cover image Soul Food Sunday

Soul Food Sunday

Winsome Bingham, illus. by C.G. Esperanza. Abrams, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4771-7

In this abundantly satisfying picture book, a large Black family—“Mommas and Poppas,/ aunts and uncles,/ nieces, nephews, and a whole lot of cousins”—gathers for Soul Food Sunday every week at Granny’s. Bingham nimbly sets the scene with age-appropriate observations and rich dialogue, describing how the family spreads through Granny’s house before the child narrator takes a new route, following Granny into the kitchen: “ ‘You’re a big boy now,’ Granny says. ‘Time for you to learn.’ ” She lovingly explains the steps for preparing mac ’n’ cheese, greens, and meat, then leaves the narrator to complete the steps (“Now when you’re finished, come see me”). The child tires but perseveres, conveying a memorable refrain, “My hand hurt./ My arm aches./ But I don’t quit,” before adding one last surprise to the feast. Bright typography emphasizes rhythmic lines and onomatopoeia. Distinctive, mural-like paintings by Esperanza, done in vibrant-hued oils on masonite board, emphasize dynamic perspectives and angles, as well as, through close-ups of near-realistic expressions, the family’s closeness. This nourishing story will gratify soul food aficionados, as well as anyone who’s experienced how bonds strengthen through food and traditions. Back matter includes creators’ notes plus a recipe for mac ’n’ cheese. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)