Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sandra L. Richards Shares Rice & Rocks! Magic, Culture, and Family...

I woke up feeling great! It was Sunday. No school. No itchy uniform. I could play my trumpet, read my Godzilla comics,
draw another frog picture, and hang out with Jasper. What I loved most about Sundays was my whole family came to visit.
Rice and Rocks

By Sandra L. Richards
Illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

WOW! When I opened the first page of Rice & Rocks, my eyes couldn't stop moving! The art work on that page alone was an explosive, exciting, creation that is eye-candy for readers! Kudos to the illustrator! There we meet Giovanni playing his trumpet in his room, with the music swirling around us, where our eyes wander checking out his books, his drawings, see his picture of obviously his idol, Louie Armstrong...and, finally, in the midst of it all, we meet Jasper! I don't think I've ever been more impressed with a children's book opening! It certainly psyched me for what was coming...

I was privileged to receive the hardback cover, including a dust cover, for my review and the size is just under 10 x 12! The colors are brilliant, sharp and clear. In my opinion, if you have a children's library, which you should, you need to buy this edition. Sorry, but an ebook just will not be the same...for this one...

I admit Giovanni, I would be picking out the red kidney beans--used to do it when Mom made chili--the mushiness was what I didn't like... So, when Giovanni, who had invited his friends over for Sunday dinner, heard what was being served, he cried "Ugh..." Now, me, I'd have said yukky, to be more emphatic... LOL

When Giovanni's Auntie heard Giovanni's response, she hugged him but explained that rice and beans was a family tradition tracing back to Jamaica.

But Giovanni wasn't convinced and declared that we had to break the tradition!

And that's when the magic began! You see our friend, Jasper, the gray parrot, is magical! And Auntie wanted Jasper to help her show that other people besides their family also loved Rice and Rocks! Asking where Giovanni's friends were from, preparations were made for a magical trip... First, a little rub on Jasper's beak!

And Giovanni, Auntie and even her two dogs became tiny creature small enough to ride on the back of Jasper! And then they flew around the world to discover other cultures where rice and beans was also a tradition! They were heading to Japan! To Puerto Rico! and then to New Orleans!

And guess who met them at each location? The national bird of each place! So we also begin to learn what beautiful feathered friends from around the world... Cool, right?!

And, you know what? When Giovanni went to Sunday dinner after returning from his journey, he looked forward to sharing his family tradition with his friends! Just as the author wants to share how much we all are alike, no matter where we come from. I enjoyed the book so much that I added it to my personal favorites for 2017. The book so emphasizes what we need to be doing in America and across the world...To welcome getting to know other cultures, their foods, their birds...and their people... I applaud Sandra Richards for her debut book and look forward to seeing what's coming next! By the way, could I get a ride on Jasper too?! I'd love to travel around with you on the next trip!


SANDRA L. RICHARDS is a debut picture book author. 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.

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