Friday, August 26, 2016

"Rice and Rocks" by Sandra L. Richards

Rice and Rocks
by Sandra L. Richards

Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.
Giovanni's friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like 'rice and rocks' and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni's pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.


Praise for the Book
"Rice and Rocks has something, literally, for every child. It teaches the joy of sharing and bonding over mealtime, and the universality of celebrating holidays with traditional food (in this case, the same dish). Rice and Rocks takes me back to when I was a girl in New Orleans. Stories that combined exciting fantasy with sound life lessons remain vivid in my memory, as this one will." ~ Donna Brazile, Syndicated columnist and author of Cooking with Grease
"Rice and Rocks is a must-read for youngsters developing their convictions, their sense of self, and for learning about the importance of different cultures in our society." ~ Daniel Quintero, Executive Director, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club
"I love a Monday night in New Orleans eating red beans and rice, just like the Sunday night tradition in Jamaica described in Rice & Rocks. Sandra Richards captures the heart of those traditions and similar traditions across the world in a way that reminds us how similar we all, no matter where we are from. And that the main character plays the best instrument in the world the trumpet wasn't a bad call, either! I highly recommend this book." ~ Irvin Mayfield, Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist, founding artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
"I love how this book deals with the emotions that come with one's national heritage and traditions - sometimes pride and sometimes embarrassment - and how the auntie in the story gently helps her nephew to make the journey from embarrassment to pride. What makes the book even better for me though is that this journey was not one of self-absorption with a complete focus on how special he and his heritage were but instead a journey of learning about others and seeing how the similarities and differences in our traditions are worth sharing and celebrating." ~ Mommynificent

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Giovanni isn't impressed when his Grandma decides to cook rice and beans for his friends' visit. In fact, he calls the dish "rice and rocks", finding the beans inedible. Auntie thinks Giovanni needs a bit of a reality check and, with the help of Jasper the talking parrot, they take a magical trip to Japan, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans. They meet some helpful birds who tell them that rice and beans are traditional family meals in all of those places. After a bit of reflection, Giovanni gains pride in his family tradition.
Giovanni learns a valuable lesson that can be passed on to young readers with the help of older family members. This book is a good starting point for discussions about their own family traditions. The illustrations by Megan Sullivan are simply breathtaking. Colorful, rich, and full of detail, they capture the personalities of the characters and the essence of the countries they visit, adding immeasurably to the reading experience.

About the Author
Sandra L. Richards is the debut picture book author of Rice & Rocks. With Rice & Rocks, Sandra brings a unique contribution to the world of children’s books. An American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, she hopes the book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity.

About the Illustrator
Megan Kayleigh Sullivan graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 with a degree in Illustration. She is currently working as a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist, and aspires towards a career in the film and animation industry as a concept artist, character designer, or visual development artist (or d., all of the above). She enjoys traveling, writing, telling stories, and hula-hooping.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Plus, check out the author's website for a FREE Rice & Rocks word search puzzle.