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CHEF ROY CHOI AND THE STREET FOOD REMIX

From the Food Heroes series

A vibrant, life-affirming tribute to a chef and his city.

The third installment in the Food Heroes series presents Roy Choi and the Los Angeles street-food scene.

Breezy text and lively illustrations invite young readers and cooks into the world of the food revolution happening across the country. Locally sourced fresh produce and good cooking are what chef Roy Choi is all about. A formally trained chef who has worked in fancy restaurants, he decided to be a “street cook” serving “outsiders, low-riders, kids, teens, shufflers, and skateboarders.” Drawing on his South Korean roots and the many cultures of Los Angeles (where he was raised), Choi cooks the way his mother did, “the Korean way—by hand—briny and tangy kimchi, spicy bibimbap, scallion pancakes studded with oysters.” Early on, when Roy’s Kogi BBQ Truck made its rounds with its Mexican-Korean fusion, people said, “Korean guys can’t do tacos”—but Kogi tacos made Roy famous, and the double-page spread of an LA map with pinpointed locations of the trucks testifies to that. Though bordering on in-your-face at times, Man One’s graffiti-art style is the perfect complement to Choi’s cooking and the lively LA street scene. Readers who get hooked will want to read Choi’s L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food (2013).

A vibrant, life-affirming tribute to a chef and his city. (authors’ notes, illustrator’s note, bibliography, resources, biographies) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-9-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter.

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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