Sankofa: A Culinary Story of Resilience and Belonging

Penguin Workshop. Oct. 2023. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593385944.
Gr 1-3–Adjepong guides young readers through an exploration of culture, using food as a captivating medium. The narrative centers around Kofi, a young boy facing the challenge of showcasing his cultural heritage at a class potluck. Kofi’s apprehension is palpable, and readers empathize with his desire to avoid feeling like an outsider. Enter his grandfather, who imparts not only culinary expertise but also a sense of pride in their Ghanaian roots. The heartwarming intergenerational bonding while they prepare the dish underscores the book’s theme of connecting generations through traditional meals. The choice of an atmospheric folk art style for illustrations adds to the cozy ambiance, evoking a sense of utility and community. The visuals complement the narrative beautifully, effectively conveying the message of unity and togetherness. The level and composition of the text may be better suited for older children, allowing them to appreciate the nuances of the story.
VERDICT In a tale that artfully weaves the importance of traditions, family, and community through the prism of food, this charming read illustrates the power of food to unite and bridge cultural gaps. A valuable addition to any picture book collection.

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