Happy Book Birthday: TOFU TAKES TIME

There must be something in the air that is providing authors and illustrators with great ideas! Here’s another beautiful book that launches TODAY!

Written by Helen Wu – Illustrated by Julie Jarema – Published by Beaming Books

Here’s a little bit about the book from the Amazon sales page:
Homemade tofu is good, and good things take time.

CLICK CLACK WHIRRRR . . . Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother.

In this charming tale by Helen H. Wu,, readers will marvel at how patience brings a whole universe together in a simple dish made by a modern Chinese American family. Perfect for fans of Fry Bread, Drawn Together and Thank You, Omu.

And here’s a little bit about author Helen Wu and the path to publication for this book:

In the early stages, the book was centered on the complicated process of tofu making itself. I searched about the history of tofu and I was amazed it has been consumed for over 2,000 years. My grandma used a secret ingredient to coagulate soy milk to produce tofu. I never knew what this coagulant was called in English or where to buy it in the US. When I made tofu with my kids, I used nigari as the coagulant. But this vocabulary was a bit sophisticated for 4-8 years old. I searched on YouTube and cooking blogs about all kinds of home-made tofu recipes. Luckily I found lemon juice and white vinegar could also be used as the coagulant. I tried these and they worked just fine. I decided to use lemon juice in the book, which was more poetic and kid-friendly.

Helen Wu

Helen H. Wu is a children’s book author and illustrator, as well as a translator and publisher. Being fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures, Helen loves to share stories that can empower children to understand the world and our connections. Born and raised in Hefei, China, currently, she resides in San Diego, California. Learn more about Helen at helenhwu.com

And here’s a little bit about illustrator Julie Jarema’s path to publication for this book:

I was delighted when I read Helen’s lyrical manuscript about a grandma and granddaughter bonding over food and cooking together, but I had never made tofu from scratch before! I figured I should get to it as part of my illustration research. After watching many YouTube videos and reading cooking blogs, I went about the truly time-consuming process of making my own tofu, improvising with various containers, towels, and a small stack of dictionaries as weights. The kitchen looked more like I was doing a science experiment or an epic arts and craft project instead of cooking, but in the end, I somehow managed to successfully end up with a somewhat lopsided, but very fresh block of tofu to fry up with veggies.

Julie Jarema

Julie Jarema is an illustrator, writer, and bookseller. She graduated from Bard College with a degree in Written Arts. When she’s not making up stories, you can find her going on backyard adventures, sending snail mail, or practicing her circus skills.

Thank you all for spending your precious time here on my blog. I appreciate you so much!
I fly back to the states tomorrow…and then will stay in the Chicago area, visiting with family, till May 2. And then I’ll be home in New Hampshire, inviting children all over the world to participate in the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge. If you are a teacher or a parent, this is an awesome activity for Children’s Book Week. I invite children to write a story in 50 words or less – between May 2 -6, parents and teachers can email the story (with an illustration in jpeg form if the child loves to draw – one year a child created a graphic novel) to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com. And on Mother’s Day, May 8, I’ll be posting ALL of the stories on my blog and each child who wrote a story will receive a Certificate of Participation via email that a parent or teacher can download, print out, and personalize with their child’s name. This is an activity that shows children we are seeing and hearing them…and what could be better than that!

17 thoughts on “Happy Book Birthday: TOFU TAKES TIME

  1. Congratulations on your debut! I’ve looked into making homemade tofu,but never took the risk seeing as how I can just buy it. Of course, there’s always more to the process than we initially think🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy 1st BooK Anniversary, Helen! Recently enjoyed your Ask Me Anything session at Storyteller Academy, and have your book on order. Looking forward to reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book sounds fascinating–and at my level of culinary skill! Congratulations on an intergenerational book about a traditional food!


  4. HELEN: THANK YOU for INSPIRING us through your BEAUTIFUL story’s way of showing the interconnectedness of the WHOLE universe meeting in a grandmother’s small kitchen. SO LOVELY! And Julie’s SWEET illustrations TRULY invite us ALL into the story–and the cooking process. THANK YOU!!!


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