Monthly Archives: July 2018

Five Field Kono – Abstract Strategy Game from Korea

Ever since we discovered this game, the boys have played it everyday. My older son has beat me a few times already!

Note to myself: Practice more when he is asleep!

Five Field Kono is an abstract strategy game from Korea. It is played along the same lines as Chinese Checkers.

It is of unknown history but in 1895 American ethnographer Stewart Culin mentioned about it in his book. The game’s Korean name is o-pat-ko-no.

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Tapatan – Abstract Strategy Game from Philippines

Strategy GameThis project of ours, where we are reading books with diverse multi cultural characters, has been a success so far!

While doing so we have also discovered some amazing ethnic board games.

The first game that we across was during the Asia week. It is from Philippines and is called TAPATAN, it is like the ever popular game tic-tac-toe, but more fun and challenging.

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This Diverse world : EUROPE


Given below is a list of books with European characters. I have tried to include books which would give a glimpse into different European cultural backgrounds.

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

I have listed the name of the country next to the book link, either the main character lives in that country or has links to it.

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This Diverse World : Australia and Oceania


When I took up this project I did not realise that it would be this difficult for me to search for books! it has been really difficult to find apt books with Australia and Oceanic characters. Maybe I am not searching right?!

Here are some books that I found on Amazon, I will keep searching in this category and updating.

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

The stolen stars of Matariki – New Zealand

How Maui slowed the Sun  – New Zealand

The Tunnel in our Backyard  – New Zealand

The Whale Rider  – New Zealand

Looking for Alibrandi – Australia

Does my head look big in this  – Australia

The Bone Sparrow  – Australia

Becoming Kirrali Lewis – Australia

The Secret Science of Magic  – Australia

Possum Magic  – Australia

Are we there yet? A journey around Australia – Australia

Audrey of the Outback – Australia

Adventures of Riley : Outback Odyssey – Australia

This is Australia  – Australia

Into that forest  – Australia

Middle School: Escape to Australia  – Australia

Tiddalick, the greedy Frog  – Australia

Kon Tiki  – Polynesia







If You Lived Here: Houses Of The World – Book Review

If You Lived Here: Houses of The World

by Giles Laroche

This is a great book to expose the kids to the different ways in which people live around the world.

The most unique  part about this book is that all the houses  are illustrated in bas-relief color collages. Another interesting fact about the houses was that all those still exist.

Each house has an illustration of real example of type of structure. The detailing that has gone into making the collages is amazing. We spent a lot of time admiring not just the house structure but the surrounding landscaping with nature, people, animals etc.

It also has a brief description of the interiors, the reason behind its design, information on material used, geographical location of these houses, dates of occupancy and some fascinating fact.

The list of houses include

  • Dogtrot  – Southern United States
  • Chalet  – Alps, Europe
  • Pueblo – Taos, New Mexico
  • Connected barn – Northeastern United States
  • Cave dwelling – Guadix, Andalucia, Spain
  • Palafitos (house on stilts) – Chiloe Island, Chile
  • Palazzo Dario – Venice, Italy
  • Chateau La Brede – Bordeaux, France
  • Fujian Tulou – Hangkeng village, Yongding, China
  • Half-timbered townhouses – Miltenberg am Main, Germany
  • White Towns – Astipalaia Island, Greece
  • Decorated houses of Ndebele – Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
  • Yurt – Mongolia and other parts of central Asia.
  • Airstream trailer – Anywhere
  • Floating house – Middleburg, the Netherlands
  • Tree House – Anywhere

At the back of the book, there is also a map of the world where each of the examples can be found.

The only drawback that I see in this book is that of the 15 dwellings discussed 7 were found in Europe, 4 in North America , and the larger continents of Africa and Asia are under represented. Australia was left out completely.

Laroche’s writing is light and interesting. The illustrations along with the simple and short textual facts make this book good for kids of any age in K-6.

Overall a great book and can be a great supplement for culture study.

Manjhi Moves A Mountain – Book Review

Manjhi Moves A Mountain

by Nancy  Churnin, Illustrated by Danny Popovici

Dashrath Manjhi is a known man in India, thanks to the articles published, documentaries made and mostly because of a Hindi movie made on his life.

My boys got a chance to  read biography of this inspiring man through this book. His life is an inspiring story of persistence and perseverance, to never give up on your dream!

Manjhi’s village, Gehlaur, was  “deep in the heart of India” and was separated from the neighboring village by a mighty mountain.  In his village nothing grows, while in the other village rice and wheat flowered and flourished .  Thus people were happy and affluent there, which was not the case in his viilage.  Manjhi climbs to the top of the mountain to ponder over this.

When he throws a stone from atop, it triggers a sprinkle of powder and that gives him an idea. He trades his 3 goats for a hammer and a chisel and gets to work, chipping away the rocks.

At first the other villagers found him to be “crazy” to be doing what seemed impossible. But Majhi perseveres, eventually others started supporting him by chipping away the mountain while he was resting.  They also provided him food and newer supplies to accomplish this mountainous task.

His chant “Hold. Aim. Swing.” carries him forward and after 22 years he has indeed moved a mountain.

Instead of 2 villages  there is one village now “sharing water, hopes, dreams”. What was earlier a 34 mile hike from one village to the other was now a 9 mile walk.

Popovici’s illustrations are nicely composed in orange , yellow and brown hues.

Nancy Churchin’s words are as simple as Manjhi’s life, she managed to keep our interest alive with just 2 characters, Manjhi and the mountain.

There are so many wonderful life lessons to learn from this book.

It was a great a story to show how people have to toil hard for years for things that we take for granted. We all have our ‘mountains’ to move, we may be ridiculed  or made fun of. What can help us move these mountains are dreams, effort and time.

A great inspirational book, also a great example of growth mindset.

Dasrath Manjhi (1934-2007)

pic source Hindustan Times


My Name Is Yoon: Book Review

My name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

This is the first book we read this week. The story is about a Korean family that emigrates to the United States. It is a well rendered picture book about Yoon, the daughter of the family, who is having adjustment issues in her new home country.

Yoon, in the beginning, does not find much similarity between United States and Korea. This is particularly true for her school life. She loves to write her name in Korean, like all Korean names her name too has a meaning. Her name Yoon means ‘shining wisdom’.  Despite her father’s assurances that her name still holds the same meaning , even when written in English, she has her doubts. She also finds her name written in English just a series of sticks and circles, whereas in Korean, “the Symbols dance together”. Everyday at school she learns a new English word and makes that her new name. So one day she is “Cat’ , another day she is ” Bird” and yet another day its “Cupcake”! This girl sure has wild imagination.

She quickly recognizes concern and friendship offered by the patient teacher and classmates. She starts liking her school  and feels United States can be her home like Korea.

And she is back to calling herself “Yoon” again as it still means “Shining Wisdom”.

This book is good for a kid reading at K-2 level, but my kids enjoyed it too. The text is easy to understand , the illustrations are beautiful, and the message is clear. Like my older said ” Being different is not something bad, one should embrace it and be proud of it.”

Multicultural Books Week 1: Asia


안녕  Annyeong (Korean),

ආයුඛෝවන්  Ayubuvan (Sinhalese),

سَلام Salam (Persian),

नमस्ते Namaste (Hindi),

Ni Hao (Mandarin).

These are the languages the characters, of the books that we plan to read this week, speak.

Here is the lists that we will be following:

This diverse world : ASIA

This diverse world : ASIA

this diverse world asia



Given below is a list of books with Asian characters. I have tried to include books which would give a glimpse into Asian cultural background (which is quite varied in itself).

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

I have listed the name of the country next to the book link, either the main character lives in that country or has links to it. Continue reading

This diverse world

Every year our family of 4 travels to India to meet our extended family and we spend about a month there. So, my elementary school going boys have been exposed to 2 different cultures extensively. We have also travelled to a few more countries and they have noticed, talked about and compared the difference in food, homes, appearances and lifestyles. But there is so much more to explore, so much more to learn in this diverse world!

One of the many boons of internet and access to books/local libraries is that we can learn about different countries  and its culture sitting at home. And this is exactly what we plan to do in the coming weeks.

My last post has the timeline that I plan to follow.

Here are a few sites/links that I have searched that will help in making a start to this learning process.

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