A Plate of Hope: The Inspiring Story of Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen (English With Some Spanish)

by Erin Frankel (Author) Paola Escobar (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
A moving picture book biography about chef José Andrés, who, along with his World Central Kitchen organization, is sure to inspire kids to help out in their own communities.

José Andrés’s love of cooking began as a young boy in Spain as he gathered the wood to make the fire that would cook the paella just right. José loved everything about it: the sizzling olive oil, the mounds of chopped vegetables, and the smell of saffron. When he left home, he realized he wanted to tell stories with food. And tell them he did, creating magic with the seeds of ripe tomatoes and pomegranates and cheese. His dreams grew until they were as big as the stars in the sky. He thought, No one should ever go hungry. I want to help feed the world-- and World Central Kitchen was born.

From the earthquake in Haiti to the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, José and his team at World Central Kitchen have been at the frontlines, serving more than 200 million meals and counting, and bringing comfort and hope in the darkest times.

With a lyrical text and stunning illustrations, here is a picture book biography about a world-renowned humanitarian and chef that’s sure to inspire a new generation of community helpers.
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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
★ Lush illustrations and a captivating narrative make this biography shine.

Publishers Weekly

Leaning into themes of community, imagination, and storytelling, this concept-driven biography of a chef renowned for global disaster relief efforts traces how he came to feed "the few AND the many." As a boy in Spain, José Andrés (b. 1969) tended the fire that cooked his family's paella, but he wanted to do more, including re-creating his mother's flan, whose "cool spoonful... told a story to his senses." Later, at culinary school, he imagined "the stories that he wanted to tell with food." After his work in New York City and Washington, D.C., garnered fame, Andrés's volunteering at a D.C. soup kitchen and cooking in Haiti following an earthquake leads to his founding World Central Kitchen for those experiencing disasters, including Huracán María. An italicized Spanish refrain ("No era solo") emphasizes the idea that it isn't just one experience or person but many moments and individuals that lead to success. Focusing on scenes of people and food, Escobar's luscious digital images add visual savor via colorful spirals of enticing aromas. An author's note and photographs conclude. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


This optimistic, jaunty text can serve multiple needs: it’s a story of an immigrant making it in the U.S. and elsewhere; a tale of kindness and giving; and a look at how perseverance and hope can conquer tough obstacles. 

Review quotes

★ "Lush illustrations and a captivating narrative make this biography shine." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Focusing on scenes of people and food, Escobar's luscious digital images add visual savor via colorful spirals of enticing aromas." —Publishers Weekly
Erin Frankel
Erin Frankel tiene una maestría en educación en inglés y le apasiona la enseñanza y la escritura. Es autora de Remembering Barkley y The Weird Series. En su tiempo libre, a Erin le gusta caminar por el bosque con su familia y su perro, Bella, o escribir algunas palabras en papel. Vive con su esposo y sus tres hijas en Pensilvania.

Paola Escobar creció viajando de pueblo en pueblo en Colombia. Es la ilustradora de Digging for Words, un libro notable de ALA, y ganador del Premio de las Américas y del Premio Internacional del Libro Latino, así como de Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, llamado "un libro imprescindible para todas las bibliotecas" en una reseña destacada del School Library Journal. Vive con su esposo y su perra, Flora.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Random House Studio
Publication date
February 20, 2024
BISAC categories
JNF007110 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Social Activists
JNF014000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Cooking & Food
JNF018030 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - Hispanic/Latino
Library of Congress categories
United States
World Central Kitchen
Food relief
Andraes, Josae

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