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Children's Fiction Cooking & Food

Community Soup

illustrated by Alma Fullerton

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Cooking & Food, Farm Animals, Humorous Stories, Africa
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


The bestselling picture book now in an enhanced edition with four pages of activity prompts and discussion questions

In a garden outside a Kenyan schoolhouse, children are working together to harvest the vegetables they have grown and make them into a soup for everyone to share. But Kioni is having trouble: her herd of mischievous goats followed her to school today, and they are trying to make their own lunch out of the vegetable garden! The ensuing chaos is cleverly resolved by the children, making their vegetable soup very tasty while saving Kioni's four-legged intruders at the same time.

Using rollicking verse with echoes of "Mary had a Little Lamb," award-winning author Alma Fullerton tells a lively story about communal projects and finding creative solutions that help everyone contribute. This lively story for young readers is graced with Alma's stunning primitive paper sculpture art—the first book she chose to illustrate herself using this unique style. Don't miss the soup recipe at the end of the story!

NEW in this edition: four pages of extra back matter on growing food, celebrating communities around the world, creating collage art, and making connections beyond the text.

About the author

Alma Fullerton was born in Ottawa Ontario, as one of seven children. Her dad was in the military so they moved when his postings changed, first to Trenton when she was two, then to Comox when she was twelve. Being dyslexic, she couldn’t read until grade four and didn’t enjoy reading at all until grade nine, when she discovered books that she really loved. Now that she is as an award-winning author, Alma visits schools to teach children that they, too, can overcome any obstacle.Her first three books are: In the Garage (2006); Walking on Glass (2007), which was named to the 2008 YALSA Quick Pick list; and Libertad (2008), which has won and been nominated for many awards, including the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature (finalist), the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (finalist), the 2009 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award (winner), the 2009 CLA Children’s Book of the Year Honor Book, the 2009 Golden Oak Award (winner), the 2009 Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award (winner), and the 2010 Silver Birch Award (shortlist).

Alma Fullerton's profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens

Excerpt: Community Soup (illustrated by Alma Fullerton)

Kioni has a herd of goats With hair of calico. And everywhere Kioni goes, Those goats are sure to--Oh no!

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Community Soup

2013 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

"The full-color, mixed-media collages steal the show...A great choice for group sharing or for units on communities."—School Library Journal

"The recipe for Fullerton's second picture book, after A Good Trade, involves a bit of 'Stone Soup,' a dash of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' and a rural Kenyan setting...there's much to enjoy in Fullerton's textured illustrations..."—Publishers Weekly

"For reading aloud or alone, a nourishing choice."—Kirkus Reviews

"The simple sentences have a conversational tone and the superb pacing makes for a lively read aloud...[The] paper-sculpture illustrations are a visual feast...Textures seem tactile, from the rough, peeling bark on twigs to the softly curling tufts of the goats' hair."—Quill & Quire

"The first line of this story draws readers into a day-in-the-life of Kenyan school community, which Fullerton depicts with mixed-media collage and paper-sculptures that lend a diorama-like depth to each scene."—International Reading Association Reading Today Online

"The simply told story uses sparse language, but it is the lively drawings that are so winning. Fullerton's incredible 3D collage illustrations in mixed media fairly leap off the page and cleverly complement the text."—CM Magazine

"Community Soup is a short fun tale that welcomes everyone...Alma Fullerton uses bright colors and texture in excitingly visual collages throughout the book. Each page comes alive and pops right off the page! Community Soup is wonderful for young readers looking to explore their culinary side with a little help from Kioni and her friends!"—New York Botanical Gardens, "Children's Books Explore the Power of Community"

“The three-dimensional, mixed media illustrations practically jump off the page, and had my girls trying to touch and feel them. After reading Community Soup, my daughters had fun making their own felt- vegetable soup combinations.”—Kids Read the World

Librarian Reviews

Community Soup

In a garden outside a Kenyan schoolhouse, teachers and students are gathering their vegetables for soup. But all Kioni brought today were her troublesome goats. How can they contribute?

A strong resource for interactive read-alouds in which teachers or librarians can help students analyze text and pictures, tell personal stories, ask questions, and make predictions. This is an important book to share when helping students consider what makes a community. It is also a story about working together to problem solve, and to make a delicious meal that can be shared with others. The colourful mixed media illustrations are noteworthy, and can serve as a model for students creating their own textured art pieces.

In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton

Author available for school visit. @AlmaFullerton

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

Other titles by Alma Fullerton