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Dumplings for Lili
Cover of Dumplings for Lili
Dumplings for Lili
An NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Book A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year A heartfelt picture book celebration of food, community, and family—and little dumpling treasures from...
An NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Book A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year A heartfelt picture book celebration of food, community, and family—and little dumpling treasures from...
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  • An NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Book

    A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year

    A heartfelt picture book celebration of food, community, and family—and little dumpling treasures from around the world.

    Lili loves to cook baos, and Nai Nai has taught her all the secrets to making them, from kneading the dough lovingly and firmly to being thankful for the strong and healthy ingredients in the filling. But when Nai Nai realizes that they are out of cabbage (Secret #8: line the basket with cabbage leaves!), she sends Lili up to Babcia's apartment on the sixth floor to get some. Babcia is happy to share her cabbage, but she needs some potatoes for her pierogi. . . .

    What follows is a race up and down the stairs as Lili helps all the grandmothers in her building borrow ingredients for different dumplings: Jamaican beef patties, Italian ravioli, Lebanese fatayer, and more. Energized by Melissa Iwai's engaging artwork and kinetic storytelling, Dumplings for Lili is a joyful story of sharing food, friendship, and love in all their forms.

About the Author-

  • Melissa Iwai is a children's book author and illustrator who incorporates both traditional and digital media into her art. When she's not working, Melissa cooks and develops her own recipes. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 26, 2021
    Chinese youngster Lili is thrilled when her Nai Nai asks if she wants to help make bao. But when Nai Nai realizes they’re out of cabbage, she sends Lili—and Shiba Inu Kiki—to request some from Babcia, a blue-eyed, white-haired grandmother making pierogi on the building’s sixth floor. Babcia happily hands over a head—but then asks Lili to get potatoes from Granma, a Black grandmother with periwinkle spectacles on the second floor who’s making Jamaican beef patties. In this way, Lili’s relay continues as she requests and delivers dumpling ingredients for six grandmothers. Author-illustrator Iwai’s prose is approachable and heartwarming; in one spread, she advises readers to let bao dough “take a catnap in a warm place while you make the filling.” The art is similarly friendly, punctuated by speech bubbles. A resonant portrait of intergenerational care, and a toothsome celebration of how food unites a multicultural community. Back matter includes a bao recipe. Ages 6–8.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2021
    Preschool-Grade 3 *Starred Review* Lili is visiting Nai Nai, her grandmother, who lives in a six-story apartment building with a granny on every floor. Today, each is preparing her own special dumplings, but Nai Nai needs cabbage leaves for making bao (steamed buns). Lili runs upstairs and borrows some from Babcia. On the second floor, Granma gives Lili potatoes for Babcia's pierogi. Going upstairs and down repeatedly, Lili fetches garlic from Abuela for Granma's beef patties, cumin from Nonna for Abuela's tamales, and for Nonna's ravioli, olive oil from Teta, who's making fatayer. The six grandmothers take "their little dumpling treasures" to a feast in the garden. And when Lili's parents arrive with her new baby brother, they all celebrate together. This colorful picture book combines intergenerational affection with international culinary traditions. Lili's first-person narrative reads aloud well. Created with both traditional and digital media, the many bright, dynamic scenes showing Lili with the grandmothers are summed up in an appealing, board game-like diagram detailing her errands. From the intriguing picture of the tall, narrow apartment building to the final image of Lili holding her baby brother, the artwork radiates warmth and charm. A sunny picture book in which neighbors gather to welcome the newborn to their close-knit, multicultural community.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2021
    When Nai Nai declares it's time to make bao, grandchild Lili is thrilled! Baos are Lili's favorite food, and thanks to Nai Nai, Lili knows the eight secrets to making delicious baos. But Nai Nai doesn't have the cabbage leaves she needs for secret No. 8 (a discovery that elicits the Chinese expostulation "Zao gao!"), so Lili visits a neighbor to ask for some. Nearly every grandmotherly neighbor also needs an integral ingredient to make dumplings from their respective cultural cuisines. Lili helpfully runs about the building taking ingredients from one person to another. Finally, plates and steamers and bowls of dumplings are brought outside to celebrate the arrival of Lili's new baby brother, swaddled in blankets like a "little dumpling treasure." Like a good dumpling, the elements of this story are well known yet the combination is reassuring. Lili's narration tells a linear story filled with cheerful interactions with kindly neighbors. The textured, brightly colored illustrations exude warmth. Depictions of characters and items in their homes match the cultures of their names. For instance, pierogi-cooking Babcia has pale skin and white hair, and her apartment is adorned with Eastern European objects and patterns. A detailed recipe for Nai Nai's baos is appended, and all the various dumplings are highlighted and named on the endpapers. This celebration of the universality of cooking to convey love is both familiar and satisfying. (Picture book. 4-8)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Norton Young Readers
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