Thank you! Teachers and Librarians. Here I’m sharing with you a new picture book reading list about food and people coming together. It’s inspired by the way A Feast for Joseph has been received as a book that brings happiness around cooking and sharing delicious food. Below are links to more book lists about newcomer kids and food. Happy New Year. Here’s to maybe a tiny new beginning and who knows where that could lead.
Feast! A Reading List of Picture Books about Food and Friends Across Cultures
EVERY NIGHT IS PIZZA NIGHT by Jenji López-Alt, illustrated by Gianna Ruggiero, Norton Young Readers, 2020.
Pizza is “the BEST. This is a scientific fact,” Pipo proclaims. But to investigate her science, she surveys dishes her neighbors are cooking. When a neighbor invites her to taste bibimbap, she says, “I do not need it. I do not want it. But I will try it. For science.” She actually loves it. And so it goes through visits to families in the neighborhood, trying tagine, red beans and rice, dumplings from the food truck, spicy green pozole soup. Then Pipo has to think a lot about what her neighbors love what best might really mean.
FOOD TRUCK FEST! by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Mike Dutton, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2018
The story follows the food truck cooks and one hungry family racing to eat at the festival of foods. “Let’s get moving. No time to rest. Everybody’s going to the food truck fest.” In New York City, the food trucks circle round. “Kimchi tacos, that’s no illusion, Korean and Mexican make a tasty fusion.” Ah but there’s more, Belgian waffles, kebabs, crab roll, shrimp, Vietnamese Pho Sho, Texas Brisket. A fusion of cultures and delicious foods.
GOING UP by Sherry J. Lee, illustrated by Charlene Chua, Kids Can Press, 2020
A little girl is invited to go to a birthday party on the 10th floor of her apartment building. The story is about the ride up on the elevator and all the people from many parts of the world and walks of life who get on the elevator with their many foods, clothes, animals. And who’s birthday? That’s a surprise.
LET ME FIX YOU A PLATE: A Tale of Two Kitchens By Elizabeth Lilly. Holiday House, 2021
A family goes on a road trip, first to visit Mamaw and Pawpaw’s house in the mountains of West Virginia where they eat banana pudding and blackberry jam and sausages. Then they drive “forever” to the other grandparents in Florida, Abuela and Abuelo, where they eat corn flour cakes, arepas with queso blanco, naranjas from the trees. A honest, delightful story to capture moms and dads and kids in their individuality andof cultures coming together as family.
THANK YOU, OMU! By Oge Mora, Little Brown, 2018
A gorgeous story told in bright collages of a cook who is so amazing that people in the neighborhood find their way to her door. The people are of all colors, all jobs. Even the hot dog vendor comes. They love the scent of Omu’s stew. When they arrive at her door, she offers them a taste. “A doctor, an actor, a lawyer, a dancer.” Pretty soon she doesn’t have enough left for her supper, but an act of generosity follows. Oge Mora came to the U.S. from Nigeri; the name Omu in the Igbo language means “queen.”
A FEAST FOR JOSEPH by Terry Farish and OD Bonny, illustrated by Ken Daley, Groundwood Books, 2021
I’ll end with OD’s and my new picture book. I guess it captures my Jane Jacobs desire to bring people together. Joseph, born in Uganda, pulls off a feast in Maine where he now lives. To have a feast is his heart’s desire. He invites a little girl who lives upstairs and her mom who was born in the Dominican Republic. Between Joseph’s traditional food of kwon and dek ngor and Whoosh’s tres leches cake, the neighbors make friends.
A Few More Diverse Reading Lists to Pass On