The Have a Good Day Cafe

Overview

Early each morning Mike and his family drive to the city with their food cart. They sell bagels and orange juice for breakfast, hot dogs and pizza for lunch. Mike passes the time by drawing pictures, and Grandma sits in the shade, fanning herself and missing life back home in Korea.

One day two other food carts show up on the family's street corner, and all three carts serve the same American foods. During the summer business dwindles away, and Mike's worried parents start ...

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Overview

Early each morning Mike and his family drive to the city with their food cart. They sell bagels and orange juice for breakfast, hot dogs and pizza for lunch. Mike passes the time by drawing pictures, and Grandma sits in the shade, fanning herself and missing life back home in Korea.

One day two other food carts show up on the family's street corner, and all three carts serve the same American foods. During the summer business dwindles away, and Mike's worried parents start thinking about giving up their cart. Finally Mike comes up with the idea of serving Korean food from their cart, and with the help of Grandma, the family finds a new way to feel at home in America.

Brimming with love and warmth, The Have a Good Day Cafe is a tribute to the resourcefulness of new immigrants everywhere. Readers will be delighted by this mouth-watering celebration of family and culture.

Mike's grandmother, who has moved from Korea to live with Mike and his family in the United States, inspires him to suggest an idea to help their floundering food cart business.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ethnic pride and entrepreneurial ingenuity dovetail in this story of a Korean-American boy and his homesick immigrant Grandma. Young Mike's family food-cart business stalls when other vendors-selling the same menu of pizza, bagels and similar snacks-set up shop on their corner. Inspired by his Grandma's yearnings for home ("The faraway look on her face means she wishes she were back in Korea instead of here with us," says Mike), the boy suggests the family distinguish itself by selling mandoo (dumplings), bulgogi (marinated beef strips) and other Korean delicacies-with Grandma as head chef. The newly dubbed (courtesy of Mike) "Have a Good Day Cafe" is a hit with more than just the customers ("Grandma puts her arm around me and hugs me tight," says a triumphant Mike). The prose can be emotionally subdued, but the Parks (My Freedom Trip) make clear how much is at stake in a small family business (as Mike and his grandma watch from under a nearby tree, "Hours pass-no more customers"). Potter's (Naming the Cat) flat, literal pastels effectively convey the stretching of hours and Grandma's steely, faraway sadness; less successful are scenes that require more zip, especially as excitement mounts around Mike's new business plan. But plenty of affection and keen observation animate this book, and it may even spark some interesting discussions about global cuisine and the value of selling something that ignites one's own passions. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
On the cover a Korean grandmother offers her grandson a tidbit from a steaming pot of chop chae. This is a story about food and immigration. Grandma has come from Korea to live with Mike and his parents, who drive each day into the city with their food cart full of American food to sell near a park. Grandma cooks Korean food and wishes she were back home. But when two other food carts appear nearby and profits begin to dwindle, Grandma and Mike have an idea. Together they cook up a Korean feast with noodles, vegetables, and meat--adding soy sauce, sesame seeds and garlic for an enticing new menu. At the Have a Good Day Cafe, the family food cart is a success again. Potter's bright pastels, giving both city and kitchen a softened, slightly flat look, are appealing in their gentle implication that all will be well in the end. Grandma's changing emotions are reflected in her smile, as is her relationship with grandson Mike. The Korean grandmother, like many immigrants to the U.S., makes a contribution to American culture as she finds her place in the family and her new country. For readers who cannot resist the description of Korean dishes, a final page shows Korean characters, American pronunciations, and pictures for bibim bap, bulgogi, guk bap, chop chae and other delicacies mentioned in the text. Young chefs will need a Korean cookbook and some help to assemble and sample the savory feast.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Mike loves his grandma dearly, but he's saddened by her constant yearning for her homeland of Korea. Having only arrived in America recently, she is also tired of sitting alone in the apartment all day. Despite the protests of her son, she joins the family as they set up a food cart on a busy park corner. Business starts slowing down when competition arrives also selling pizza and hot dogs, so quick-witted Mike comes up with a plan to serve Korean dishes instead of the usual American fare. He employs Grandma as his partner in this new venture, and by the end of the next day, their newly dubbed "Have a Good Day Cafe" cart proves a success. Allowing readers an understanding of the world of elderly immigrants, the Parks tell a gentle tale of how people can feel at home when they are able to contribute something to their family. Children will also readily recognize the loving and realistic relationship between a grandmother and her grandson. Soft pastel illustrations nicely complement this simple story. A useful glossary of Korean foods is included. An intelligent, thoughtful tale.-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An immigrant family adapts to life in America in this engaging look at their experience. The story stars a young boy named Mike and his grandmother, who has recently come from Korea to live with her son's family. She is always thinking about life back home, Mike observes, as they pass the time at his parent's food cart in the city. Potter's delicate illustrations, which appear to be in pastel, reflect the hazy light of summer, and the family's dismay as they contemplate closure: Competitors have crowded their corner. However, before long, Mike and his grandmother hatch a plan that not only reinvents the business, but also helps her to connect with the past while forging a new identity in America. A sensitive and inspiring portrait of a family's triumph in the face of adversity. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600603587
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,448,360
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

FRANCES PARK and GINGER PARK are the authors of several award-winning books for children. The idea for The Have a Good Day Cafe originated many years ago when the authors would drive to work together and see a Korean family setting up an outdoor food cart each morning. The Parks both live in the Washington, D.C., area.

KATHERINE POTTER was drawn to The Have a Good Day Cafe by the opportunity to share the story with her nephew, whose grandfather came to the United States from Korea many years ago. In addition to illustrating children's books, Potter works as an art director for a community newspaper. She lives in Katonah, New York, with her husband and their two children.

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