Title: Praline Lady
Written by: Kirstie Myvett
Illustrated by: Kameko Madere
For ages: 3-8
Themes/topics: Black women, New Orleans, 1800s history, pralines, woman entrepreneurs
Praline Lady stands over the stove in her shotgun house. She adds white sugar, brown sugar, butter, milk, and pecans to a pot. She stirs the mixture until it is just right.
Summary (from the publisher):
In nineteenth-century New Orleans, a praline lady strolls the French Quarter, selling her delectable sweets. These entrepreneur women of color were once a common sight in the neighborhood. Young readers will go along with this praline lady as she makes her pralines, sells them from her basket, and grows her business.
Why I recommend this book:
If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, then you know that it is a vibrant and unique city. Part of what gives the city its distinctive flavor is its many rich and delicious culinary offerings. From beignets to crawfish etouffee, New Orleans has something to appeal to every palate. And one of its most beloved offerings is pralines. Made with pecans and sugar, they are a super-sweet and delicious treat. Kirstie Myvett’s PRALINE LADY shines a light on the little-known history of the women who made and sold these sweets on the streets of New Orleans. This captivating book provides a vivid snapshot of 19th century New Orleans and the Black women who were early entrepreneurs.
The book follows Praline Lady as she carries her basket through the streets of the French Quarter calling, “Pralines!” We see the sights and sounds of 19th century New Orleans, including the iconic cafes and French Market. Though her feet hurt at the end of a long day of walking, she dreams of someday being able to open a shop of her own. Kameko Madere’s gorgeous watercolors beautifully capture the colorful architecture and hustle and bustle of 19th century New Orleans. This book would be a great addition to classrooms and libraries. It beautifully illuminates this little-known piece of history and gives credit to the Black women who helped make New Orleans pralines the well-known and beloved treat they are today. Highly recommended!
- Don’t miss author Kirstie Myvett’s Kidlit 411 Author Spotlight, in which she discusses the inspirations behind the book: http://www.kidlit411.com/2020/10/author-spotlight-kirstie-myvett.html
- Also check out Kirstie’s guest post on the We Need Diverse Books blog, in which she talks about some of the women who’ve inspired her: https://diversebooks.org/i-wrote-praline-lady-to-honor-the-black-people-behind-pralines-history/
(For a colossal collection of picture book reviews, please visit this page on Susanna’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)