Plátanos Go with Everything

HarperCollins. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063067516.
PreS-Gr 3–Yesenia loves to spend time with her mother, making the Dominican treats their whole family loves. While the chicken, rice, and beans are cooking, they turn to plátanos, which look like the sun on the plates. “Plátanos are like warm hello kisses from Abuela,” who arrives with Abuelo, and lived with Yesenia when they first moved to the United States. “Crispy, salt-sprinkled tostones” remind her of Papa’s wish for a quiet office where he can write his poetry, and Mami says that serving food to visitors is their way of saying “Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.” Palacios’s vivid illustrations capture a very loving and colorful New York City where this family is starting a new life, and where they have brought the scents of home with them and made them a part of every day. The corner store where they buy more plátanos, which smell like wishes going into the air and the window, remind Yesenia of the home and here at the same time. The writing maintains a childlike perspective but is never less than lyrical; as the narrator names triumph after triumph and cure after cure the plantains have accomplished, readers will be convinced that they, too, need more of this magic in their own lives.
VERDICT A welcoming paean to home, recipes, and family, and although the emphasis is the Dominican Republic, there are few whose mouths will not water over these pages. A feast for cultural sharing, awakening, and creating.

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