What does it take to make a satisfying meal for hungry neighbors? Passionate volunteers who are ready to work with whatever they have. In Our Little Kitchen, by Jillian Tamaki, readers watch volunteers pick garden vegetables, rifle through refrigerated items, and warm up day-old bread. They peel, chop and cook in a hurried rush. The clock ticks away the minutes before they welcome their neighbors with food.
Tamaki does an incredible job tackling a serious topic with playful text and drawings. Spot illustrations with interesting text features help readers get a feel for the sights, sounds and emotions that fill the community kitchen. The story is full of love, light and compassion.
The author’s note explains how Tamaki volunteered for many years in a community kitchen. She gives background information about the work and presents reasons why her neighbors were hungry. Our Little Kitchen captures a small moment in Tamaki’s big effort to raise awareness about hunger in local communities.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners Collaborate/Create III.B.1 Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by using a variety of communication tools and resources.
How are your neighbors doing? Contact your local food bank, community kitchen or social services to see if there is a need for donations. Consider inviting representatives from the organizations for a class visit. They can explain their roles in helping the community and point to areas where they need support. Learners can work together to create a plan to get food to those in need.
Do you want to learn about a grocery store that is making an impact on their community? Read about the Daily Table in Massachusetts. The only items you’ll find in the store are nutritious groceries and prepared meals at low prices. Find out how they do this by reading their website. It’s good stuff!
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