Elem. – Soul Food Sunday

Bingham, Winsome. Soul Food Sunday. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021. 978-1-419-74771-7. 48 p. $17.99. Grades K-2.

It can’t be soul food Sunday without the macaroni and cheese, greens, and chicken, ribs, and sausage! The narrator is a young boy but old enough to join in the fun (and hard work!) in his grandmother’s kitchen. His grandmother guides him through grating cheese, rinsing greens, skinning the chicken, skinning the sausage, and even a special surprise. The hard work that goes into this meal makes the food taste that much more delicious! The beautiful story of mouthwatering family time showcases tradition and culture that goes far beyond the actual recipes–but a recipe for mac and cheese is included! An author’s note includes the importance of soul food to the author and a story of how the illustrator learned to cook from her family members.

THOUGHTS: A great addition to any elementary library to showcase culture that emphasizes the importance of food and family and how they come together.

Picture Book          Samantha Hull, Ephrata Area SD

Elem. – Every Night Is Pizza Night

López-Alt, J. Kenji. Every Night Is Pizza Night. Norton Young Readers, 2020. 978-1-324-00525-4. Unpaged. $17.95. Grades K-3.

Pipo is a young scientist, and she has done many tests to prove that pizza is the best meal. Pipo loves pizza so much, in fact, that she makes it every night, despite her parents’ desire (and encouragement) to try something new. Local neighborhood grocer Mr. Gonzales even knows Pipo’s list by heart. Pipo travels around her diverse neighborhood to collect more data because “a good scientist always wants more data.” Her neighbor Eugene makes an old family recipe bibimbap, and Pipo’s reaction has her questioning if it may be better than pizza. She leaves to collect more data around her neighborhood, trying tagine, red beans and rice, and dumplings. Mr. Gonzales, who knows everyone and has tried everything, helps Pipo realize there isn’t only one best food, but Pipo needs science to help her accept this theory. Subtle hints n the decor will show a careful reader more about each neighbor’s recipe and cultural background.

THOUGHTS: Ruggiero’s colorful, lively illustrations bring Pipo’s spunky personality to life. With Pipo’s pizza recipes at the end, this will be a fun addition to any elementary library. Use this title as an exploration of the scientific method, communities and neighborhoods, or as a great way to talk about cultural foods.

Picture Book          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD