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Knopf Books for Young Readers

A heartwarming picture book about a Chinese American girl who grows to appreciate the traditional dishes her parents prepare for her and finds a way to share her lunch with her classmates.

Everyone loves lunchtime. Everyone, that is, but Zia.

At school, the other kids are eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and apples on the side. But Zia’s always nervous about opening her lunchbox. Her dumpling and noodle dishes look different and smell different. She dreads lunchtime.

Then, during her birthday week, her parents pack her a different Cantonese dish each day and explain what the food represents: a roast pork bun to bring treasure, soy sauce chicken to bring success, and more. At first, Zia doesn’t want to eat her lunch, but once she starts, she just may realize her food could bring her good fortune after all!


"A familiar outsider experience inspires children to find pride in their identity in this celebration of Cantonese food and family."

"A familiar story with a fresh twist grounded in Cantonese cooking . . . children will connect with Zia’s struggles and will be encouraged to share their family traditions with others."
–School Library Journal

"An excellent vehicle for introducing some essential dishes and Chinese culture in a new way."
–Kirkus Reviews

"Via a well-trod story arc, the creators detail the meanings behind specific dishes alongside a child learning to appreciate her heritage."
–Publishers Weekly

Goodreads Reviews

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