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Yiayia's Kitchen: Family Traditions by Brianna Koucos Midgley. (Photo: Amazon)
As the holiday season is approaching, books are a great gift option for all ages. Books for young readers that not only entertain but also highlight Greek traditions and culture are especially rare, and are always a great addition to a growing library. The following children’s books by Brianna Koucos Midgley celebrate Greek heritage and the special role grandparents play in children’s lives.
The Yiayia’s Kitchen Book Series written by Midgley and beautifully illustrated by Anita Boeira teaches children valuable lessons and specifically showcases the unconditional love between a grandparent and grandchild and the importance of family bonds. The picture books are appropriate for ages 3-10.
The first book in the series, Yiayia’s Kitchen: Honesty, demonstrates how working together in the kitchen is a great way to share traditions, show love, and teach important lessons. Koukla loves to cook in the kitchen with her grandmother. Yiayia teaches her about her Greek heritage and family traditions, and how to cook Greek food.
One day, Koukla helps Yiayia make dinner. When she makes a mistake measuring the ingredients, she doesn’t tell Yiayia, but her error is revealed when her family gathers for the meal. Yiayia explains the importance of honesty and teaches her granddaughter a valuable lesson about mistakes and the consequences of not telling the truth.
Yiayia’s Kitchen: Patience, the second book of the series, features Yiayia teaching Koukla to make the traditional Greek egg-lemon soup called Avgolemono. Along the way, Yiayia teaches her granddaughter that every recipe has steps that must be done in a certain order, and they take time.
Yiayia’s Kitchen: Family Traditions focuses on sharing traditions as Koukla bakes Greek cookies with her aunt and Yiayia who teach her to roll the cookie dough into shapes, but Koukla is sad because hers look different. Yiayia explains that it took years to learn to roll the cookies the way she does, and it takes practice. But she also reminds her granddaughter that even though the cookies look different on the outside, they are made from the same ingredients, and they will be just as delicious, especially since they made them together with love.
According to her biography, Brianna Koucos Midgley grew up in Salt Lake City, UT, in a family who loved their Greek heritage and Orthodox faith. Among her fondest childhood memories are the times she spent with her beloved Yiayia. In Yiayia’s kitchen, she was not only showered with love, but learned many valuable lessons. Those memories have stayed with her throughout her life, inspiring and shaping her as a person and as a mom. With her young daughter, and now with her readers, she shares stories of her Yiayia and those special moments. While passing down Greek family traditions, to life lessons, Koucos Midgley shares her grandmother’s timeless wisdom in her Yiayia’s Kitchen book series.
For those interested in recording their own Yiayia’s signature recipes to pass down to future generations, Koucos Midgley’s The Recipes from Yiayia’s Kitchen Journal includes 100 pages with space for recipes, notes, and a place to record special memories and family traditions. Each recipe page includes space to write the name of the recipe, ingredients, and directions.
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