This semester I’m taking a class about multicultural programming. One of the things we talk about is the way in which different cultures are represented in books and digital media. One of our assignment involves evaluating different kinds of media for different age groups. I chose the book app for Cora Cooks Pancit mainly because it’s one of the few multicultural apps that’s available for Android. Almost all of the quality apps are for iPad, so I couldn’t be too picky.
Cora Cooks Pancit is about a young Filipino-American girl who longs to help her mother in the kitchen, like her brothers and sisters. One day, when they all go out to the market Cora asks her mother to teach her how to make pancit (a noodle-based dish). While they cook, her mother tells Cora about her Lolo, and how he was a great cook who taught her mother everything she knows.
I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed with this book. I’m not sure why. It just seemed like a glorified recipe. There’s just not much real story involved. I think this is a problem I often encounter with children’s books. When I read books (for the most part), I think for there to be a point. That point could just be to offer a well-written, well-crafted story. Or there could be some clear meaning behind a book. I want to finish the book and be contemplating some kind of idea. That just didn’t happen for me with this book. I guess I could have used the recipe to make pancit if I wanted. Aside from that, I got very little out of reading this book. I actually read it on a book app. The app had no interactivity and very little incentive to use the app over buying the print book. It’s only feature was that it would read the book aloud. Honestly, I was unimpressed overall. The only time I would recommend this would be if someone was looking for books with Filipino characters or if they were looking for books with foods from different cultures. I don’t think it teaches much about the culture, aside from the food, which is certainly not the most important thing about culture. As far as book collections go, there’s nothing wrong with this book, but if all your multicultural books are about foods, the cultures aren’t well represented.