by Andrea Wang & Illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz
When I was a child, I LOVED it when one of my parents would make ramen. I adored winding the squiggly, wavy noodles around my fork and the salty broth that inevitably splashed on my face. In college, I ate a LOT… I mean A L O T of ramen because it was fast and so affordable. However, I never ever *thought* about the invention of ramen until this amazing picture book biography crossed my path. The first time I saw it, the cover image of a man hoisting a bowl of ramen with a look of pride caught my eye. I immediately pulled it off the shelf and right into my lap.
In Magic Ramen, we meet Momofuku Ando at the end of World War II as he makes his way home one night through the rubble in Osaka, Japan. He notices a long line of starving people waiting for ramen from a market stall and he knows that in this time of scarcity, people are paying incredible prices for meager servings. This vision stays with Ando for years and he tries again (and again, and again) to create a nutritious and fast ramen to feed the masses. Not to spoil the ending, but… if you, too, have experienced the joy of a hot, fast steaming bowl of wavy noodles in salty broth you know that he was successful. This story is informative, inspirational and entertaining. When I pulled it out for a read-aloud times in second, third and fourth grades the kids all eagerly called out, “Ooo… I LOVE ramen! READ IT!”
Add this book to your stack when you study biographies, talk about perseverance, stamina and grit or when you just want a book that everyone will enjoy… almost as much as a piping hot bowl of ramen!
What kids said:
“The author wants you to think this is a book about ramen, but it’s really about never giving up!”
“Wow– he worked on his invention for a long, long, long time!”
“I like how the illustrations look a little like a graphic novel in the middle and how they show you all the different things he tried.”
“I like how it told us about other things Ando did at the end. Ramen in space? I never knew that!”
“I know what I want for dinner!”