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A Spoonful of Time: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

By the time Maya’s Halmunee came to live with her and her mother, Maya was accustomed to quick pizza dinners, lone walks with her pug, Gizmo, and not having much family time at all. She understands that her mother is doing her best to provide for the three of them, especially since Maya’s dad died which they don’t speak of. Did he like the same foods as Maya? Are there any quirks Maya has that were his first? Until one sweltering day, Halmunee asks Maya to help her make patbingsu (a loaded shaved ice dish). Upon first bite, Halmunee squeezes Maya’s hand and with a big WOOSH they are transported back—back to the 1970s watching Maya’s ancestors eat patbingsu in Seoul, South Korea. It’s important to know where one comes from and how it can shape identity. As a Chicana who understands my own history through education in Chicanx Studies, I was completely enthralled by Maya’s newfound opportunity and rooting for her to uncover more about herself and her ancestors through Halmunee’s time travel. This book had me drooling at the delicious Korean dishes Maya and Halmunee cook together. I wished I was in the kitchen with them learning alongside Maya. With Halmunee’s miraculous gift, will Maya be able to unlock a memory that includes her father so that she can get to know him? Does Maya have Halmunee’s gift too? A Spoonful of Time is a stunning adventure of time travel, the restrengthening of family bonds, and most importantly,  food with RECIPES!

— From Andrea's Picks


“Full of twists, this middle grade story is a heartwarming mix of food and family.”—Kirkus Reviews

When You Reach Me meets Love Sugar Magic in this unforgettable middle grade novel where time travel, family recipes, and family secrets collide.

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.

About the Author

Flora Ahn is an attorney by day and an author and illustrator by night. Her work includes a children's chapter book series, Pug Pals (Scholastic) and an Audible Original, The Golden Orchard. Raised in California by her Korean immigrant parents, Ahn lives in Virginia with her two pugs and practices law in DC.

Praise For…

One of School Library Journal’s Best Middle Grade Books of 2023

“Affectionately wrought....evocative descriptions of food and its link to memory carry this light speculative read, which offers up a sweet intergenerational relationship that connects past and present.”—Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully written...the descriptions of the dishes are salivating enough that readers might appreciate the ability to recreate them at home. A warm and satisfying intergenerational story.”—Booklist

“Full of twists, this middle-grade story is a heartwarming mix of food and family.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A charming story filled with recipes.”—School Library Journal

“Readers will love the Korean culture and food references….This is a great time-travel adventure read.”—Book Riot

“This wonderful book combines food and family into a perfectly seasoned story.”—Lelia Nebeker for Northern Virginia Magazine

“This wonderful book [by an Arlington author!] combines food and family into a perfectly seasoned story.”— Lelia Nebeker for Northern Virginia Magazine

“Seasoned with humor and a rich setting, A Spoonful of Time is an enchanting 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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781683693185
ISBN-10: 1683693183
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 11th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English