What's That?


Jax loves the food his family cooks. But when his grandmother packs his favorite Chinese dishes for his first day of school, Jax discovers his lunch looks very different from what the rest of his classmates are eating. Embarrassed to eat his food, Jax finds himself sitting alone. When Meena sits next to him, the two strike an unexpected friendship over their lunches, sharing a mutual joy of time spent in the kitchen and the delicious meals they eat with their families. What’s That? is a heartwarming story about the foods that make up who we are and how the meals we eat can bring us together.

For ages 3+
40 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781737240402
Hardcover, 9” x 11”, full color illustrations, 40 pages
Printed on FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper


"Ultimately <i>What's That?</i> demonstrates the vital role food plays in how we connect to our families and our cultures— as well as how we come to know and leave each other and our selves."

<br> - Publishers Weekly

"This children’s book promotes inclusivity and compassion by celebrating what makes us all unique and embracing family heritage and traditions. It follows the story of Jax, whose lunchbox doesn’t look like the other kids’, but is packed of love."

<br> - Forbes

Author & Illustrator

Karen Chan is a mom, entrepreneur and attorney who lives in Los Angeles. What’s That? is her debut children’s book and she is the founder of Gloo Books. She loves cooking and eating and is always thumbing through a new cookbook or children’s book.

Basia Tran is a Polish-Vietnamese children's book illustrator currently based in Jersey City, where she lives with her husband. She hopes that she can share her love of laughter and learning with the world through her art.

Customer Reviews

Based on 32 reviews
Emily L.
What a gem!

I loved this book and thought the message and illustrations were so spot on. Highly recommend!


Such a beautiful, heartfelt book! I wish I had this as a child, navigating the school cafeteria.
So happy to be able to share this with my family

Jimin Ngo
My son's favorite book!!

This book is not only beautiful, the message brought me to happy tears! I remember being ashamed of bringing my delicious homemade meals to school, but books like this give me hope that my son will embrace his food and cultures. He loves looking at all the colorful pages, points out his grandma and foods we eat at home.

Kim D
great book!

Love the illustrations, story, and size of book....can't wait to share in my preschool class!

Marisa Young

What's That?