“C’mon, Bella, it’s all part of the adventure.” This is a line from the book Bella’s Vietnam Adventure by fellow blogger, Stacey Zolt Hara, about a little girl’s travels through the country for the first time. And my favorite chapter in the series to date.
We loved Bella’s Chinese New Year, based on the real life adventures of her daughter, Bella, and my daughter was very excited when her new book arrived at her door. Bella is a very lucky little girl, with a travel enriched life passed down to her by her travel-loving mama, and we have loved learning and reading about her adventures. As a fellow travel blogger and lover, these books appeal to the way I am trying to raise my own children – to adore travel and carry their passion for it with them through their lives — as I have myself.
As a matter of fact, after my first daughter was born, I started planning a trip to Vietnam. I wanted to explore the region with my husband and young child more than anything. When I found myself unexpectedly pregnant, the plan got shelved, but I still dream about it. And we will get there one of these days as a family.
So reading this book had a special place in my heart. As my 8 year-old daughter and I read the book together, we marveled at the beautiful illustrations and absorbed the amazing amount of detail invested on each page.
After the reading, I asked what my daughter what she learned about Hanoi, Vietnam from the story and this was her list:
1. People take motorbikes in Hanoi; they hardly drive cars. The bikes have enough room for a family of 3, plus a baby.
2. There are no traffic lights. The cars have to slow down for people crossing.
3. People carry food in baskets on their heads.
4. Streets are organized like shopping malls.
5. It’s important to bargain because things are expensive in Hanoi.
6. People in Hanoi are very nice.
7. Women in Vietnam are really strong.
8. You can have clothes made from the fabric that you want.
9. Vietnam has beautiful beaches.
10. Bella is very cheerful! And so cute….
As exemplified by my daughter’s take-aways, the story is memorable and will leave an impression on any child. It also gives them a nice snap shot of life in another culture and what to expect from a visit to Vietnam. The book is beautifully illustrated and a lot of heart clearly went into every image, as well as every word. There is a handy curriculum guide in the back of the book to teach kids more about Vietnam. It includes making Vietnamese hats, creating tailor made clothes and making pho, a local delicacy. No more care and consideration could have been placed into choosing these activities which only serve to bring the story even closer to home.
After reading the book, my daughter declared her desire to travel to Vietnam. Once again, as with the first Bella book in this series, music to my ears!
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate this review but all opinions expressed are my own.