cover image Carla and the Christmas Cornbread

Carla and the Christmas Cornbread

Carla Hall with Kristen Hartke, illus. by Cherise Harris. S&S/Millner, $17.99 (

Top Chef contestant and culinary personality Hall relays a sweetly nostalgic tale following young Carla, who, with her sister Kim and their mother, visits her grandparents on Christmas Eve. Carla’s favorite tradition is her grandma’s cast-iron skillet cornbread; after enjoying the treat, spending time with her grandparents, and donning her Christmas jammies, Carla finds a cookie laying out—only to discover, after she chomps into it, that it’s for Santa. Carla fears she’s ruined Christmas, but Granny helps her bake a fitting substitute. Hall conveys the familial love permeating every interaction in accessible dialogue: “Don’t worry about that ol’ cookie. I’ve got a better idea.” In warm, vintage-toned acrylic inks and digital art, Harris beautifully renders the nuances of Christmas in a close-knit Black family, from taking off shoes at the door to foam rollers adorning the girls’ hair as they lay down to sleep, in this gift of a book. Back matter includes a recipe for Carla’s Christmas Cornbread and Cinnamon Butter. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)