Cover Image: What's in a Dumpling, Grandma?

What's in a Dumpling, Grandma?

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Member Reviews

I DEEPLY appreciate a picture book which includes a pronunciation guide BEFORE the story itself! It’s important for parents to read outside their culture, and being able to respect that culture by saying words correctly is vital.

Grey and Mila are visiting Ngoại (grandmother), and are excited to eat her delicious dumplings. But this time, Ngoại teaches them to cook! Ngoại shares memories of learning to cook dumplings from her own grandmother, and reminds the children what fill those dumplings: time, care, and love.

While Mila (sister) and Grey (brother) are both cooking, I appreciate that Grey seems to be the most curious and active of the two. Cooking is too often considered women’s work, so having Grey be so interested is a good way to remind kids that it’s for EVERYONE, and EVERYONE can show that love and care to their family through these acts of service.

The artwork, by Sandra Eide, is done in watercolors, with often sparse backgrounds. A lot of whitespace, but occasional designs within, as in wallpaper. The real focus is the people and the food, as is fitting. And man, am I hungry, now. Especially for fish sauce.

Advanced reader copy provided by the publisher.

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What's in a Dumpling, Grandma? by Linda Meeker is a sweet book between a Grandmother and Grandchild about how to make dumplings and their Vietnamese culture. I loved exploring Vietnamese culture. Reading about the dumplings made me hungry! I believe What's in a Dumpling, Grandma? would be perfect to read at anytime. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book. My review is also on Goodreads.

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Certainly not the first time I've seen a book like this, it remains a pleasant option, and of more interest to one ethnicity than all others. This is a look at how recipes, respect, caring and love can cross the generations and borders, as two young children in America (at a guess) are taught by their Vietnamese-born grandma how to make banh loc dumplings. It's clearly not just about the food – even if we end with the recipe for the old lady's fish sauce – as much of it is about continuance, the benefits of familiar cooking when we're down and how food helps us celebrate who we are. Clearly many immigrant communities will welcome the chance to transfer that message to their own lives, but the Vietnamese diaspora are the key targets of this, and will appreciate it greatly. Four stars at least from them, three and a half from me.

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Grey and Mila are going to visit their grandmother to make Vietnamese dumplings, Bánh Loc, presumably for the lunar new year. Grandmother shares her recipe for Bánh Loc as she tells her grandchildren how she remembers making these dumplings for holidays and when someone is sick and brought the recipe with her to America to share with her grandchildren as her grandmother shared with her.

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Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book and its author.
A fictional cooking book about an asian meal prepared by his grandma. Preparing dumplings seems easy when you are reading this book, but it is longer than reading it and you have to take care to prevent anything wrong.

A nice book where you can learn something more than a recipe, you can also learn some words in the author's native language.


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I absolutely love this picture book! "What's in a Dumpling, Grandma?" is a story that celebrates Vietnamese culture and multigenerational family traditions through food, language, and stories. The illustrations were beautiful, warm, and complemented the story. It follows Grey and his cousin, Mila, as they visit their Grandma and learn how to cook bánh loc (Vietnamese dumplings) and hear her childhood memories.

I loved the glossary included at the beginning that helps the readers pronounce and understand some of the Vietnamese words sprinkled throughout the book. While we didn't get a recipe for Grandma's Vietnamese dumplings, we do get a recipe for her famous Vietnamese famous fish sauce (one of my absolute favourite dipping sauces!).

This is a fantastic book for readers ages 4-8 and would definitely recommend it!

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Thank you to Netgalley and to the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

This is a picture book to satisfy your senses. Through the vivid illustrations and descriptions of the food this family loves, I was almost able to smell and taste it, too. I appreciated the grandmother's personal accounts of why this food was important to her and why she wants to share it with her grandchildren. This really expressed how food is an important part of Vietnamese culture.

In the front of the book, there is a short glossary/pronunciation guide for the Vietnamese words used in the book (it is mostly written in English). I like it when bilingual authors include a but of their own language, because it makes the story more personal to them and their culture (and give children more of a worldly view on different languages). At the end of the book is a recipe for the grandmother's famous fish sauce, which is implied to be from Vietnamese culture. The recipe is another aspect that makes this book a well-rounded learning experience for families, as it gives them an activity to do together, and food to taste, in conjunction with the book.

I would recommend this as a read-aloud for 6-9 year olds. This will be the best way to help children understand the bilingual format, and the book may encourage parents to discuss their own family traditions with their children.

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This was such a sweet story and the illustrations are darling. Definitely a book to add to my children's book collection.

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I loved this book just as I loved the author's last book. I enjoyed getting to learn about another culture and family traditions through food. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback.

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This left me feeling warm and cozy. Its message was heartwarming and the art was adorable! Totally recommend it!

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Outstanding. Even made me hungry. The story is about culture and making memories. Delightful pictures. I gave an honest review of this ARC. Informative and fun. I could taste and smell these wonderful dumplings. Highly recommend.

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This is a wonderful book of family and culture. Stories like this aren't really passed down anymore, unfortunately. this could spark conversations in a family.

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***I received an advanced reader copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This children’s book follows Grey and cousin Mila as they travel to grandma’s house to learn to make dumplings. This was a wonderful story that explored the cooking aspect of Vietnamese culture and family traditions. I really liked that it also discussed the various emotions that the children experienced as they went through the process and they reassurance they received from their grandmother.
The pronunciations of the Vietnamese terms used throughout the book and the recipe for the fish sauce were nice touches.
The illustrations were beautifully done.
Although this book is written for children adults can also learn about Vietnamese culture while reading this together with their child. I really enjoyed this book.
Many thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing me with this advanced copy.

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Thank you to the author, Tommy Nelson Books and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This wonderfully illustrated children's book explores family history, tradition through cooking and the comfort that food cooked and enjoyed with loved ones can bring. Grey and his cousin visit their grandmother, and together they cook bánh loc, a family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. As Grandma shares about her childhood and why cooking bánh loc is so special to her, we see the details of each step, and gain understanding of the Vietnamese culture. There are a few Vietnamese words used in the story, with their meaning and pronunciation given at the beginning of the book.

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Oh so sweet! The illustrations were adorable. I loved the story and the family history. It was wonderful the way the author adds in Vietnamese words that will be useful and easier for young readers.

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In this adorable children's book, we follow two kids, Grey and his cousin Mila, as they are going to visit their grandma. They are both really looking forward to eating bánh loc, Vietnamese dumplings when they get to Grandma's house. But they are in for a surprise because Grandma is going to show them how to make the dumplings! As they learn how to make them Grandma tells them stories of loved ones and how she learned to make dumplings.

This was such a sweet book. I loved that the recipe for the dumplings was at the end of the book as well.

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Meeker has depicted the beautiful bond between Grandma and the children in an endearing manner. I loved how they all cooked the dumplings together, with Grey overcoming his fears and even enjoying the process. Grandma’s honest revelation about her first experience was a heartwarming touch.
The author has used a few Vietnamese words in the story and has mentioned them at the beginning, with meaning and pronunciation.
The book is meant for 4–8-year-olds. Though the vocabulary is simple, I feel early readers might find independent reading a challenge because of the large word count on most of the pages. Also, the font size could have been bigger.
What's in a Dumpling, Grandma? Is a beautiful book about cooking, traditions, family, culture, and creating joyful memories.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson. This review reflects my honest and voluntary opinion.
Wordsopedia Rating 4.5/5

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A lovely picture book that explores family history and tradition through cooking and comfort food. In What's in a Dumpling Grandma, Grey and his cousin Mila cook bánh loc, a family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. As they cook, Grandma shares about her childhood and why cooking bánh loc is so special to her. I really enjoyed how Meeker details each step of cooking bánh loc from the ingredients involved to the different processes that lead to the final dish. The book jumps from Grandma's childhood to the present pretty smoothly and doesn't take away from the cooking process. I can see this book inspiring kids to ask about family recipes and cooking together!

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Such a little children’s book!

I loved the writing, the characters, and the illustrations! A sweet little family story. Also made me want dumplins!!

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Book 124 of 200 ~ 2023


Another adorable book that looks at other cultures - this time about the Vietnamese and I love that there were Vietnamese words infused into the story.

There was also a little list of those said words with an explanation and pronunciation.

Oh, and a little special recipe for fish sauce :)

I guess you can kind of gauge how to make those Vietnamese dumplings, but I would just eat them when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant or when we visit Vietnam.

Lovely and loving story. Beautiful illustrations, too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you, @netgalley

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