Friday, July 18, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 90

Picture Book: She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes: The Discovery of the Heart of Friendship

Author: Mary Kay Shanley

Illustrator: Paul Micich

Summary: The peculiar and prickly artichoke serves as a metaphor for emerging friendship in this beautiful picture book written for adult women. This is a memoir regarding a time in the author’s life when a burgeoning female friendship began with a bit of awkwardness but genuine tenderness. The author’s son is in a car accident. The neighbor she barely knows comes to sit with her at the hospital. After a few other interactions, the author is invited to the neighbor’s for a party where artichokes are served. First the host explains that the steaming has softened the prickly artichoke petals. Then she says the “best is yet to come” as the pulling of the petals eventually reveals the heart of the artichoke. Thus, this acquaintance through time and effort has become a tender, treasured friendship.

Hanna’s Comments: Picture books designed for adult readers are rare. Often they are treasures. Years ago I had an experience at a friend’s house that was similar to this author's. I had never eaten an artichoke so she taught me how. Soon after, I discovered the book and bought it for my friend. Instructions for preparing artichokes are in the back of the book.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Sta-Kris, 1993

Age & Grade Appropriateness: adults only (This book would not interest children.)

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, armor, beginnings/morning, challenges, communication, communion/Eucharist, companionship, discovery/invention, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, friends/friendship, hospitality, humanity, mentors/teachers, neighbors, presence, relationships, Sabbath, sharing, at table, time/timing/over time, treasure

Scripture Connections: treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native (Leviticus 19:34); whoever receives you receives me (Matthew 10:40)

Idea(s) for Application: This book would be welcomed by a women’s group discussing spiritual hospitality and friendship.

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