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Luli and the Language of Tea

hardcover

Though they may speak different languages, kids from all over the world come together to enjoy the shared pastime of tea in this delicious book for young readers.
 


When five-year-old Luli joins her new English as a Second Language class, the playroom is quiet. Luli can’t speak English, neither can anyone else. That’s when she has a brilliant idea to host a tea party and bring them all together.
 
Luli removes her teapot, thermos, and teacups from her bag and calls out “Chá!” in her native Chinese. One by one, her classmates pipe up in recognition: in Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, and Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili. Tea is a tasty language they all know well, and it gives them a chance to share and enjoy each other’s company. When all the tea is gone and it’s time for dessert, Luli gets to use her favorite English word, cookie! After that, the playroom isn’t so quiet.
 
Informed by her own experience as the child of Chinese immigrant parents, Andrea Wang makes the point that when you’re looking to communicate with people, you look for a common bond. The word for “tea” is similar in many languages, and tea becomes the unifying metaphor that brings a diverse group of children together. Additional material at the back of the book explores the rich and ancient history of tea drinking across cultures all around the world and contains maps, statistics, and fascinating details that will delight young readers.
 

Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of Watercress, illustrated by Jason Chin, which Kirkus called “Understated, deep, and heart rending” in a starred review. She is also the author of The Nian Monster and Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando as well as the forthcoming middle-grade novel, The Many Meanings of Meilan. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family.

Illustrator

Hyewon Yum is the author and illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including Not Little, written by Maya Myers (Neal Porter Books, 2021). Other books include This Is Our HouseThe Twins' BlanketThere Are No Scary Wolves, and Last Night. Her book Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten! received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family

 

There’s inclusion from the start. . . . No one language or culture is prioritized, and no one is left out. One of the book’s linguistic treats is that each language’s word for tea is presented both phonetically (as it sounds when uttered out loud) and in written form, giving readers a visual taste of Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Persian and Arabic."—New York Times

"Gentle, child-like art is as inviting as a cup of warm tea. With utter simplicity, this book connects disparate cultures to build natural community."—San Francisco Chronicle

★  "[A] gladdening picture book. . . . Yum demonstrates her facility with colored pencils in Luli's classroom scenes and endpapers, in which a glorious spread captures an assortment of teacups, each decorated in a style suited to the country it represents." —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

★ "Wang writes a simple, precise narrative that is more than the sum of its parts. Few writers could conjure up the characters' contentment as concisely. . . . Yum's sensitive colored-pencil illustrations use clean lines, rounded shapes, and soft hues to depict the setting and reveal the characters' emotions. . . . A rewarding read-aloud choice."—Booklist, Starred Review

"Wang (Watercress) brings a group of children together via a beloved beverage in this warming picture book. . . . a bird’s-eye view emphasizes the community that accompanies sharing a cup of tea."—Publishers Weekly
 


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