Written by: Melanie Heuiser Hill
Illustrated by: Jaime Kim
For ages: 3-8 years
Topics Covered: Family, Cooking, Cultural Identity, Traditions.
Summary: This is a very sweet book about the preparations of a large family dinner. Each piece of the meal, starting with the table that grandad built, tells a story of significance and family meaning. The kids busily set out plates from a wedding, handmade cloth napkins, and carry foods that are traditionally made every year like samosas, tamales, and vegetables. The illustrations are adorable and diverse, showing a blended family excited to spend time together.
We see this book a lot around the big holidays in the fall and winter, but the book itself doesn’t have strong holiday themes. It would be great to use all year round because of the focus on family traditions and spending time together. We like these books that can be applied to a wide range of events, because not everyone celebrates specific holidays. Perhaps the characters in the story have this meal together weekly, or monthly! The story itself builds on past pages, when each new item added to the table, it is reiterated with past items ending with the table that grandad built. It’s very cute, and we love the art style!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Melanie Heuiser Hill is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and children. Giant Pumpkin Suite was her debut novel. Her first picture book, Around the Table That Grandad Built, was published in Fall 2019.
Jaime Kim was “born and raised in South Korea before moving to the USA when she was 18.
Although she was a timid child who was afraid of just about everything, she discovered a sense of serenity in drawing. As a grown-up, Jaime finally stopped being afraid of everything, but kept on drawing and painting. She works with gouache, watercolors and acrylics to create nostalgic and dreamlike illustrations, inspired by childhood memories of her family, as well as movies, art, and the outside world. Her favorite things are the sun, the moon, the sky and stars – which is why they always creep into her artwork. Her debut illustrated picture book, Take Heart, My Child, was a #1 New York Times-bestseller.”