Book Review: Gilmore, Dorina’s Cora Cooks Pancit

We join the celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) by adding our reviews of children’s books that are diverse in characters and stories. MCBD’s stated mission is to “not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Today, we have our resident reader, pre-schooler Jack V. of Davis Parents Nursery School, to read with us our featured book, Cora Cooks Pancit.

Cora Cooks Pancit
Lee and Low Books, 2009
By Dorina Lazo Gilmore
Illustrated by Kristi Valiant


About (Spoiler Alert!):
Cora dreams of helping out in the kitchen. One day, her mother asks for Cora’s help and lets Cora decide what to cook. Cora chooses to cook her favorite dish, pancit noodles. Cora finally gets to do the grown up job of slicing the vegetables, shredding the chicken, and stirring the noodles! While cooking, Mama tells Cora about Cora’s Lolo (grandfather) who was also a cook when he was a young man working in the California farms. At dinner time, everyone compliments Cora on her pancit and her father says her pancit tastes just as good as her grandfather’s.

Jack’s Favorite Page:CoraCooksPancit_FoodPartyPage
When asked which dish she would like to cook, Cora imagines lumpia rolls prancing, adobo chicken legs be-bopping, and pancit noodles and vegetables curling and swirling in a dance party. Clearly, Cora belongs to a Filipino-American household who loves to eat, dance, and party.

Mama’s Favorite Tidbit:
The Filipino and American flags on the fridge.

The Story Within the Story:
Cora’s mother tells stories about Cora’s Lolo who was a cook for the farm workers in California and about his life as a boy growing up in the Philippines. This provides for an opportunity for readers to engage in some conversation about different cultures, immigration, and Filipino American history, especially as it relates to the Manongs (older Filipino men) and their contribution to California farming.

The Color:
The book looks and feels like yellow, just like the pancit noodles.

Teaching Moments:
The story encourages young kids to participate in household chores. It also presents cooking as something that women and men do.

What the Kids Say:
Jack V.’s Friend #1. “I like it when she licks the spoon… and sneaks a bite of the chicken before Mama could see!
Jack V.’s Friend #2: “I don’t like it when she spilled the water but I’m glad her Mama wasn’t mad.
Jack V.: “Mama, I like this book! Can we give it to our school so I can read it there?

Cora Cooks

We love this book and will definitely keep it in our library. We hope you will, too!


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Published by sawagariverpress

Exploring, celebrating, and sharing children's experiences in the Filipino diaspora through books and art.

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