Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese: A Story of Food, Family, and Freedom

Crown. Sept. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593486146.
Gr 2-4–Frances is in town visiting her family for the New Year’s holiday. She gets to spend the whole day in the kitchen with her grandmother helping cook and listening to the stories behind why her family eats the foods that they do. Along with Frances, readers get to learn about black-eyed peas, hogshead cheese, pecan pralines, and other foods that were originally eaten by slaves out of necessity and are now eaten during celebrations to honor and thank their ancestors for their sacrifice. Armand includes sidebars that give factual information about topics talked about in the story, from the Atlantic Slave Trade to definitions for different foods. Creole words are interspersed through the text, but the narrator sounds them out phonetically. The illustrations are detailed and colorful, inviting readers into the space with Frances and showing off the different foods she and her grandmother make. Back matter includes a recipe for pecan pralines, author’s note, sources, and a further reading list.
VERDICT Excellent for any collection needing to expand the New Year offerings; display it before the December break.

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