Monday, June 11, 2012

Facts, Fiction and Good Old Life Lessons From Thailand.

If I followed the rules, then this post would be about either a craft or a snack. But I am a rule breaker. Also, I am the one who made the rules, so it really doesn't matter that much. Instead of staying home and cooking or crafting, we went camping this weekend. It was our first ever camping trip as a family and we had a great time! On our way out of town, we popped into the library to return our books from last month since they were due back. Unfortunately, when we got to the library, I realized that our books were sitting on the table at home. Lucky for us, there was not a high demand for Botswana books and we were able to renew them since there was not a hold on any of them. We also grabbed some Thailand books while we were there. I was thrilled to see that there were so many options. We borrowed two books that are non fiction, and two books that are fiction. 

One of the non fiction books is part of the Cultures of The World series that I have mentioned several times, including here and here. The other is one is also part of a series, this series is called "Discovering Cultures". This book has beautiful pictures including a Buddha on the cover. 

One of the non fiction books that we got is called "Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek" by Minfong Ho and illustrated by Holly Meade. This book is really great for younger kids, like toddler age. My kids initially were a bit disenchanted by it since it was a very repetitive text with a dad who is playing hide and seek with his little girl. However, after we finished reading it, we talked about what we learned from this story. Yes, we learned from a hide and seek book. We learned about what kind of wildlife there is in Thailand because in each place that the dad looks for his little girl he finds an animal instead. For example, "Jut-Ay, peek-a-boo, Oh elephant, so it's you! Lift the flap of your floppy ear. Is my baby hiding there?" Once we started talking about how this book had taught us about the types of wildlife in Thailand, my littles perked right up and ended up liking the book quite a bit, they even went back to re-read some of the pages (like the pages with the tiger and crocodile)! The illustrations in this book are super cute, the little girl is absolutely adorable, and if her placements in the illustrations are any indication, she seems to be quite brave as well (crossing a bridge right over a crocodile, crouching in the bushes under a tiger in a tree) and we like brave girls :)  

The other book that we borrowed from the library is a Thai folktale. We love reading folktales from around the world, so this became a quick favorite for my littles (they even fought about who was going to get to hold it for the pictures). It is called "The Girl Who Wore Too Much" and is retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, Illustrated by Yvonne Lebrun Davis. A cool feature of this book is that each page also had Thai text on the bottom of the page (that was written by Supaporn Vathanaprida). 

This folktale is one with a very important message. It tells of a girl whose parents buy and give her everything that they see that is beautiful, clothes, silks, and jewels. When it is time for the girl to go to a dance she wants to be the most beautiful girl there and can't decided what to wear. She ultimately decides to wear everything and as a result, she can not move because the layers are too heavy. When her parents come to help her they tell her that she must take off some of the clothes, silks and jewels saying, "We have taught you to want too much. You must learn to be happy with less." Go ahead, take a moment to bask in the glory of that message. In fact, read it again, "We have taught you to want too much. You must learn to be happy with less." There are some stories that make me pause when I am reading them to my littles and this one did exactly that. I could see that the message was working it's way through their thought processes and I waited for it to find a comfy little place in their brains to nestle itself and call home. Once I saw that it had landed, I finished reading and then tucked my littles into their sleeping bags and kissed their sleepy heads. As I zipped the tent behind me on my way back to the campfire, I wondered if the message would stay for good. I certainly hope it does. 

Preston with our littles and our dog, Roxy, in the morning light at our campsite. 
Now that we are home, we are starting to think about unpacking, doing laundry, the end of the school year and Thailand inspired crafts and food. (Did I mention how excited I am to be learning about Thailand?) 


  1. I think "The Girl Who Wore Too Much" sounds like an excellent book to incorporate in our home :)


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