Freedom Soup

Candlewick. Dec. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763689773.
K-Gr 2–It’s New Year’s Day, and Belle gets to help her grandmother, Ti Gran, make the Freedom Soup because the child “has a heart made for cooking.” As Ti Gran teaches Belle the recipe, she retells the history of the injustices of slavery in Haiti, how the people fought and died in the revolution so Haiti could be free, and how the soup that they are making is a celebration of that freedom. Ti Gran’s storytelling practically bursts with love and pride for the people who came before, and Belle (and readers) is swept up in her joy. The glorious, expressive illustrations will make everyone wish they had a Ti Gran in their lives as she and Belle exuberantly dance, snuggle, chop, and stir their way through the day. Belle says, “One by one, I slide the ingredients into the bubbling liquid. The pumpkiny-garlic smell swirls all around us.” The image of the bubbling pot with a golden steamy aroma weaves the past and the present together as Ti Gran recounts her tale. Finally, as family gathers to celebrate and remember, Belle feels proud of the soup she helped make and connected to her family’s past, present, and future. A recipe for Freedom Soup and an author’s note are included.
VERDICT From Ti Gran ceremoniously adorning Belle with a matching apron to the final view of city windows full of revelers, this book is a start-to-finish celebration of family, history, and culture. A delectable first purchase for libraries.

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