Friday, August 20

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman

When I first starting teaching many years ago, studying Japan was a major component of the second-grade social studies curriculum I needed to teach.  We would spend roughly a month learning about Japanese history, geography, and culture.  At the end of the unit, my students and I would read How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman together, go to the Japanese restaurant nearby, and learn how to eat with chopsticks.  Good times!

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman. A little girl tells the story of how her parents met, fell in love, and learned how to eat. (Japanese + American culture. Written in English) #kellysclassroom

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2016.
Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.



How My Parents Learned to Eat is a sweet story about a Japanese woman and an American man who meet and fall in love. They are shy about eating together because he doesn’t know how to use chopsticks she doesn’t know how to use a fork. Neither one of them wants to feel foolish while eating in front of the other, so they each find someone else to teach them. 

After hours and days of practice, they find the confidence to have dinner together. It was awkward for them at first, but they felt comfortable with each other after a while and begin talking about marriage. 

How My Parents Learned to Eat is told from the perspective and point of their daughter.  At the end of the story, she tells us what meals are like in their house.  She says:

In our house, some days we eat with chopsticks and some days we eat with knives and forks. For me, it’s natural.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman

About the Book

Author's Summary: A young girl recounts the story of her parents' courtship as her father, an American sailor stationed in Yokohama, and her mother, a Japanese girl, overcome the problems of different cultures.

🍎 Title: How My Parents Learned to Eat
🍎 Author: Ina R. Friedman
🍎 Illustrator: Allen Say
🍎 Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
🍎 Date: April 27, 1987
🍎 Pages: 32


How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman. A little girl tells the story of how her parents met, fell in love, and learned how to eat. (Japanese + American culture. Written in English) #kellysclassroom

This post is part of the second annual Read Around the World Summer Reading Series from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Follow along all month long for global summer reading recommendations for kids of all ages!

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