Friday, February 20, 2009

How My Parents Learned to Eat

Summary How My Parents Learned to Eat
By: Ira R. Friedman

Everyone uses different utensils when eating different kinds of food – spoons are used to drink soup, forks are used to pick up food, and even hands are used to eat! How My Parents Learned to Eat illustrates a story, narrated by a young girl, about a Japanese woman named Aiko and an American sailor named John who express a fear of dinner dates. Aiko is unfamiliar with using knives and forks as John is with using chopsticks. Fostering similar concerns, the couple secretly tries to learn each other’s tradition of eating, practicing with mashed potatoes and peas and sukiyaki. Eventually, Aiko and John agree to help one another learn and become familiar with each other’s traditions. Ira R. Friedman places great, positive emphasis on the ways in which diverse cultures affect people by broadening their knowledge.

How the book would be used in the classroom.

The book How My Parents Learned to Eat can be used in a variety of ways inside the classroom, particularly in a unit on family. The story of Aiko and John can be used to explore the uniqueness of each family – cultures, traditions, and ways of life. This book can be used to illustrate that each family is different in a positive light. Lessons may also be implemented focusing on different kinds of family structures as the young girl comes from a biracial family.

Domains of Social Justice Education

♦ Self Love and Acceptance: Students will learn about their family, their own culture and their own community. In this story, the mom and dad came from two different cultures, and then formed a bi-racial family. Students should learn to feel proud of their own family, culture and community.

♦ Respect for Others: Students will learn that we all come from different culture and family, and the differences between each culture and family are what make our world beautiful and unique. In the story, mom and dad were willing to learn about each other’s culture and tradition, so they were able to communicate and enjoy the difference between two cultures. The narrator in this story is a bi-racial girl, so teacher can also help students to learn about and respect different types of family.


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