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News & Reviews

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

A Chef's Tale in 13 Bites



Farrar, Straus and Giroux

(pub.9.14.2021) 40 pages

Author: Jamie Michalak

& Debbi Michiko Florence

Illustrator: Yuko Jones

Character: Niki Nakayama

Overview: "As a child and adult, Niki faced many naysayers in her pursuit of haute cuisine. Using the structure of a traditional kaiseki meal, the authors Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak playfully detail Niki's hunger for success in thirteen "bites" ― from wonton wrappers she used to make pizza as a kid to yuzu-tomatillo sauce in her own upscale Los Angeles Michelin-starred restaurant, n/naka.

To anyone who tells her a woman can't be a master chef, Niki lets her food do the talking. And oh, does it talk. Niki was featured on the first season of ... Chef's Table." Tantalizing taste:

"Next, she wanted to study kaiseki. Niki followed her heart back to Japan, back to her cousins' inn.

Bite 9

But as far as she knew, female kaiseki chefs didn't exist. In Japan, recipes and cooking techniques were handed down from fathers to sons, male mentors to male apprentices.

'You can't,' people told her.

I can, Niki thought.

She tended the garden. She saw snow for the first time. And she discovered how to tell nature's stories through her cooking.'

For three years, Niki watched. Niki learned."

And something more: The Kaiseki section at the back of the book explains: "Kaiseki was first served in sixteenth-century Japan at monastery tea ceremones. It began as a simple vegetarian meal. Over the centuries, it evolved into a feast of many courses, presented in a certain order for a variety of tastes and textures...

Now Chef Niki makes what she calls 'modern kaiseki,' taking the traditional Japanese culinary art form and interpreting it in her own way... Chef Niki loves that kaiseki is about more than just feeding people. At n/naka, she thanks each of her guests personally. 'Kaiseki is about bringing people together,' she says, 'and making people happy through food.'"

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress A TRUE TALE WITH


Anne Schwartz Books

(pub.6.1.2021) 48 pages

Author: Alicia D. Williams

Illustrator: April Harrison

Character: Shirley Chisholm

Overview: "Meet Shirley, a little girl who asks way too many questions! After spending her early years on her grandparents' farm in Barbados, she returns home to Brooklyn and immediately makes herself known. Shirley aces school; she breaks her mother's curfew; she plays jazz piano instead of classical. And as a young adult, she fights against the injustice she sees around her, against women and black people. Soon she is running for state assembly...and winning in a landslide. Three years later, she is on the campaign trail again, as the first black woman to run for Congress. Her slogan? "Fighting Shirley Chisholm--Unbought and Unbossed!" Does she win? You bet she does." Tantalizing taste:

"A seat in the New York State Assembly opens - but there's one problem: it has always, always been made up of daring , rebellious, persistent white men. Shirley isn't deterred.

During the campaign, words, words, and more words are thrown at her.

Shirley hears only the most important words, from her father long ago: Make something of yourself."

And something more: Alicia D. Williams writes in the Author's Note: "In 1968, during her run for Congress, Shirley became ill. Just days after having a noncancerous tumor removed, she willed herself back on the campaign trail, announcing: 'This is Fighting Shirley Chisholm and I'm up and around ...' Shirley beat Republican and civil rights activist James Farmer, then hired mainly women - both black and white - as her staff."

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist



Clarion Books

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

(pub.3.9.2021) 40 pages

Author: Evan Griffith

Illustrator: Joanie Stone

Character: Jeanne Power

Overview: "How did a nineteenth-century dressmaker revolutionize science?

Jeanne Power was creative: she wanted to learn about the creatures that swim beneath the ocean waves, so she built glass tanks and changed the way we study underwater life forever.

Jeanne Power was groundbreaking: she solved mysteries of sea animals and published her findings at a time when few of women’s contributions to science were acknowledged.

Jeanne Power was persistent: when records of her research were lost, she set to work repeating her studies. And when men tried to take credit for her achievements, she stood firm and insisted on the recognition due to her.

Jeanne Power was inspiring, and the legacy of this pioneering marine scientist lives on in every aquarium."

Tantalizing taste:

"Jeanne loved the rich colors of the paper nautilus. She loved the graceful way it sails through the water. With her aquariums, she was able to do something no one had ever done before: observe this enchanting octopus alive and up close. And this careful study gave her the chance to solve a mystery that had puzzled scientists for ages...

Jeanne's heart leaped. She had solved the mystery of the paper nautilus. It didn't steal another animal's shell - it created one of its own!"

And something more: Jeanne's Life and Legacy at the back of the book explains: "Although aquariums have existed in various forms since ancient times, Jeanne was one of the first to create aquariums specifically for scientific observation. This put her at the forefront of a major shift in how animals were studied ... The way she advocated for her work was equally revolutionary. Jeanne was far from the only woman making game-changing scientific discoveries in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, many female scientists of this era did not receive credit for their work. By speaking out when others tried to lay claim to her research, and by ensuring that her name was attached to her publications, she helped open the door for the recognition of women in science."

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

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