Saturday, January 11, 2020

Freedom Soup - a review

Freedom Soup

by Tami Charles
Jacqueline Alcántara
Candlewick, 2019

A young girl and her Haitian grandmother joyfully cook Freedom Soup in this story of Haiti's successful struggle to end slavery.

"Know why they call it Freedom Soup?" Ti Gran asks.
"Because it's free?"
It is the same answer that I always give. Ti Grans laughs her loud, belly-deep laugh.
"Oh, Belle. Nothing in this world is free, not even freedom."
She begins to tell a story, the same one she tells every year. A story of the place she was born: Haiti.

The illustrations, created with gouache, pencil, and marker, are alive with color, joy, music, and dance. Ti Gran wears a brightly colored yellow dress and matching headwrap, and Belle wears long cornrows and an apron to match her grandmother's dress. Both Belle and Ti Gran move expressively and dance while cooking and storytelling. The extended family that gathers to enjoy their traditional Freedom Soup on New Year's Day is large, happy, and celebratory.

The triumph of the historical revolution is not depicted with blood and misery, but rather with proud Haitians boldly marching to war with bare feet and makeshift weapons.

A Freedom Soup recipe and Author's Note round out this wonderful picture book suggested for Grades K-4.

My copy of Freedom Soup was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A Fire Story - a review

 A Fire Story
by Brian Fies
Abrams Books, 2019

In graphic novel format,Brian Fies tells his own personal story as well as those of others who lost everything in the devastating Northern California fires of 2017. Their stories highlight the more mundane aspects of a living through a natural disaster—the bureaucratic red tape, the small things that trigger immense emotion, the weird sense of living as a displaced person in your own environs. Having experienced two devastating hurricanes myself, I can attest that Fies has accurately captured the moods and experiences of survivors of catastrophe. Some photos are also incorporated into the dramatic illustrations. This affecting book will stay with you much longer that the short time it will take to read it.

Originally published online, A Fire Story was recreated (the original web comic is included in the print version) and enhanced for print publication.
Read the original web-based version here.

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...