Ms. Ajemian was my daughter Mahlee’s first grade teacher, and she enjoys teaching her students about all cultures. Mahlee loved sharing the stories with Mrs. Ajemian that I told her about my childhood in Laos. It was this relationship between a teacher and student that eventually grew into a book.
“Mrs. Bender, Mahlee tells me you made toys with banana tree parts in Laos when you were a little girl. It sounds so interesting. Do you think you can come and share about your childhood in Laos with our class?” I can still remember when Ms. Ajemian asked me to present to her class. Of course, I said, “Yes!” I wanted my presentation to be fun and interactive, so I arranged it into a picture book format to share with the children.
Little did I know my first book reading/cultural presentation would be the beginning of something really unique. I was invited back every year to share Lao Cultural Day with her 1st graders. And every year I was as excited as if it was my first time sharing my culture with the children. Inspired by what took place in a classroom, Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers is a published book eight years later.
Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers is a story of generational and cultural differences that is eye-opening and heartwarming. The book celebrates the unique bond between mother and child. Endearing illustrations show Mahlee learning how differently Mommy did things as child in Laos than Mahlee does in America. Mahlee loves doing everything with Mommy, but will she eat fried grasshoppers.