A Spoonful of Time
by Flora Ahn
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2023 | Archive Date Not set
Maya’s grandmother, Halmunee, may be losing her memory, but she hasn’t lost her magic touch in the kitchen. Whether she serves salty miyeok-guk or sweet songpyeon, her stories about Korea come to life for Maya.
Then one day, something extraordinary happens: one delicious bite transports Maya and Halmunee into one of Halmunee’s memories. Suddenly they’re in Seoul, and Halmunee is young.
This is just the first of many secrets Maya will uncover: that she and her grandmother can travel through time. As Maya eats her way through the past, her questions multiply—until a shocking discovery transforms everything she thought she knew about family, friendship, loss, and time itself.
Brimming with heart and interspersed with seven family recipes that readers can make themselves, this is a story to savor by rising Korean American author Flora Ahn.
“Seasoned with humor and a rich setting, A Spoonful of Time is an enchanting debut novel about family secrets, friendships, loss, and food that transports us to the past. Warning: don't read while hungry!”—Lynne Kelly, author of Song For a Whale
“A vividly written tale that is easy to love, Flora Ahn's novel is intricate, enchanting, and absolutely brimming with life. This is a surprising and timeless story, with the perfect mix of sweetness, wonder, and depth.”—Corey Ann Haydu, author of Eventown and One Jar of Magic
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 25 members
When Maya’s Halmunee comes to visit, everything is turned upside down for Maya and her mother. As Maya learns to deal with Halmunee’s dementia and Mom’s inaccessibility, she compartmentalizes herself into Home Maya and School Maya. But then Halmunee starts cooking for Maya and as the flavors cross their tongues, they are transported back in time where they can watch their past memories. While there, Maya meets another time traveler, Jeff, but as their friendship grows, things are not how they appear.
I really enjoyed Maya’s story. The food sounded delicious, and I’m curious to try a few of the recipes. I thought that the story was going to be fairly straightforward, but the twists and turns kept surprising me. It was a solid read.
I really enjoyed this one! I liked how we get to see and learn about the past of Maya and her family.
I felt that this gave Maya a good look into understanding the relationships between her family members. I loved all the recipes! I especially liked the illustrations throughout with the recipes.
This is such a sweet book, with a wonderful look at family and culture and how they make and build us into who we are.
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!
“A Spoonful of Time” is a turbulent yet tender intergenerational story. Thirteen-year-old Maya is given the job of watchdog for her Halmunee who is suffering from dementia. Maya’s mother is distant and dad is an unknown, meant to remain so, because Maya’s mother won’t talk about him. Maya longs for those lost familial relationships.
Food is the thing that brings Maya closer to Halmunee. They begin to cook together and amazingly, travel into the past to relive Halmunee’s favorite memories. Through these trips in time, Maya begins to learn about her grandmother’s life in Korea. Then, Maya meets Jeff. Somehow, they are tied together in time. Jeff teaches Maya how to really time travel, despite the rules that she has learned from Halmunee.
Ahn has created a wonderful story filled with many dips, turns, and surprises. “A Spoonful of Time” shows how food can truly bring a family together. The recipes that Halmunee uses, edited by Maya, sound delicious! Including them within the story is genius!
This was a great fantasy story steeped in Korean culture. I loved how Flora Ahn used a fun fantasy to help young readers delve into deeper themes. This fast-paced story will be a hit with middle grade readers.
A Spoonful of Time is a great mix of time-travel, mystery, friendship, and family dynamics. Maya balances her "home Maya" and "friend Maya" as she navigates the different expectations and interactions. As she gets to know Halmunee (grandmother) and feels ignored by her mother, she gets to know the stories of her family, As she learns family secrets and abilities, she strengthens her bonds within her family and learns to find strength within and finds how she fits in the middle of it all. I will definitely be buying this for my school library and recommending to 4th graders!
I loved this one! I was expecting a sweet story about family & shared memories, with some great descriptions of Korean food, and I got that. I also got a fantastic time travel story, with some twists that I really didn't expect. The big one actually made me put the book down and stare into space for a minute - I was so delighted by it! I would've loved this as a kid, and I love it now. And who knows, maybe I'll even try out some of the recipes - they certainly sounded pretty great!
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Picture book by Ilima Loomis Illus. by Kenard Pak