Invitation to Explore Tomatoes
American Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month has so many great opportunities to expose a child to the vast array of cultures. Food plays an integral role in our lives. Food is one of the ways we connect to other cultures as well as our own. The food we eat is intertwined with culture/traditions and many of our favorite memories are associated with gathering during special celebrations to enjoy food. By exploring and learning about different foods from around the world children can learn a lot about a particular culture.
The story Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal that we got from Books Inc. is about Neela who loves cooking Indian food with her Amma (Mother) in memory of her paati (Grandmother). In the story she learns about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from to make her paati's favorite tomato chutney sauce.
After reading the story we invited the children to explore all kinds of different tomatoes just like Neela in the book. We used our five senses smell, sight, touch, feel, and taste to examine all the different sizes, colors, textures, and tastes.
The more we are inclusive about celebrating and exposing cultures in classrooms or our homes from a young age, the more understanding, respect, acceptance we provide for everyone within our communities. There is so much beauty in the traditions of cultures from around the world and children deserve to experience it.
Here are other invitations to explore American Asian and Pacific Island Heritage Month: