Tomatoes in My Lunchbox (Hardcover)
A moving picture book from a debut author about the first day of school, layered with themes about the immigrant experience and the universal experience of feeling out of place.
A child, newly arrived in another country, feels displaced, lonely, and a little scared on her first day of school. Her name doesn't sound the way she's used to hearing it. She knows she doesn't fit in. And when she eats her whole tomato for lunch, she can feel her classmates observing her—and not quite understanding her.
But sometimes all it takes is one friend, one connection, to bring two worlds together, and gradually the girl, her tomato, and her full name, start to feel at home with her new friends and community.
This emotionally sweeping debut picture book by Costantia Manoli, with vibrant art by Magdalena Mora, artfully captures feelings of displacement and the joy that comes from forging new friendships.
About the Author
Costantia Manoli was born in the United Kingdom to Cypriot parents and spent the picture book period of her life in London contending with a name that even she has difficulty pronouncing in English! After spending her middle grade and young adult years in Cyprus, the USA and the UK (and then back round again), she now lives amid almond and olive trees on the outskirts of a hot, dusty village in Cyprus. Her two daughters, hubby, lioness-dog Luna and hyperactive doggo Woody keep her busy in a tangle of story ideas, new characters and constant interruptions.
Magdalena Mora is a Minneapolis-based illustrator and graphic designer with a special interest in children's books and visual storytelling. She has illustrated Deborah Diesen's Equality's Call and Jackie Azúa Kramer's I Wish You Knew. When not drawing, she spends her free time reading, people-gawking, and trying to find the best tacos in the Twin Cities. Mostly the latter.
"[A] beautifully told and illustrated story that expresses, with sensitivity and inspired use of figurative language, a child’s attempt to fit with the dominant culture—a common experience that will resonate with many readers and inspire empathy in others." —Kirkus, starred review
"An excellent choice for back to school and “new kid” picture book collections. This will resonate with many readers." —School Library Journal, starred review
"A comforting book for a child who may feel isolated due to an uncommon name, or for one feeling uprooted and adrift in a new place." —Horn Book Magazine
"An expressive picture book that articulates a young immigrant’s viewpoint." —Booklist