“A bright and spunky celebration of freedom spanning time and knitting generations.”
It’s New Year’s Day and Belle and Ti Gran are embarking on a tradition that links generations—making Freedom Soup. With the question “Know why they call it Freedom Soup?”, Ti Gran begins to tell the story of her heritage, which transports the reader to Haiti before, during, and after the slave revolution and lasts through the soup making process. The celebration of freedom conveys the reader forward through time again to Belle and Ti Gran’s current celebration with family and friends over Freedom Soup. The bold colors and style of the illustrations masterfully blend past and present in the setting of Ti Gran’s small apartment (full of furnishing and art indicative or her Haitian heritage), while simultaneously imbuing the illustrations with incredible movement as well as authenticity as Belle and Ti Gran dance around the kitchen to the rhythm of Haitian music. Each dramatic pose struck by the seemingly inseparable pair adds to the happy and celebratory spirit of the occasion and masterfully creates a tone so joyous as to make this trip down memory lane of the dark subject of slavery informative and enlightening but still child-friendly.
Join the celebration in the kitchen as a family makes their traditional New Year’s soup — and shares the story of how Haitian independence came to be.
The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes. Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.
Belle makes soup with Ti Gran as a way to share history and traditions. Do you have traditional foods that you make with your family that bring you closer together?
Ti Gran teaches Belle about her ancestors. What do you know about your ancestors? Ask a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle to tell you a favorite story they remember.
To Nounoune, thank you for your gifts. Ti Gran, nou renmen'w nou ap manke pou eternite. (We love and miss you eternally.)
For Nana, Abuela, and Mama — and all the Ti Grans who feed us dishes and stories that remind us to be proud of our past.