1. Toy is from Thailand is such a beautiful book and offers such a rich journey into a Day In the Life of a Thai Child. What prompted you to write it?
Thank you! I have always loved children’s books. I lived in Thailand for almost 4 years as an English teacher and my son was born there as well. I realized that I had learned very little about other countries, besides statistics and dry facts as a child and I wanted to write a book geared toward things I thought would be fascinating to kids and hopefully stick with them. I loved living in Thailand and wanted to share all the fun things I thought kids would enjoy.
2. Why do you think learning about other cultures important for young children?
Learning about other cultures teaches kids to appreciate differences and learn from them, rather than be afraid or intolerant. I hope that it also inspires curiosity about other places and people whose life experiences may be different from their own.
3. What skills does it build for kids to learn about other cultures/people different from themselves?
I think kids learn to reflect and think about their own lives. I think it also helps to develop empathy and understanding for others.
4. Why are those skills important for children to learn in this day & age?
We are living in a time when people from across the world can be more connected than ever due to technology, yet we still see incidents of intolerance and racism. I think the more we can promote and teach understanding, respect, and knowledge for other cultures to our kids when they are young, it can lead to tolerant, empathetic, and informed adults.
5. What lessons did you learn from Thai people that you’ve been able to apply to your life?
To slow down, relax and enjoy life more! Always try to add an element of fun to mundane activities…. and never be afraid of a little spice!
6. What lessons do you think parents can take from how Thai families live and spend time together?
Here in the US, many of us live in such separate large spaces and our schedules can be very full. Living closer to family, sharing spaces – even small spaces, and slowing down to share simple things like meals together, as many Thai families do – could benefit us all.
7. What do you miss most about Thailand?
Can I just say everything?? That’s a tough question. I guess if I had to choose something, I would say the food and walking out the door to so much activity and life happening outside on the streets. I feel like here in the US we spend too much time locked away in our houses. I love the markets. And Song Kran festival – who doesn’t love a nationwide three day water fight? You see, I really can’t name just one thing so I’ll stop there.
8. Are you planning to write another book soon?
I am currently working on a project that incorporates food and culture – a children’s book that explores food around the world.
Thanks Whitney, we can't wait to hear more about your new project!