At EPOCH, our residents impress and inspire us again and again with the incredible stories they have to share. This is true in the most literal sense of Boylston Place resident Ina Starobin. Ina, a longtime storyteller and writer, writes under the penname of Ina R. Friedman and currently has five published children’s books.
Her most successful work is the picture book, “How My Parents Learned to Eat.” This humorous story depicts the budding romance between an American sailor and a young Japanese woman, both of whom are afraid to go out to dinner together. Their fear is not due to rampant butterflies fluttering in their stomachs, but rather, to the fact that they don’t know how to eat with one another’s native utensils. The gentleman worries he’ll embarrass himself because he doesn’t know how to use chopsticks, while the woman harbors similar anxieties because she doesn’t know how to use a knife and fork. The story teaches children a valuable lesson about embracing others’ cultures – there are different ways to do all sorts of things, and we can all learn other customs (and better understand each other) if we just try. The book may be ordered through your local booksellers or through Amazon.
“How My Parents Learned to Eat” has sold a half million copies and is the recipient of a Christopher Award, which honors work that positively influences the public and encourages audiences to see the better side of human nature. In fact, all of Ina’s works might be considered for Christopher Awards, given that they all strive to educate their audience, helping kids embrace cultural differences, better understand race relations, and learn about history from the perspective of people who lived it.