Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Lisa Bullard
Illustrator: Christine M. Schneider
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
It’s food week at Manuel’s school, and every student gets to say something special about the food their family eats. They learn about Italian spaghetti and marinara; yi mein that’s eaten with chopsticks; special breads from Norway, India, and Jewish cultures; and food that comes from fishing and hunting. Before Manuel’s presentation, he and his grandmother present a special treat, Mexican salsa, and then he brings it to share with the whole class.
The purpose of this series is clearly to educate and promote tolerance toward different groups of people, and this book accomplishes that goal very well. Many foods and cultures are represented, and it’s done in a way that encourages diversity and trying new things. Illustrations are cartoonish and bright, creating a very cheerful feel, and though the text is a little cartoonish too, it remains easy to read throughout. Also, there are a few interactive questions presented throughout, encouraging the child to consider different aspects of food. Finally, the last pages contain an easy salsa recipe, a helpful glossary, and resources to learn more. Overall, this is a fun, interesting book with a positive and educational message.