cover image Freedom Soup

Freedom Soup

Tami Charles, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 97

Outside, it’s a snowy New Year’s Day, but inside, sunbeams shine through windowpanes, and pumpkin, garlic, and herbs synthesize with rhythmic kompa beats as a grandmother passes down a cultural family tradition. This year, it’s Belle’s turn to unwrap the secrets of her Ti Gran’s recipe for Freedom Soup, a time-honored Haitian dish made from epis (seasoning), marinated meats, vegetables, and pumpkin. After the two mash, peel, brown, slide, and dance, Ti Gran “begins to tell a story, the same one she tells every year,” in rhythmic, candid descriptions of Haiti’s days of slavery and then successful revolution (“to take back what’s theirs”). The dynamically detailed mixed-media artwork swirls with motion, feeling, and references to Haitian culture, and Alcántara (The Field) creates memorable characters in Ti Gran and Belle. Complete with a soup recipe and a personal note from Charles (Like Vanessa) honoring her family and Haitian history, this vibrant title is bound to teach, empower, and rumble the bellies of its readers. Ages 5–9. [em](Dec.) [/em]