Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Mountain Chef

Mountain Chef Book Cover Mountain Chef
Annette Bay Pimentel (Author), Rich Lo (Illustrator)
Children's Non-Fiction
(August 2, 2016)

The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness--and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service.

Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California.

When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men—writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star—to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook.

Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck—twice!—and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge.

On the last night, he fed not just the campers' bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains.

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, created by Congress on August 25, 1916.

Today, you can hike to Sing Peak, named for Tie Sing, in Yosemite National Park.

Last year, I discovered this group right after the sign-up date. I’m insanely glad I had the chance to be part of it this year. As I have mentioned in the past, I read to my son every night. My husband and I love reading so we have made it a point to instill that love in our son. When I go to the library, I literally grab a book off each shelf I walk by, making sure we haven’t read it before and put it in our library bag. After a few months, I realized that I actually have to look for diverse children’s books. Even in my diverse city of Pueblo, Co, there are few diverse books for kids around my son’s age. While I have made a big deal about diverse books on my TBR, I never thought to check my son’s lists. I’m hoping that in the next decade it will be much easier to find more cultures in children’s literature. In the meantime, it’s our job as parents to make sure we seek these books out and share them as often as we can. For Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017, My son and I will review ‘Mountian Chef’.
I haven’t read my son many non-fiction stories. Before reading it to him, I decided to read it over myself. I wasn’t sure he would enjoy it as it’s more of a history lesson than he is used to.  I was shocked by how many questions he asked. At first, he didn’t believe that Tie Sing was a real person and asked if cooking outside was hard(because he obviously had to build an outside kitchen). Once we finished the story and I explained all the facts in the back, he wanted to know all about China and about the harsh reality Tie Sing had to face being a Chinese-American.  Now knowing how much he enjoyed a non-fiction story, I will be on the look out for more. It was a hit in our house!

What did you think of this story?

Well, It seems super hard to make a kitchen outside. I think that he must be strong or the horses because they had to carry the kitchen.(no idea why he is stuck on this)

What did you like most about it?

TIE SING! because it’s about him, duh. He camped outside and made yummy food.

Did you worry about anything in the story?

I thought the horsething would knock Tie Sing off the mountain FOR SURE but he was okay. (After correcting him earlier, he can’t say mule…so it’s horsething)

Did you learn anything?

That I don’t know Chinese or how to camp. (He is also somewhat upset by this, and I have no idea why)

I’m a geek blogger, mom, a wife, and a reader. My family and I are currently living in the beautiful state of Colorado. I started my blog after I landed myself in the hospital for multiple pulmonary embolisms. It took over a year to diagnose me with lupus among other things. It’s been a long journey but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I read all genres and I write about anything I feel like; From my issues with Lupus/RA/pulmonary embolisms to what is going on in the book world. Every day is a new adventure!
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