuff, there's also an "African American Family," a "Caucasian Family," a "Hispanic Family," and you can get a set of all four, plus "community helpers" (firefighters, etc.). Heh. The best part of this, besides the strangely pharaonic helmet-hairdos on these folks, is the text on the back:

"The Choi family works hard to keep their busy household running smoothly. But they always make time for each other...and their new dog. Create adventures that explore the responsibilities and joys of family with the Chois."

C'mon, everybody who lives in LA's Koreatown knows that that dog should be a freakin' jindo or something. Chows are so 2 decades ago. Heh.

So, multi-culti mamas and papas, besides the racially ambiguous Bratz dolls that your clueless cousin gave your babygirl, and that are, even as we speak, setting back feminism 50 years as they sit in your closet awaiting their return to Target, what fun-and-education loot did your kiddos pull in this pan-denominational-holiday-gift-giving season?


eliaday said...

Dude. I think Tae and The Pumpkin have identical libraries. And, I gave friends copies of Lakas and Skin Again. Scary.

We're still having tons of fun with our sushi and dim sum set (blogged about here.)

And of course, this book continues to crack me up.

Mama Nabi said...

Sigh... I also have the same tendency and I think that quality is despised by my sister-in-law and her child. I never get thanked so I'm assuming... Ha, ha, I don't know if I should laugh or cry that LN didn't do too well on the educational portion. So I'm going to add these items on my list of things I will get for LN on my own. Man, I wish your friends would be LN's Santa next year!

Lumpyheadsmom said...

We bought the Hamanaka book All the Colors of the Earth at your suggestion, and I love it. Now I'm totally coveting the wooden sushi set.

Puka said...

I saw that sushi set on Amazon and wanted to buy it for A-chan for xmas. But the Mister said she has far too many food and dishes for her play kitchen so I passed. *sigh* I have some play food I bought in Korea that has velcro for cutting. A-chan loves it. I didn't realize the sushi set has velcro. I might have to buy the sushi set in secret. hehe

Henri said...

I gave my kid cash.

honglien123 said...

We gave our kids cash and clothes (and an ATM bank). Thanks for the book suggestions though, we buy books year round. No need to wait till Christmas.

Kristen said...

Q got a cool Melissa and Doug shape/puzzle thing (that's the technical term for it, tyvm)
and I got her a lilly bean sushi set from

everything else (I won't mention the 3 barbie dolls, princess you name it, etc.) from my in-laws... should be burned...


thisislarry said...

Great post.

My educational bent is towards math & science stuff -which by its very nature is race-proof.

Legos, games, etc. Set, a card game, is a favorite. Chess is a good classic.

That said, I dont have any problems with the barbies we've acquired over the years. Dancing princess barbies, etc. S'OK, they go with the GI Joes and Disney Princess stuff.

My favorite is No-Fingers Ken, who we got at a yard sale. His hand was chewed down to a stump by a dog. It has been coverd by a cutsie character bandaid, and now he's a valuable member of the thisislarry doll family. I like to imagine he was injured by an IED in Iraq, and has come back home on medical leave.

thisislarry said...

and um, why do the chois look so freakin' goodie-goodie? Isnt that a stereotype to avoid?

Kathy said...

hmjAha! Finally! I've been wondering how you'd turn the Choi's into a post. And we're so glad the Pumpkin likes her sushi set. I have to give the props to Chris and Greg you inspired us by giving Lex the same set...

We miss you guys.

Jeremy C. said...

cash is always multi-cultutral as it gets!

Robyn said...

Great list! I'm bookmarking that stuff for next Christmas!

Anonymous said...