Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cora Cooks Pancit

Title: Cora Cooks Pancit
Author: Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Illustrator: Kristi Valiant
Copyright date: 2009
Genre: Fiction
Theme: cooking, family
Grades: K and up
Awards: the 2009-2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature


Cora is the youngest child in her Filipino American family. She loves being in the kitchen watching her mother create the foods her grandfather (Lolo) taught her to make. However, whenever she tries to help, her older siblings get to do all of the "grown-up jobs." One day her siblings are all busy and Cora gets her chance to be her mother's assistant in making a dinner of pancit for her family.

How did she do with all of her "grown-up jobs" and did the family like the pancit? Read this book to find out along with a recipe so you can cook along with Cora.

Pre-reading Activity

You can help your students access their prior knowledge of the feelings Cora is having by asking them to think about a time in their life where they wanted to do something but were too little. Maybe they wanted to use tools to help fix something, get to go on a big kid ride at an amusement park, or have the responsibility of owning a pet. How did they feel while they were told they were still too young to do these things and how did they feel when they finally were allowed to?

Post-reading Activity

Students can connect their lives with Cora's by thinking about a special food their family likes to eat together. They can then write a short piece on the ingredients and steps need to cook this meal. Teachers can evaluate these recipe stories for clarity, sequence, and organization.

It could also be a really neat thing if the teacher were to collect these recipes and create a class cookbook that can be printed for every students' family to use at home.

Author and Illustrator

Cora Cooks Pancit was written by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore. Gilmore is a big fan of cooking, particularly foods she grew up with in her Filipino-Italian family. She's wanted to write children's books since she was a child. Believing that "children need to see themselves in books," she has focused on writing books with multicultural protagonists and families, including Children of the San Joaquin Valley and Stone Soup: A Hmong Girl's Journey to the United States. She currently lives in California. (Source: book jacket and here.)

Kristi Valiant made her illustrating debut on Cora Cooks Pancit. Valiant was the magnum cum laude of her  class from the Columbus College of Art and Design before working for an educational publisher and then illustrating children's books. She has recently published her first children's book as an author and illustrator, Penguin Cha-Cha. She currently lives in Indiana. (Source: book jacket and here.)


I really enjoyed this book. Cora is a girl that I feel most children could relate to; frustrated with being too little, overjoyed when she can help, nervous about whether her work is good enough. Although the smells and tastes weren't there, the illustrations brought the food and cooking to life, and have put pancit on the short list of foods I'm going to try making at home. Great book.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

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