#SweetsAndSocialJustice: Lizzie Demands A Seat!

Written & Illustrated by: 

Beth Anderson & E.B. Lewis

Kids Can Cook was illustrated by Esther Coombs

For ages: 6 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered:

  • Historical Figures
  • Racism
  • Activism
  • Sweets and Social Justice
  • Bravery
  • Courage
  • Cooking



Lizzie Demands a Seat!: This story is amazing, and especially so because it’s true! Elizabeth Jennings was born a free Black person, and was quite affluent. Her parents were involved in multiple abolition and equal rights organizations and she was well-educated. One day when Lizzie is late for church, she is denied a spot on the streetcar. The story then follows her suing the company and winning! Lizzie was a key figure in desegregating New York streetcars.

I love the wealth of historical information in the back, after the story is over (you all know how much I love having photographs of the protagonists). This book not only teaches about an important Black woman, but it also assists in demonstrating that racism isn’t just in the South. Living in the North, there’s a feeling that “we did it right” and there “isn’t any racism here”; this is patently false, of course. Racism has been, and will continue to be everywhere unless we do something about it.

Kids Can Cook: Of course you know I love cooking, and I believe it’s so important for all tiny humans to learn how to both feed themselves and impress their friends at dinner parties. This book is really wonderful for those learning to cook, and I really appreciate that there are illustrations for each recipe step. The recipe I made turned out to be a granola bar-esque recipe, and I added almonds and dark chocolate chips into the mix, as well as topped with my absolute favorite Malden sea salt.

For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week, it seemed like fate when I opened the cookbook to a random page and it was Oatmeal Bars! I’m on a constant hunt for a replacement oatcake recipe from my youth, so I just had to make this one. In Kids Can Cook, there are a wide range of recipes including meals, snacks, and desserts. They vary in difficulty, which I think helps to scale a young chef’s achievements and help keep certain recipes aspirational. If you’re unaware how dorky I am, I’m a big fan of Lev Vygotsky’s ZPD (zone of proximal development) that is known for building scaffolding into teaching. The goal is to find a sweet spot of learning where someone can do a task with minimal help but their skills are stretched just enough to be learning but not frustrated enough to quit. I am personally looking forward to trying to Curry, Flatbread, and Cheese Straw recipes next!

Both of these books were a submission for the #bookstagang_bestof2020 list. Lizzie was sent by Boyds Mills & Kane and Kids Can Cook was sent by Button Books, but all opinions are my own!

Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson has always been fascinated with words and language – from sound and meaning, to figurative language and point of view, to cultural and scientific aspects of language. After earning a B.A. in linguistics and a M. Ed. in reading, she taught English as a second language for more than 20 years. She believes that, immersed in her classroom community, she learned more than her students as she advocated for them and encouraged them to share their voices. Surrounded by young people from all over the world, with literature as her favorite tool, Beth was fascinated by the power of books to teach, connect, and inspire.

Encouraged by her elementary school teachers, Beth carried with her the itch to write. From poems, plays, and puppet shows, to stories and memoir pieces… through Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, and into Colorado, it followed her. In 2013, she began her journey writing for children. Combining her love of  writing with the joys of discovery and learning, she found her niche with narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books.

E.B. Lewis

E.B. Lewis is the illustrator of a numerous books for children including Talkin’ About Bessie (a 2003 Coretta Scott King Award winner), The Bat Boy and His Violin (a Coretta Scott King Honor book), Down the Road (a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association), and The Other Side (a Notable Book for Language Arts). The Coretta Scott King Award is the premier award honoring African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Inspired by two artist uncles, as early as the third grade, Lewis displayed artistic promise. Beginning in the sixth grade, he attended the Saturday Morning Art League and studied with Clarence Wood. Lewis attended the Temple University Tyler School of Art, where, he discovered his medium of preference was watercolor.

During his four years at Temple, Lewis majored in Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Education. After graduating, he taught art in public schools for twelve years. Presently, E.B. teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He is also a member of The Society of Illustrators in New York City, and an artist member of Salamagundi Art Club of New York.

Esther Coombs

Esther Coombs is a professional illustrator based in rural Kent. Her work often starts with observational black drawings, embracing a slightly wobbly quality of line, with a view to creating a polished but unique end result. 

Probably best known previously for drawing urban architecture, large public murals, accurate diagram instructions and children activity books. However, more recently also domestic and more ‘natural’ subjects such as animals, plants and people (even the Queen).

Recent clients include: Guild of Master Craftsmen Button Books, Stone water Development, A-space, National Gallery Company, Lark Books USA, Kyle Books and numerous private briefs, Esther is happy to welcome commissions small and large, corporate and private.