Review: Chef Roy Choi

“Trying different foods is a bridge into the many food cultures that make us collectively American.” page 28

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Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One.
Readers to Eaters, Bellevue, Washington, 2017.
Picture book biography, 30 pages.
Lexile:  710L  .
AR Level:  4.0 (worth 0.5 points)  .

This is the story of Chef Roy Choi, who’s best known for his Kogi food trucks that combined traditional Korean food with popular street foods like tacos or barbecue in a unique and delicious way.

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Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One.

It’s kind of funny that I found this book through the Diverse KidLit linkup.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table has been on my wishlist for some time.  But honestly, neither of these books would have been on my radar at all without the internet.

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Review: Coretta Scott King

“Coretta’s mother, Bernice, believed that education was the key to a better life. She encouraged her children to work hard in school.” page 11

History Maker Bios: Coretta Scott King by Laura Hamilton Waxman, illustrations by Tad Butler.
Originally published by Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota, my edition Barnes & Noble, New York, 2008.
Biography, 48 pages including extras and index.
Lexile:  720L  .
AR Level:  4.5 (worth 1.0 points)  .

A biography of Coretta Scott King, best known as the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., although she was a civil rights activist herself as well.

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History Maker Bios: Coretta Scott King by Laura Hamilton Waxman.

Not long ago, I came across a Barnes and Noble that had all these little History Maker Bios and quite a lot of Sterling Biographies on clearance for a dollar each!  I spent a happy hour picking out all the African American ones.

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Africa TBR #1: Nonfiction Past & Present

Five books set in Africa that I’ve read, and six on my shelves that I plan to read.

I posted in my entry for the NonFiction Reading Challenge that my first goal is to read 10 books about Africa, set in Africa, or written by members of the African diaspora.

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Nonfiction Reading Challenge

My six non-fiction reading goals for 2018.

I saw a sign-up post for this challenge on Misfortune of Knowing while procrastinating on my 2018 reading/blogging goals list.  After checking out the challenge overview, I realized this fit nicely with the reading goals I already had, which were mostly for nonfiction.

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Five Picture Books About African-Americans

Here are five books for the youngest readers that focus on different African Americans.  Some you may have heard of before, others may be new to you!
(Perhaps these will help you go beyond the big five.)

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Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Dave must have been very strong, as he was able to create pottery that not many could.  He knew how to read and write, because he wrote poems on the side of some of his pottery.  This book shares the beauty and artistry of his life without ever ignoring the harsh reality that he was a slave.

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Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told by Walter Dean Meyers, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen.

This picture book does a great job of presenting the life story of Ida B. Wells, including difficult topics such as lynching.  Because of the subject matter, I’d recommend this for older picture book readers, or as a family read so parents can address any questions children might have.

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Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome.

Did you know that Major Taylor was the first black world champion bicyclist?  He used hard work and athleticism to prove that race did not determine ability at a time when the world was determined to prove him otherwise.  This would be a great book to read before or after a bike ride, or when the weather keeps you indoors!

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Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story by Ruby Bridges.

This nonfiction early reader is actually written by Ruby Bridges herself, and includes photos of her historic integration of a New Orleans elementary school.  This is one of my earliest reviews for this blog, so I was hesitant to link it, but there aren’t enough diverse early readers and this book should be better known.

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When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

I’m not much of a music person, so it’s surprising how much this book delighted me.  The story of DJ Kool Herc is fascinating and covers topics like immigration, community, and of course music!  The illustrations never fail to delight new readers and this remains a favorite in our house.
(Note: technically Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American, but he’s seen as part of the African-American community, which is why I included him on this list.)

Review: An XL Life

“I had loved myself at 500 pounds. I loved myself now, even with my loose skin.” page 203

An XL Life: Staying Big at Half the Size by Big Boy (Kurt Alexander).
Cash Money Content, 2011.
Autobiography/memoir, 237 pages.
Not leveled.

The autobiography of Los Angeles radio personality Big Boy, once known for his size as much as the music he played.

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This book opened with Alexander talking about the father he never knew and how he didn’t feel that contributed to his weight at all.  It’s a marked contrast to the last biography of a black man I read, Un-Ashamed.

On the other hand, Alexander was greatly impacted by constantly moving around as a child.  His stories about homelessness and frequent moves reminded me more of Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness, although he wasn’t moving from relative to relative.  His mother must have been truly remarkable, because his six siblings stayed with the family through various moves and hardships, even after they were adults.

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