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Freedom Soup: A Taste of Haitian Independence

Step into Ti Gran’s kitchen for a taste of Freedom Soup, rich with Haitian history and tradition.

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Freedom Soup: A Taste of Haitian Independence

In this beautiful picture book, author Tami Charles pays tribute to her family’s own Ti Gran (grandmother) who introduced her to the taste and history of Freedom Soup, also known as Soup Joumou, eaten by Haitians on New Year’s Day.

She honors the people of Haiti and their fighting spirit that led to this cultural tradition and reminds us that nothing in the world is free, not even freedom.

The Author’s Note helps provide context for the story by including a brief history of the slave rebellion that resulted in the country’s independence from France and the abolishment of slavery on January 1, 1804. And don’t miss Charles’ “easy, no-fuss, kid-friendly recipe” for Freedom Soup that she shares in the back of the book.

Jacqueline Alcantara’s bright and colorful illustrations bring the story to life and emit the joys of freedom, family, and food that warm our souls.

Freedom Soup

Book Summary

It’s New Year’s Day, Haitian Independence Day, and Belle is excited to learn how to make Freedom Soup.

With the sounds of Haitian kompa filling the kitchen, Ti Gran and Belle dance through the steps for preparing the traditional soup.

They mash the garlicky herbs to season the meat, peel the pumpkin, and add the vegetables.

And then, Ti Gran shares the story that she shares every year. The story that explains why eating the sweet pumpkiny soup is a Haitian new year celebration of the end of slavery and the start of freedom.

Belle understands the importance of keeping her family’s history and traditions alive and looks forward to teaching her own children how to make Freedom Soup one day.

Book Talk

Family Traditions

Freedom Soup is an example of passing down cultural traditions from one generation to the next.

Look for examples in the story that lead the reader to believe this is a tradition they have done before.

  • This year, I get to help make Freedom Soup.”
  • “Next is your favorite.”
  • “The same answer I always give.”
  • “The same story she tells every year

Story Comprehension

Students complete a Five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) and One H (how) graphic organizer to write a summary of Belle’s Family Tradition.

Text-to-Self Connection

Students complete a Five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) and One H (how) graphic organizer to write a summary of one of their family traditions.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to spotlight all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while working on getting those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

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