'Tis the Season for Family, Food, and Gatherings with Maya from MaiStoryBook

One of my favorite ways to express love is through food. Sharing a meal with family and friends is an intimate experience, and cooking together or cooking for others is an act of closeness and togetherness.

As the season of giving thanks and winter holidays approaches, we set the intention to spend more time with loved ones~ planning reunions, trips home, or welcoming others into our own spaces. We celebrate and connect through gatherings, shared meals, conversation, play, and quiet moments spent together.

To celebrate this special time of year, I've curated a bookish collection featuring 25+ of mai favorite diverse *Food, Family, and Gatherings* read alouds. Included are some of my favorite bookish crafts inspired by these books, and interactive read aloud videos featuring these foodie-family reads!

Check it out below:

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang, Illustrated by Lorian Tu This delightfully delicious twist on "The Wheels on the Bus" features an Asian family gathering around the table, scooping from the rice pot, slurping noodles, squishing tofu, and tapping chopsticks. Sing along with the family as they share laughter, food, and love.

May Your Life be Deliciosa by Michael Genhart, Illustrated by Loris Lora

Every year on Christmas Eve, Rosie and her familia gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales and tell stories. In her kitchen, Angela shares not only how to make delicious tamales, but through her storytelling, shares how to make a delicious *life* full of love, laughter, family, and *lots of spice.* This *delicious* narrative is inspired by the author’s own family, tamale-making holiday tradition, and is interwoven with English and Spanish words, creating a flowing blend of languages. A must-read around the holidays, and any day of the year to remind us of the importance and value of storytelling and community.

Watercress by Andrea Wang, Illustrated by Jason Chin

A young Chinese girl's parents stop on the side of the road to collect watercress growing in a ditch on the side of the road. The whole family wades into the mud and mulch to collect as much of the wild watercress as possible. The young girl, embarrassed, wonders why her family can't just get food from the groceries like other families. But when her mother shares a story about her family in China, the girl finds a new appreciation for their foraged food. A beautiful story of second generation immigrants learning about and connecting with their heritage and culture.

Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook by Karim Alrawi, Illustrated by Nahid Kazemi

This collection of stories ties together enchanting Arab folk tales and kid-friendly recipes. Each tale incorporates food, and ends with a traditional recipe. Prepare to embark on a culinary, storybook adventure!

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules, Illustrated by Kathryn Mitter

As a Vietnamese American, I love the Vietnamese representation in this one! Also, roast duck is one of mai favorite meals! Tuyet is excited for Thanksgiving break and the upcoming holiday. However, when she realizes her family is having a duck instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, she is worried about what her teacher and classmates will think. When Tuyet returns to school on Monday, she learns that all of her classmates had a wide variety of foods they ate for Thanksgiving (not just turkey), but one thing they all had in common: sharing the special day with family!

Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham, Illustrated by Charles G. Esperanza

At Granny's, Sunday means a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. This year, her grandson is finally old enough to help cook the dishes. Together, they grate cheese, clean greens, and prime the meat. However, just when they are finished, the grandson makes a special contribution of his own - adding to the love and laughter of the day.

The Whole World Inside Nan's Soup by Hunter Liguore, Illustrated by Vikki Zhang

Nanni’s pot is bubbling with the most delicious smell! When her little one asks what’s inside the pot, Nanni lifts the lid to reveal the ingredients, and share the whole community of people and elements that came together to create this special meal. A gorgeous rumination on the meaning of farm to table, with detailed illustrations brimming with whimsy, this luscious story celebrates our interconnectedness~ and revels in how a community and world can come together to create an unforgettable meal.

A Song of Frutas by Margarita Engle, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

In this lively, musical Cuban read, a young girl visits her grandfather, who is a pregonera: a signing street vendor, and helps him sell his fruits. When it is time to leave, the young girl wishes for *open borders* so she may visit her abuelo more often. To stay connected, she writes songs, poems, and verses to Abuelo, imagining them soaring on the wings of birds to get to him across the ocean. Vibrant illustrations burst with the liveliness of the community, and the rich colors bring the music of the streets to life in this rhythmic read! English and Spanish are woven together throughout the narrative creating a fluid, mixed language read aloud.

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

This is a story of resourcefulness and care: a lively crew of neighbors fill a joyfully chaotic kitchen to prepare a meal for their community, each member scrounging up what they can find to contribute to the dish- ripe tomatoes from the community garden, leftover carrots and half a celery from the communal fridge, apples with the bruised parts cut off, and day-old loaves from the bakery. Everyone *peels, splashes, tosses, trims* until it’s *Dinnertime* and the neighbors and community members fill the tables for a warm meal. Inspired by the author’s own experiences volunteering at a weekly community kitchen, this story is a celebration of *full bellies* and of the community that forms when you look out for one another.

The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de La Pena, Illustrated by Christian Robinson