Book Reviews, Parent, Review

Book Review – Grow Eat Repeat – A Love Letter to Black-Eyed Peas

This book made me so happy. Grow. Eat. Repeat. A Love Letter to Black-Eyed Peas is the kind of children’s literature that I didn’t even know that we needed on our bookshelf. As an urban farmer, amateur genealogist, avid reader and mommy, this book made me smile from somewhere way down deep. I gave this latest installment of the Delicious and Nutritious Collection, two green thumbs way up. So let’s get into more detail about why you definitely want to make this book by Stacey Woodson part of your family’s library.

About Family

Woodson dedicates this book to her foremothers, names known and unknown. The gratitude and reverence of this was not at all lost on me. Below the dedication is the matrilineal line as far back as Paige’s, the story’s main character, great-great grandmother. As the story progresses, we get a look into the relationship between Paige and her mom, Stacey. You’ll also get to experience her at home with her family, and watch the love for her foremothers develop as well. 

The black-eyed peas are integrated nicely into the history of a stolen people and into Paige’s own family history. These connections are so very important, and I hope that when your children read it, they too become curious about the land, the earth and growing nutritious food. In fact, I highly recommend planting a seed with your young ones. It’s truly amazing to watch a little, hard seed bloom into something amazing. It could be edible plants, flowers or some kind of herb. Whatever it is, it will be an experience that can teach them about self sufficiency and the importance of healthy lifestyles. There’s so much beauty in the plants all around us and tapping into that creative energy is life changing. 

On the Farm

As a farmer myself, I know all too well that being a farmer is a mish mash of science, engineering, mathematics, art and so much more. It can be a lot of children to take in when they’re used to living in a more urban environment, and we see this in Paige’s conversation with classmates. And even though she’s got mixed feelings, to some degree, about being in the garden, she finds joy and peace and wonder there. Her mom enjoys sharing the science and stories of the seeds and black-eyed peas with Paige, and Paige welcomes the information. The seed is planted and it propels the story forward. The black-eyed peas become the focal point of the story and they begin to change the way Paige experiences plants, the seasons and her family. 

Criticism

Yes, Grow. Eat. Repeat. Is very well written and illustrated. I wish that there were more to the maternal lineage that is shown in the book’s opening, as there is a time jump in the story. I think that really would further reinforce the matrilineal focus that is here. I also would like to know who Jubilee is because this person only appears as the addressee of Paige’s letter. And I’m curious about why she’s writing Jubilee the letter. Even with this question, I still found the story to be well woven together and a joy to read. 

About the Authors

Stacey Woodson is an urban farmer, dietitian-nutritionist, counselor, speaker and entrepreneur. She’s passionate about teaching folks how to live a more healthy lifestyle and choose their food wisely. In her spare time she enjoys foraging and yoga. Her 10-year-old daughter, Paige Woodson, co-authored Grow. Eat. Repeat. A Love Letter to Black-Eyed Peas and loves reading and to be out in nature. I find this mother-daughter collaboration such a breath of fresh air and it really does lend to this ode to both maternal ancestry and ancestral crops like black-eyed peas. 

If I haven’t thoroughly piqued your interest, put in a request at your local library so you can check it out before you buy it. Stacey Woodson did a superb job of bridging history, family history, farming and love together in one well illustrated book. I think youth of all ages can appreciate the lessons and love in Grow. Eat. Repeat. A Love Letter to Black-Eyed Peas


Elle and I were honored to have Stacey on the Cleverly Changing Podcast in 2022. I invite you to listen to our conversation about healthy living, growing food and motherhood. It was a true joy.

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