Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities for Kids

Today is Friday – time for a children’s book and an activity to keep the kids happy and busy!

Multicultural Picture Book Review and Cooking Activities

I found this book in a box at an open air town flea market when I was visiting my daughter and grandson in New Hampshire. I get into trouble at these places – how can you say no to a beautiful picture book for 25 cents? The seller wanted me to take the entire box of over a dozen hardcover beautifully illustrated multicultural books for two dollars. That’s right…two dollars. And did I buy all of them? No, I exercised GREAT restraint and only spent $1.00 because I knew I would have to lug those hardcover books back on the plane. After I made my frugal purchase, I walked over to the next seller. Oh no!!! She was selling children’s books also! There was  Frog and Toad, The Fire Cat and Danny and the Dinosaur – each for…you guessed it…25 cents. I couldn’t resist…I bought TWELVE…but I left those with my grandson!

Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities

Mei-Mei Loves the Morning

Written by Margaret Holloway Tsubaklyama

Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (1999)

Ages: 4 and up


Multigenerational activities, family bonding, urban China

Opening Lines:

“Mei-Mei loves the morning. When she wakes up, she always hears Bai-Ling rustling impatiently in his cage and Grandpa’s slippers sip-slapping on the kitchen floor. Mother and Father are still asleep, but Mei-Mei jumps out of bed.”


From Publisher’s Weekly: “Tsubakiyama’s first picture book offers a glimpse of a girl in modern urban China. After sharing a breakfast of rice porridge and pickled vegetables, Mei-Mei and her grandfather hook their songbird’s cage on Grandpa’s bicycle and ride it through the city streets, joining the throng of bikers. Once they reach the park, the two hang the birdcage on a branch of a plum tree, alongside a number of other cages, and join a multi-generational group in a tai-chi session.”

Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Wonderful message of positivity and family togetherness
  • Beautiful watercolor-and-pencil artwork
  • Lovely relationship between the little girl and her grandfather

How a parent can use this book:

  • Perfect way to start a morning – help your children compare Mei-Mei’s morning to theirs.
  • If your child has grandparents, how can you encourage them to do activities together – even if there are many miles apart?
  • Talk about tai-chi and other forms of gentle body-mind exercise – try it with your child!
  • What types of birds do people keep for pets?

Related Activities:

The array of food during my stay in Singapore was FANTASTIC. But I woke up in the middle of the night on the day before I was to leave, and felt really ill. When I came down to the breakfast buffet at the hotel, wise Susanne Gervay suggested that I eat only RICE PORRIDGE and a little dry toast. Fortunately, rice porridge was served as part of the buffet and it did the trick! I was totally fine for the 36-hour flights home the next day!


Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities

For ingredients and instructions, please visit:

What do you and your children have for breakfast? In my Show Me How book, there are many yummy breakfast recipes…double apple pancakes, banana bran muffins, muesli, breakfast granola, oatmeal, blueberry muffins, wildly spiced apple muffins and egg-in-a-nest (my husband’s all-time favorite!).

Is the pace at home a little slower during the summer? Invite your young children to help in the kitchen – they love measuring and pouring and mixing! It’s fun and educational for them – and if you have a fussy eater, helping to prepare the food might encourage him to try new things.

9 thoughts on “Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities for Kids

  1. What a beautiful story to help kids understand the customs and daily routines of kids in other countries. I love your find. I wondered why you just didn’t buy the books for Jake and leave them with him. He will certainly have a ball with them. I’m finishing a multicultural YA novel that’s excellent. Have read a number of books the summer I have a hard time getting to them during the year.


    • I know, Pat…it was hard not to buy them all. I did buy a dozen for him…we are in the process of planning the move out to New Hampshire and I didn’t want to load my daughter with ANOTHER box of heavy hardcover picture books that she would have to move as well.:) But I have been kicking myself, you can be sure of that.:)
      Summer is a perfect time to catch up on reading…I agree!


    • Yes…but only because I knew I would have to be lugging them on flights. Normally, I would not have been able to resist.:) And now that we know we will be moving there in the near future, I have gazillions of books to go thru of my own and my husbands…I’ve already brought over a hundred to the friends of the library.


  2. With great deals comes great restraint! 😉 We would’ve driven to New Hampshire, so I could by the box of books for $2 (if I had $2 😉 )!

    Great book! I like the grandfather & granddaughter bonding part. 🙂


    • It doesn’t happen all of the time…but I was thrilled. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jenn! I loved the goal/to-do chart you made for your son…I’m going to share it with my daughter for her son.:)


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