Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too!

S. & S./Simon Spotlight. (­Geraldine Pu). Jun. 2021. 64p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534484696; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781534484689.
PreS-Gr 2–In this start to a new graphic novel series, a young Taiwanese American girl faces lunchroom bullies with the help of her lunchbox. Geraldine Pu speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese with her family at home. At school, Geraldine loves lunchtime best because every day her grandmother Amah packs her a special lunch in Biangdang, a purple lunchbox that she’s lovingly covered with stickers. With a zipper for a mouth and fasteners that resemble eyes, Biangdang brims with personality as he narrates the story. One day a classmate dubs Geraldine’s lunch “GROSS!” and his close-minded opinion spreads to other kids. Geraldine must bravely face down intolerance and ridicule in order to remain true to her culture and heritage. The graphic format will be enticing to younger readers, and the distinct panels make it easy to follow the action. The art is static but uses sound effects and close-ups to create an intimate tone as Geraldine wrestles with both her love for Biangdang and her culture, food, and family and the shame she feels when her classmates taunt her. The book includes a section with “Words from Geraldine’s World” and a recipe for Bao from Amah’s kitchen.
VERDICT Early readers will sink their teeth into this refreshing story. Pair it with K-Fai Steele’s A Normal Pig for a story time highlighting lunchtime inclusion.

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