Friday, August 12, 2011

Nonfiction Review - Cool African Cooking by Lisa Wagner

One of the huge pluses to my job is that many of the new items that come into the library's collection pass through my hands. OK, this is a blessing and a curse. (I spend a lot of break time putting holds on new titles, and my request queue is -- let's just say it's out of hand, and leave it at that.) But when it really comes in handy is when something comes across my desk that otherwise would have flown right under the radar.

Such is the case of a new series we recently added to the collection, Cool World Cooking by Abdo Publishing. So far there are 6 titles in the series, which is aimed at middle graders, ages 8-12 or so. The books are very visually interesting, with lots of colorful photos and an introduction that includes a world map with the focus region highlighted. The intro also includes some relevant facts about the country or continent featured -- not enough to be boring, just to spark a curious reader's interest. I also love that each volume contains an explanation of the equipment used, along with pictures of everything. For struggling readers, this is a godsend.

The title I brought home is Cool African Cooking by Lisa Wagner. It's hard enough to find African cookbooks for adults, let alone for kids, so this is a real find. The book includes kid-friendly recipes from several different areas in Africa. What's great is that not only are the recipes food that kids would actually eat (Moroccan Carrot Salad, for instance) but they are simple enough for kids to follow. And, once again we have lots of pictures of delicious-looking food, both as it is being prepared and the completed dish. My only complaint is that there aren't enough recipes! But that's to be expected in a book aimed at this age group, and what's here looks delicious. I can't imagine any kid not having a great time making -- and eating -- Tropical Fruit Salad or Sizzling Groundnut Stew.

Check out this and the other titles in the series for easy options to prepare for Cultural Fairs, Show and Tell, or Adoption Day/Family Day. Food is a great way to strengthen the ties to your child's birth country, and books like these provide the perfect place to start.

Cool African Cooking by Lisa Wagner, Abdo Publishing
Ages 8-12
Source: Library

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