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by Jackie Azúa Kramer ; illustrated by Lenny Wen

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2023
ISBN: 9781665914581
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

When Tía Mimi is gone for the day, it’s up to little Carina to make delicious empanadas.

Saturdays bring fun times and the pumping beats of salsa on the radio when Carina visits Tía Mimi to knead and fry empanadas and sing, “I like empanadas! I like you!” But then Tía Mimi goes to volunteer at the Community Meal Center one day. Oh no! Can Carina make empanadas on her own? Accompanied by her mom, Carina explores Tía Mimi’s barrio and gathers the ingredients she needs: coriander at Aamir’s Market (useful for samosas, too), achiote from Lila’s Jamaican patties street cart, “garlic from the market selling mandu, and onions from the deli selling pierogies.” Ah, and beef, which Carina gets from Mrs. Chang, who’s making dumplings. All set, Carina stirs up the food, but Tía Mimi still isn’t home when the sun slips down. To feed a busy Tía Mimi, Carina rallies the barrio and heads over to the Meal Center, each neighbor with food reminiscent of empanadas from their own culture. An ode to diverse communities, Kramer and Wen’s joint effort exudes compassion and generosity. Kramer overstuffs the narrative with lovely turns of phrases, although the story gets lost amid the lengthy vivid language at times. Full of warm colors like soft yellows and oranges, the artwork complements Carina’s adventure; Tía Mimi and Carina are Latine and brown-skinned, while the neighborhood is a diverse one. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A yum for the tum and heart.

(author’s note, recipe for beef or chicken Puerto Rican empanadas) (Picture book. 4-8)