Each book explores a specific ethnic dish from a different country, so readers can travel to unfamiliar places without leaving their home. Every story takes place in the same urban setting inspired by their lives in New York City. After their Dad proclaims “YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE EVERYTHING YOU TRY, BUT YOU HAVE TO TRY EVERYTHING ONCE!” the family heads to a hip ethnic eatery. Sai is apprehensive but Kaya is bold. The adventure begins!
The books lay the foundation for children to have an openness and readiness to be citizens of the world and embrace cultures that are different from theirs through the medium of food. The taste, smell, and color of the dish reflect its origin. Kaya and Sai offer the readers “small bites” that connect food to its country and culture of origin.
Kaya and Sai put the mindfulness back into meals! Mindful eating is an ancient Buddhist practice that connects eating to meditation. The belief is that one should take time during meals to taste, acknowledge, and understand where your meal comes from. Kaya and Sai explore and acknowledge the tastes of their meals and put them into a cultural context for the reader. This exercise is repeated in every book and includes a simple recipe that the child can make with a parent.
Kaya & Sai Explore Chicken Tikka Masala
Kaya & Sai Explore Gallo Pinto
Kaya & Sai Explore Sushi
These books are co-written by Dr. Nidhi Kumar-Singh, a practicing cardiologist, and her daughter Kaya, who is 8 years old. Sai is Dr. Kumar’s younger child. The Singh family currently lives in New Jersey, with their Labradoodle named Aspen.
Dr. Kumar practices cardiology in New Jersey, and is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Rutgers University Medical School. Her professional areas of interest are heart disease in women and pregnancy. She enjoys meditation, skiing, surfing, and coaching Kaya’s soccer team.
Exploring new restaurants throughout New York City enabled Kaya and her younger sibling Sai to learn to love ethnic food. Dr. Kumar soon found that their meals together were a powerful way to teach her children about different cultures and countries without traveling very far. She believes that by giving children a small "taste" of other cultures in their early developmental years, parents prepare them to be successful young adults who think with a global perspective.
Kaya Singh, now 8 years old, was born in New York City. Like her mom, she likes skiing and surfing. Kaya loves playing soccer in the backyard with her Dad. Her favorite foods are Gallo Pinto, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Shrimp Tempura Sushi. When Kaya goes out to dinner she does not like to order off the children’s menu because “Everything is too bland!”