[review] Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, Alexis Bunten and Garry Meeches Sr.

Did you know that while most Americans celebrate the fourth Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving, many Native Americans consider it a day of mourning?

The Wampanoag had inhabited Southeastern Massachusetts for thousands of years before the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived in 1620. This illuminating new picture book tells the story of the first Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective.

We first hear a conversation between a contemporary Wampanoag grandmother, N8hkumuhs (NOO-kuh-mus), and her grandchildren Maple and Quill. They are curious to learn how Weeâchumun, the Guardian Spirit of Corn, asked their ancestors to help the Pilgrims. 

“The first Thanksgiving?” Maple asked.

“Some people call it that,” N8hkumuhs said. “We call it Keepunumuk, the time of harvest. Here’s what really happened.”

Weeâchumun grew concerned when a large boat with white sails approached the shore one fall day. Who were these new people? Could she trust them? It had been two winters since many of the First Peoples who had cared for her had passed on to the Spirit World. Would this winter be her last? She called upon Fox to keep an eye on the newcomers.

As fall turned to winter, Fox watched the newcomers travel inland, enter the forest, and build homes on top of an empty village. Though they diligently searched for food, it was never enough, and many died from cold, starvation and disease. Unlike the others who’d come to hunt, fish, and trade years before, these newcomers seemed different: they were here to stay.

When spring arrived, Weeâchumun and her two sisters, Beans and Squash, awoke from their winter slumber. They pushed through the ground and reached for the sky as the sun warmed the earth.

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[review + recipe + giveaway] Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

As soon as I saw “flan” in the title, my mouth began to water and I smiled at the little girl’s joyous face as she peeked into the oven with her grandmother.

What could be nicer than spending the day with a loved one making a family recipe? What  could possibly go wrong? Well . . .

Most of us know that without some sort of conflict there really wouldn’t be a story worth telling, and in Abuelita and I Make Flan, author-illustrator Adriana Hernández Bergstrom cooked up a truly engaging, suspenseful, heartwarming tale that will likely resonate with everyone – unless you happen to be absolutely perfect and have never made a mistake. 😇

Young Anita is excited that her abuela is going to teach her how to make flan for Abuelo’s birthday. Not just any flan, mind you, but the best flan!

Before they even get started, Anita accidentally breaks Abuelita’s crystal flan serving plate – it’s from Cuba and she’s had it forever, before Anita was born.

OH NO.

 Anita has already ruined Abuelo’s birthday. 😦

“Maybe no one will notice?”

Anita knows she should tell Abuelita, but worries about angering or disappointing her, so she decides she will instead strive to be the best helper. After all, she’s usually good at helping Abuelita with things she has difficulty doing because of her arthritis (threading needles, opening jars, undoing knots).

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jana glatt: population fun

Just in case you’re feeling a little low and/or color-starved, here’s some of Jana Glatt’s art to WAKE. YOU. UP!

Colorful, quirky, upbeat and offbeat, Jana’s work is joy personified. Oh, those beady eyes and leetle mustaches! She’s able to convey so much personality with just a few strokes. You can feel the energy and emotion in every picture. Too much fun!

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[delectable review] The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang

A new soup book? Yes, please!

I hope you have a very big spoon, because you’ll need it to slurp up all the goodness. 🙂

The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang (Yeehoo Press, 2021) takes place in a cozy kitchen, where a young girl asks her grandmother what’s inside the big metal pot she’s stirring.

“Seeds,” says Nanni, prompting the girl to ask, “How can seeds be inside the pot?”

Nanni explains that the seeds grew up to be vegetables, adding that there are also gardeners in the pot. This further arouses the girl’s curiosity; she can’t imagine how gardeners could also be inside the pot.

Winking, Nanni says, “Gardeners, with their gentle hands, planted the seeds that grew up to be vegetables and ended up inside the pot.” Of course Nanni then adds even more ingredients: “soil and rain.”

Their conversation continues in this cumulative tale fashion, as Nanni mentions how rain and sunlight helped the vegetables grow, with honeybees pollinating the flowers.

Then, of course, there are the farm workers who harvested the vegetables, as well as the delivery drivers who transported the veggies to market. They mustn’t forget roads, highways, traffic lights, bridges, waterways, or even the electricity that keeps the town running.

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[scrumptious review] Dumpling Day by Meera Sriram and Inés de Antuñano

Dumplings? Did someone say dumplings?

Count me in!

In this mouthwatering story-counting book, ten ethnically diverse families make ten different kinds of dumplings for a neighborhood potluck. What could be more fun or delicious?

Dumpling party today in town!
Let's all cook and hurry down.

Meera Sriram and Inés de Antuñano invite us to step into ten busy, bustling kitchens to see samosas, apple dumplings, wu-gok, fufu balls, gyoza, bourekas, tamales, shish barak, pelmeni, and ravioli being prepared by enthusiastic and hungry adults and children. Drooling yet?

Spicy samosas point to the sky.
Didi is bringing chutney to try.

1 little dumpling on our plate now!
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