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“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

Luli and the Language of Tea

Written by Andrea Wang
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Published by Holiday House

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.

Primary ISBN: 9780823446148

Available As: Hardcover
Picture Book, Age 04 or older

Community Represented: ,

Themes: , , , , ,

Setting: United States

Character’s New Arrival/New American Status: Immigrant

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience

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Pronounce Tea in Different Languages