The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate

Black U.S. history is dynamically showcased through food, drink, crafts, games, and music playlists in The Juneteenth Cookbook, author Alliah L. Agostini and illustrator Sawyer Cloud's thematic sequel to their picture book The Juneteenth Story. Co-author and recipe developer chef Taffy Elrod brings 20 years of experience in the food industry to this celebratory and accessible cookbook for children.

Each section--Drinks, Appetizers, Mains, Sides, and Desserts--features three or four recipes based on "historically relevant foods" as well as an activity that encourages kids to find ways to celebrate. Agostini and Elrod include recipes that "are linked to Juneteenth and broader African American and Black culinary and cultural traditions" and provide "some often overlooked but fascinating context" for many of the items. Children are encouraged to honor (and taste!) the significance of emancipation through traditional flavors found in their recipes for items like Freedom Fizz, Mac 'N' Please, and Sweet Potato Pie Bars (many of which can be made with allergen-friendly ingredients). Each recipe is intended to be budget-friendly and easy for home chefs of all ages--a big positive for any kid itching to try cooking solo.

Illustrator Sawyer Cloud uses an abundance of hues to focus young readers' attention on her vivacious art which features soft lines that portray an array of inclusive skin tones, hairstyles, and facial features. Her illustrations of the food are painterly, reminiscent of Maira Kalman's work. Agostini and Elrod's text mixed with Cloud's illustrations make for a cookbook that encourages intergenerational celebration, storytelling, and fellowship. --Rachel Werner, author and teaching artist at Hugo House, Lighthouse Writers Workshop and The Loft Literary Center.

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