Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic

by Ginnie Lo and Beth Lo

A Sunday drive in the country near Auntie Yang’s northern Illinois home leads... read more

A Sunday drive in the country near Auntie Yang’s northern Illinois home leads to the discovery of soybeans. Soybeans!—mao dou—one of the most important foods in China, but grown for pigs and cows in America. Auntie Yang asks the farmer if she can pick some, and soon she’s boiling the pods in salted water. “Soybeans are the greatest discovery in America!” the young narrator exclaims after popping beans from the pod into her mouth. That meal is the start of a family tradition that grows from year to year and soon includes members of the Chicago Chinese community, who travel to the Illinois countryside to get a taste of home. Eventually, the narrator—now a young woman—meets her aunts and uncles from China, who make the trip for the picnic and, more important, to visit her mother and aunt, who have been longing to see them for decades. Sisters Ginnie and Beth Lo weave a warm, lively story of family, food, culture, and community out of their own memories. A spirited text is paired with singular illustrations combining a distinctive visual style and unusual canvases: ceramic plates. The not-to-miss author’s and illustrator’s note is a brief photo essay about Auntie Yang and the soybean picnic tradition, which lasted for forty years. Highly Commended, 2013 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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