A NICE DIVERSE LIT
“I want to start off by saying that the authour has a recipie for Honeycakes at the end of the book, which looks delicious. And I will certainly be making that recipie (doesn’t look too hard, I promise), when I get back from Colombia.
The premise of the book is a simple and powerful one and one which bears repeating, especially in this current climate of increasingly violent attacks driven by racism and xenophobia. We are all part of the human race. We all bring different ingredients and flavours to create something big and beautiful, like a honey cake. Our differences, nay, our diversity, is our strength.
This simple message is shown through the means of a Grandma of Russian heritage and her beloved granddaughter, who is of mixed ethnicity, baking Grandma’s honeycake. Seeing the illustrations and following the story gives a warm, fuzzy feeling, as I thought back to my late Grandmother and spending time with her in the kitchen, watching her whip up yet another legendary dish.
i will say that with many independently published children’s books, the font style and colours seem off, kind of amateurish, when put against the illustrations. It didn’t fit the tone and look of the story
Finally, I liked the authour’s decision to make the pages of her book a warm, honeycake colour, too. Made me hungry!”
“Nala’s grandma is one smart cookie. She is determined for her granddaughter to know exactly how special she is. She has a unique way of explaining to Nala that she is a blend of all of her parents’ and grandparents’ heritages. When Nala stops by for a visit with her grandma, the two of them set about making her family’s famous honeycake. Nala, ever curious, asks her grandma why her pet name is “Honeycake,” and the story begins.
Medea Kalantar’s Honeycake: A Family of Spices gives young readers a fantastic story with which to relate. Nala, the story’s main character visits with her grandmother and hears from her exactly how special her family’s background is. As her grandmother proceeds to bake with Nala, she explains in detail the ancestry of each side of Nala’s family and how the two families blend together to make unique individuals.
It is quite uncommon to find stories explaining heritage to children of elementary age, and Kalantar has certainly delivered a memorable story. When Nala’s grandmother relates cultural diversity to the many spices and ingredients required to make her honeycake, young readers are handed a scenario that is easy to follow and is presented in a manner that has been carefully crafted to demonstrate to readers the way in which they, too, are extraordinary.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Kalantar’s writing is her comment on the human race. The author is careful to emphasize that no matter one’s ancestry, we are all part of one race. This is a message seldom seen in books for young readers and is quite refreshing.
As an elementary teacher, I highly recommend Honeycake: A Family of Spices to anyone looking to teach or emphasize the appreciation of diversity to young readers.”
“Nala is nervous. In fact, she’s more than a little nervous. When she is asked to read in front of her elementary classroom, she feels a stirring from within. As her teacher explains that she has butterflies in her stomach, Nala begins to picture a literal tangle of butterflies she must have swallowed by accident, and her misunderstanding continues to blossom before she can arrive at home and be set straight by her mother. Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly, by Medea Kalantar, is a precious account of one little girl’s misunderstanding of the idiom, “butterflies in your stomach.”
From beginning to end, Kalantar takes young readers on a journey to understanding the ways this simple phrase can be literally defined and how it relates to nervousness and apprehension. Through young Nala’s conversation with her mother, readers hear the explanation of the idiom and are given breathing techniques for reducing nervousness as Nala’s mother helps her plan for the next time she is faced with anxiety. As an elementary teacher, I can see Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly being used a couple different ways. Figurative language is a huge part of our third grade curriculum, and this is the perfect piece of literature to use in introducing it to students. In addition, I can see Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly as an important tool in an elementary guidance program. The techniques for calming oneself are more than helpful for young students as they face the stresses of everyday life.
Medea Kalantar has succeeded in providing young readers with yet another touching story revolving around Nala and her loving family. The educational value of each of Kalantar’s Honeycake books is unrivaled. Kalantar carefully crafts her stories to touch readers of all walks of life and always includes valuable life lessons for both children and adults.”