Where do you find find resources for your family about Asian culture? Before my son came home from the orphanage, I started shopping for books about Vietnam, Vietnamese families, holidays and cooking.
For our family, we are lucky that Allison Martin has done millions of hours of research on Vietnamese culture, at AdoptVietnam.org. She has a list of books and lots of other information. Many of the books can be ordered from Amazon.com. Those which are out of print, I have gotten on Amazon used books or at Half.com.
Because Vietnam was open for adoption circa 1996-2002 or so, we have the benefit of books written by parents who adopted during that time. The first book I bought was “When You Were Born in Vietnam: A Memory Book for Children Adopted from Vietnam” by Theresa and William Bartlett. This book has lots of pictures of orphanages in Vietnam. I’m pretty sure I ordered this before we were even matched with our child. I didn’t know until later that many of the pictures of orphanages in that book are of the actual orphanage where Danny lived for the first 7 months of his life, Ham Tan Childrens’ Home Center. There is an online resource for that book which identifies the location of all the pictures.
But while we were in Saigon in 2008, a couple days before going out to the province to meet our child, we went to a bookstore and bought several English/Vietnamese children’s board books. I see that you can get them at Vietnamese Artwork online for about $10 each, but we bought them in Saigon for about $1.00 each. I didn’t read them until recently, and although they are board books and I had assumed they were folk tales for toddlers and preschool children. It turns out, the vocabulary of the English is just not preschool vocabulary and I have put them away for a few more years.
Then the year he turned 2, I started ordering children’s books about Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year from Amazon. A list of some of those books is here. I tried to get as many books about Lunar New Year from my local library as I could, but they just didn’t have the best preschool picture books.
For adult reference and movies, I have found help with Listmania on Amazon. Listmania is an area of Amazon where customers make lists of books or movies that belong together in a certain category that they recommend. There may be a better way to get to Listmania, but until I find it, I type in “Listmania” in the top search box at Amazon.com and then it comes up. Look on the bottom of the Left Navigation Bar where in tiny letters it says “Search Listmania”. Put the words you are interested in in that box and press “Go”. Then you can search the lists which come up. Listmania helped me identify some of the movies that are available on Netflix about Vietnam that are listed here and here, since Netflix has a terrible search engine in regard to their movies.
But there is one place that I go back to get more and more and that is the local library sale at Wheaton Regional Library. This is an outlet of the Friends of the Library– Montgomery County, MD.
The bookstore at Wheaton Library is in the basement. The address is 11701 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton. You can call the store at (240) 777-0688. There is a one and a half shelves of children’s non-fiction reference books about Asian countries. They sell donated books as well as books that are no longer needed in the Montgomery County Library System. Most of the books I buy (which by the way usually cost 50 cents) are written for the children’s library market and are not usually available at Amazon. I like having pictures and easy to read books that I can share with Danny when he gets older. I was there a couple of days ago and got two new books on Vietnam, which I had not seen before and a book on Central Asia for a friend. There were lots of books about China, Kazakhstan, Japan, India and others…. They come and go, so you have to stop back every once in awhile. And while you are there, you might as well check out the other childrens’ books they have. I bought a bag full of Halloween picture books, while I was there.
There are two other Friends of the Libraries in Montgomery County: Rockville, MD – The bookstore at Randolph Hills Shopping Center is next to Kosher-Mart grocery store and the Goodwill store. The address is 4886 Boiling Brook Parkway in Rockville. You can call the store at (301) 984-3300. Gaithersburg, MD – Our Gaithersburg Bookstore can be tricky to find. When you’re inside the Quince Orchard Plaza, the store is back in the alleyway to the left of the Magruder’s. You can see the red lighted sign saying “Books” when looking directly down the alley, behind the ATM machine. The Quince Orchard Plaza is located behind the Chevy’s Restaurant off Exit 10, at the second light past the Dogfish Head Alehouse. The address is 604 Quince Orchard Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. You can call the bookstore directly at 301-355-7211. (All of this text about location was swiped from the Friends of the Library web site.)
Do you know of other used books stores in the DC area which carry childrens’ books about Asian culture? Did you have luck at either of the other stores in Montgomery County or some place else?