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Coquitlam dumpling fest drops kids book ahead of summer feast

"Be You, Mandu!" is the second kids’ book produced by the Asian Arts and Culture Society.
Gina Chong, the president of the Asian Arts and Culture Society, with her group's new book "Be You, Mandu!" The next BC Dumpling Festival is on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2024, at Coquitlam's Town Centre Park.

A children’s book celebrating diversity and inclusion will be launched today, May 3, by the organizers of the BC Dumpling Festival in Coquitlam.

Be You, Mandu! is the second kids’ book produced by the Asian Arts and Culture Society and, like its first, The Lost Dumpling, it’s written and illustrated by Port Coquitlam artist Kirstin Hepburn.

For the new book, the story follows Mandu — the star of the 2023 BC Dumpling Fest — as he’s served at a school potluck with other international dumplings.

The Korean Mandu feels left out because, unlike the Chinese jiaozi, Indian samosa and the others, he doesn’t have a side sauce.

But instead of teasing him, the dumplings encourage him to fly solo and be “one-of-a-kind.”

“Even with no sauce at all, you’re perfectly designed,” the jiaozi tells him.

“Kirstin did such an amazing job for us again,” Gina Chong, president of the Asian Arts and Culture Society, told the Tri-City News on Wednesday, May 1.

“It rhymes and has great colours that pop. It’s great for families to read together.”

Sponsored by RBC and East Van Graphics, the book will be distributed to Tri-City libraries and elementary schools in School District 43, as well as to Surrey and Richmond schools.

Be You, Mandu! follows the society’s inaugural Dumpling Tasting Soirée in Richmond in March, also sponsored by RBC and in partnership with the city.

And, before the BC Dumpling Fest at Town Centre Park on Saturday, Aug. 10, Chong hopes to publish a third children’s book with Hepburn featuring this year’s dumpling honouree: the Filipino siopao.

At the fest, there will be entertainment and cultural events to highlight the Philippines and its famous steamed pork dumpling.

More than 30 food vendors and 50 businesses have partnered with the society for its third annual feast, an event that drew more than 40,000 visitors to Coquitlam last year.

The public book launch for Be You, Mandu! takes place on Friday, May 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Outpost (3001 St. Johns St., Port Moody). IPSE Mandoo will have frozen Korean mandoos for sale at a special price of $20 per bag.