Freedom Soup

Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.

Playgrounds of Babel

This unusual, thought-provoking story begins with an old woman telling a tale to a group of children in a playground. One of the boys can’t understand what she is saying, so another offers to translate. The old woman’s tale is inspired by the Tower of Babel story: In the days when everyone spoke the same language, the people built a tower to reach God. But God was annoyed and sent a dragon to destroy the tower, then created new languages for everyone so that they couldn’t understand each other. Fortunately, two little girls find a way to communicate through song.

Ojiichan’s Gift

This gentle picture book story will warm children’s hearts as it explores a deep intergenerational bond and the passing of knowledge from grandparent to grandchild over time. The lyrical text by Chieri Uegaki and luminous watercolor illustrations by Genevieve Simms beautifully capture the emotional arc of the story, from Mayumi’s contentment through her anger and disappointment to, finally, her acceptance. The story focuses on an important connection to nature, particularly as a place for quiet reflection. It contains character education lessons on caring, responsibility, perseverance and initiative. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce social studies conversations about family, aging and multiculturalism. Mayumi lives in North America with her Japanese mother and Dutch father, and visits her grandfather in Japan. Some Japanese words are included.

Cousins

In Cousins a little girl lives in two opposite worlds. There’s the house where she lives with her father and grandmother that is full of beautiful and expensive things, but rather quiet. Then there’s her other grandmother’s house where her cousin lives, which is always brimming with people. She loves her cousin’s world. But when she does something she regrets, she must confront her feelings of guilt. Eventually, she realizes she is very lucky to be able to move gracefully between two such wonderful worlds.

Family Pictures, 15th Anniversary Edition / Cuadros De Familia, Edición Quinceañera

Family Pictures is the story of Carmen Lomas Garza\’s girlhood: celebrating birthdays, making tamales, finding a hammerhead shark on the beach, picking cactus, going to a fair in Mexico, and confiding to her sister her dreams of becoming an artist. These day-to-day experiences are told through fourteen vignettes of art and a descriptive narrative, each focusing on a different aspect of traditional Mexican American culture. The English-Spanish text and vivid illustrations reflect the author\’s strong sense of family and community. For Mexican Americans, Carmen Lomas Garza offers a book that reflects their lives and traditions. For others, this work offers insights into a beautifully rich community.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 3, Issue 2

Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!

Every time Auntie Elsie comes to visit she gives Andy two big sloppy kisses. Kiss! Kiss! on the left cheek. Kiss! Kiss! on the right cheek. Yuck! Yuck! Andy says to himself.

Andy is a fast runner. But not fast enough to outrun Auntie Elsie. Andy is good at hiding. But Auntie Elsie always finds him. When he ducks down in a pig pen, she climbs right over the fence. When he climbs a tree, she follows right after him.

But then Auntie Elsie breaks her leg and stops coming to visit. Andy realizes he misses Aunt Elsie and her sloppy kisses. One day, a taxi pulls by the gate and out come two crutches. Now it s Andy s turn to get Aunt Elsie. Kiss! Kiss! Hug! Hug!

Kyle Mewburn s funny story of an overly affectionate aunt and her long-suffering nephew will resonate with readers, who will instantly recognize the bond of love that unites the two characters. Ali Teo and John O Reilly s colorful and quirky multimedia illustrations, which combine freehand drawing and photographic collage, exaggerate the humor of the story.