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Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a…

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis (2009)

by Robbin Gourley

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I really enjoyed this story and think that it is a heartwarming and educational book for elementary school students. This book is meant for children between the ages of 4 and 8, but I believe this book is too challenging for 4 and 5 year olds. The vocabulary is very advanced for young children. For example, children will not know the words “unfurl” and “ail”. There are also food and plant related words such as purslane, watercress, and sassafras that are not in an elementary school student’s vocabulary. Complex vocabulary words in stories create learning opportunities, but I believe that too many unknown words will detach the reader from the content of the book. Although an 8 year old child would not be familiar with all of these words, they have a better idea of how to use context clues than kindergarteners. There are cute songs and poems that the family recites in the field, such as “Sassafras heals what ails you. Sassafras makes you feel all right. Drink the tea in the morning and sleep all night.” These help provide context clues for certain vocabulary while including rhyming to make the story more interesting. My favorite part about this book was that it was based off of African American chef Edna Lewis’ childhood, which makes the characters very realistic and relatable. Lewis’s parents raised her to believe that loving the gardens and taking good care of them leads to happiness and longevity. This is the big idea of the story, which is a great message for any child. Even though most children are not working the fields or gardens, they can still apply this message about loving what you do to their hobbies and future careers. The recipes at the end of the story also help bring this relatable book to life. They give children the opportunity to apply this story about food and culture to the life skill of cooking. ( )
  NicoleFrankel | Sep 21, 2016 |
I liked the description of the continual harvests of vegetables and fruits and the ideas Edna and her family had for how they would prepare the different food items. It was a great vehicle for outlining Edna's future professional values as a chef. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
the book has very simple art and simple colors. The girl is sent out by her parents to get fruits and berries. She loves doing this and learns some lessons along the way.
Age 4-5
Source: Steilacoom library
  Marlene28 | May 1, 2015 |
Apples taste best when they're sun-ripened and freshly picked. That's something Edna Lewis discovered as a child in Freetown, Virginia, a farming community of freed slaves established by her grandfather. *Book Jacket Description

Personal Reaction:
I liked this book because Edna's family grew their own crops when she was a child. That is where she learned the importance of always using local and fresh ingredients, something she carried with her through her lifetime as she became even a famous pioneer.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. This book has Edna Lewis' real recipes in the back. I would allow the class to choose a recipe and we would take a field trip to look for fresh and local ingredients, if possible.

2. We would do an activity that shows what things grow where and what they could grow right there in the center or at home. We could start a garden in the yard. ( )
  roni.rawlins | Oct 25, 2014 |
Growing up on her family's farm in Freetown, Virginia - a settlement of freed slaves co-founded by her grandfather - Edna Lewis learned that food tastes best when it's "sun-ripened and freshly picked," knowledge that would stand her in good stead in her future career as a chef. Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie is a fictionalized account of Lewis' childhood, of the seasonal crops - from spring strawberries and salad greens, to summer peaches and fall apples - she helped to gather, and the mouth-watering dishes made from them.

As my friend Lisa has already noted, Gourley's book is commendable, in that it makes fresh produce immensely appealing to young readers. I also liked that it ties the food on our tables to the crops on the land, emphasizes the natural growing seasons of the year, and highlights the achievements of an African-American woman who was a pioneer in many ways. The narrative incorporates folk sayings and rhymes from the American South, and is paired with vibrant, colorful watercolor illustrations, also done by Gourley. All in all, this is an appealing picture-book, both informative and entertaining! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618158367, Hardcover)

Long before the natural-food movement gained popularity, before greenmarkets sprouted across the United States, Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine, and the importance of bringing food directly from the farm to the table. She was a chef when female chefs---let alone African American female chefs---were few and far between, and she received many awards for her work. With lyrical text and glorious watercolor illustrations, author/illustrator Robbin Gourley lovingly traces the childhood roots of Edna's appreciation for the bounties of nature. The story follows Edna from early spring through the growing season to a family dinner celebrating a successful harvest. Folk rhymes, sayings, and songs about food are sprinkled throughout the text, and five kid-friendly recipes and an author's note about Edna's life are included at the end.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:18 -0400)

From the whippoorwill's call on the first day of spring through the first snowfall, Edna and members of her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from the fields, garden, and orchard on their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. Includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of slaves who grew up to be a famous chef, and five recipes.… (more)

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