Manzano, Sonia. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman Miracle on 133rd Street. Atheneum Books, 2015. Unp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-689-87887-9. Ages 4-8. P9 Q10
Manzano (aka Sesame Street’s Maria) tells this story of a city-dwelling immigrant family whose apartment is too small for their holiday tradition. “Mami” is frustrated because her roast is too big for the oven. She is nostalgic for Puerto Rico. In the process of finding a solution, which involves taking the roast to the local pizza oven to cook, the neighbors open their doors and the smell of the roast brings the erstwhile isolated urbanites out of their apartments and into our main character’s home to share the feast. It’s a story that’s been told before, of how food and ingenuity bring people together over the holidays, even people with very different backgrounds. This is a culturally-friendly book. It could be a chance for students to discuss their own holiday traditions and how they differ according to the traditions of their families. Two-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Marjorie Priceman’s colorful, fluid, and cheerful illustrations beautifully compliment the simple story of miracles found in unexpected situations. I recommend this as a wonderful addition to any teacher’s collection of books to read for the holidays with a diverse group of students.
February 2016 review by Devonee Trivett.