May Your Life be Deliciosa by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Loris Lora (9781951836221)
Rosie’s family gathers every Christmas Eve to make tamales with her Abuela. She and her sister soak and clean the corn husks, her cousins chop onions and garlic, her aunt roasts the chiles, her mother prepares the masa dough, and her Abuela cooks the meat filling. The recipe with its secret seasonings isn’t written down anywhere, but her grandmother shares it with everyone in the family. Every year her grandmother shares a story about making the tamales. It wishes everyone that they are flexible, secure, proud, satisfied, loved and supported by family. Now the time has come to make dozens and dozens of tamales together with no recipe, just using your senses. Soon they get to practice patience as good smells fill the house. Finally it is time to eat!
Told with a deep sense of family and generational wisdom, this picture book celebrates time spent around the holidays together. Centered around the grandmother, this book gives her space to share not only her recipe but also her insights into what is important in life. The stories are shared as she creates the first tamale, tying them closely to what she is making with the protective layer, the olive at the heart, the corn, and more. It’s no surprise when you reach the Author’s Note that this is based on his own experiences in his Abuela’s kitchen growing up.
Lora’s illustrations show a multi-generational family and are inspired by her own Mexican family. Using bright yellows, warm oranges, and rich browns, she creates scenes where you can almost smell the spices. The stories are done in a mix of color and black and white, framing them as their own special time.
Full of love, food and warmth. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Abrams.