The Definitive Guide to

Freedom Soup

Written by Tami Charles & illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
Published by Candlewick
5.13 / 7.0
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.3 / 5.0
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used $6.47
Dec 10, 2019
Publication Date
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What Does Bookroo Think of Freedom Soup

“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.

What's Freedom Soup About

Publisher Summary

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.

What Kind of Book is Freedom Soup

Quotes from Freedom Soup

  • “One by one, I slide the ingredients into the bubbling liquid. The pumpkiny-garlic smell swirls all around us.”
  • “Long ago, my country was a land of sugarcane and coffee fields, and my people were slaves, working under the fiery sun, growing vegetables, making soup for their masters, soup they were never allowed to eat themselves. Freedom soup was only for the free.”

Where Does Freedom Soup Stand Out


The “Heritage” badge is awarded to exceptional books celebrating personal heritage and family history.

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • 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.

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Book Snob Mom
Mom of boys. Lover of Harry Potter, Jane Austen and believes one can never own too many children's books!
5.0 / 7.0
Mom of Boys
Mom of three little boys who love books about dragons, whangdoodles and magic.
5.0 / 7.0
The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
5.0 / 7.0
B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mama who believes you're never too old for magical stories of talking animals and imaginary worlds.
5.5 / 7.0

Book Lists That Include Freedom Soup

Book Topics › Haitians
Children's Books About Haitians
Book Topics › Haiti
Children's Books About Haiti
Book Topics › based on a true story
Children's Books About Based On A True Story
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Who Wrote Freedom Soup

Tami Charles

Tami Charles is a former teacher who now writes picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction for kids. She is the author of the novel Like Vanessa. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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Who Illustrated Freedom Soup

Jacqueline Alcantara
Jacqueline Alcántara,
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What Has Tami Charles Said About Freedom Soup

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Tami know that you want more details about Freedom Soup!

What Has Jacqueline Alcantara Said About Freedom Soup

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Jacqueline know that you want more details about Freedom Soup!

Tami Charles's Book Dedication

To Nounoune, thank you for your gifts. Ti Gran, nou renmen'w nou ap manke pou eternite. (We love and miss you eternally.)

Jacqueline Alcantara's Book Dedication

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.

Where are Belle's ancestors from?
  1. Hawaii
  2. Haiti
  3. Mexico
  4. Kenya
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Book Details

Publication Date:
December 10, 2019
Text Details:
This book was typeset in Badger.
Illustration Details:
The illustrations were done in pencil, marker, and gouache and assembled digitally.

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Core Score - 55%
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Depth Score - 37%
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