Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! As soon as I saw the ARC for this book, I know I’d want to share it with all of you. I really connected with the story because I grew up in the projects on the Lower East Side of New York City…and our apartment house was a United Nations of people from all different cultures. I was always grateful for that…and author Francie Dekker and illustrator Sarah Jung have captured the joy of that situation. And after you enjoy reading the post, please make sure that you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful book.
OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS
Written by Francie Dekker
Illustrated by Sarah Jung
Published by Little Bee Books
Themes: Diversity, cultural foods, friendship
Synopsis: From Amazon:
This delicious story celebrates the many different types of dumplings that exist in our world and how food brings people and cultures together!
“Readers will enjoy learning about different cultures’ dumpling traditions, and this book certainly celebrates culinary diversity.” —Kirkus Reviews
My nose leads me from my room, through the kitchen, and out of our apartment. Scents swirl in the stairwell of our building. I can smell garlic sautéing. Ginger simmering. Tomatoes stewing on a stovetop.
An apartment complex is having a dumpling festival, and all the kids are excited to watch and help each family cook up different versions of the delicious treats. From kreplach to khinkali and Johnny cakes to jiao zi, each household has its own way of making dumplings, uniquely hand-crafted and based upon their culture. As the children wrap, cook, and eat all the different types of dumplings, they learn how dumplings are the ultimate labor of love!
Underscoring the power of food to both bring us together and help us celebrate our differences, Our World of Dumplings is a rich story that shows the tender relationship between food and company and its natural ability to create a sense of community-and will leave you hungry for more!
Why I Love This Book:
1. I always love when I have a personal connection with a book – and this book reminded me of my childhood, growing up in a multicultural environment.
2. The text is engaging and leads you from one spread to the next. So much action as the children travel from one apartment (and culture) to another, enjoying the smells and tastes…and recognizing that each culture eats similar foods that are just shaped and spiced and prepared differently.
3. The illustrations pop with color and texture…and the illustrator found ways to subtly add context and layers in the art to show us customs and symbols of each culture.
When I chatted with author Francie, she shared a little bit about the path to publication for this book. We all know that patience and persistence are important elements for success…and here’s what Francie had to say:
Everyone says publishing your first book takes a long time, and that’s the truth! I started researching and writing OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS back in 2017. The research on dumplings and deciding which ones to include in the book took the most time! After finishing the manuscript in 2018, I determined I wanted to go the traditional publishing route and started reaching out to literary agents. I eventually signed with Ariana Philips at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. From there, my agent sent out the manuscript to publishers and OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS was purchased by little bee books in December 2020. And now five years (and two kids!) later, the book will be out in the world on September 6th, 2022!
Oh my goodness…thank you, Francie, for sharing that! It definitely takes a lot of patience and perseverance to succeed in this business. Well done!!!
Why not plan an international day for YOUR apartment house or neighborhood…it’s a great way to build community.
And here’s a link to a website that has a few other great ideas to use food as a unifying element, not a divisive one: https://kidactivities.net/diversity-through-food-and-other-activities/
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. But before you hop off to wherever you are headed, please remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS. Maybe you can share your favorite variety of ‘dumplings’. Mine are Indian samosas…my husband and I feel in love with curries on our very first dinner date…and I learned how to make lots of Indian dishes, including samosas.