Dynamic Book Duos: Food, Family Traditions, and Intergenerational Relationships

Images of Spicy Spicy Hot! and Ramen for Everyone; two picture books perfect to pair for reading comprehension focusing on food and family traditions.

Please welcome authors/illustrators Patricia Tanumihardja, Shiho Pate, and Lenny Wen to Dynamic Book Duos– a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with coordinating educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s Dynamic Book Duos pairing highlights the joy of intergenerational relationships and the importance of food as a way to carry on family traditions.

PERFECT PAIR: Food, Family Traditions, and Intergenerational Relationships

Paired together, Ramen for Everyone by Patricia Tanumihardja and Shiho Pate and Spicy Spicy Hot! by Lenny Wen offer a great opportunity to discuss and highlight the joy of intergenerational relationships and the importance of food as a way to carry on family traditions. Hiro is determined to make a perfect bowl of ramen just like his dad. Lintang is determined to enjoy the sambal that her nenek makes despite how spicy it is. Both stories are also about the love shared between family and not giving up.

Book 1: Ramen for Everyone

Image of the picture book Ramen for Everyone by  Patricia Tanumihardja and Shiho Pate featuring an illustration of a young boy in front of a large bowl of Ramen.

Hiro’s dream is to make his own perfect bowl, and he’s sure he can do it after watching his dad and taking notes. But when he gets started, things don’t go according to plan. The seaweed crumbles! The eggs slip through his fingers! The pork falls apart! Hiro is worried he’ll never be a real ramen chef…but thanks to his father’s wise advice and his own creativity, Hiro discovers that every person’s perfect bowl of ramen is unique.

Book 2: Spicy Spicy Hot!

When Lintang finally gets to taste her nenek’s yummy, mouthwatering sambal, she’s delighted! But when she takes a bite it’s . . . SPICY!  Her lips burn, her mouth feels like it’s on fire, and her taste buds are crying for help. Desperate to fit in with her family, Lintang tries many different types of sambal, but they’re . . . HOT!

With a little help from Nenek, will Lintang find a way to beat the heat and connect with her Indonesian heritage?

Educational Activities:

Ramen for Everyone:

Writing Activity: A simile is a phrase that compares two things using the words “like” or “as.” “Ramen for Everyone” has similes that take a food and compares it to something else. Some examples: “nori seaweed, briny like the ocean” and “nitamago egg, the yolk golden like the sun.” Can you come up with your own similes using your favorite foods? Here are two ideas to get you started.

Dumplings in the steamer, puffed like __________________

Fresh-picked apple, red as ______________

Coloring Activity: click on link below

Spicy Spicy Hot!

Both Books:

Both books are about intergenerational relationships. Who in your family do you share a special bond with? What family recipe  would you like to make together with them? Draw and color this dish. Then cook this dish with them and ask these questions while you cook together:  

How/from whom did you learn to make this dish?

How old were you?

Why is this dish special to you?

Do you make this dish for a special occasion?

Do you have any fun stories associated with this dish?


Headshot image of author/illustrator Pat Tanumihardja in a colorful polka do shirt.
Image of author/illustrator Shiho Pate sitting at a table eating a bowl of ramen
Image of author/illustrator Lenny Wenn leaning over a table with writing implement in hand

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

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