Little Read book inspires community cookbook project

Food traditions are often an important part of cultures. They are usually handed down through families.

A new project from Herrick District Library (HDL) aims to celebrate the role foods play in cultural identity.

Inspired by this year’s Little Read book, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard, the library is creating a cookbook composed of recipes and stories of food traditions embraced by members of the Holland-area community. 

Whether born of necessity like fry bread, inspired by cultural heritage, or developed through generations of family customs, many food traditions have stories behind them, says organizer Anne Pott, a library assistant at HDL.

“This is for anyone who would like to share a bit of their family's culture or history with the rest of our community,” says Pott. “I just think this is a great opportunity for people not only to share but also to learn about other people, their cultures, and traditions — and to get some very tasty recipe ideas, as well.” 

Community cookbook

The project is part of The NEA Big Read Lakeshore, a Hope College program presented in collaboration with 50 community partners, including Lakeshore libraries, nonprofits, businesses, school districts, and academic institutions. The program puts on numerous events each November, using a specific book as a springboard for discussion and learning. 

The Little Read books are geared to those in fifth grade and younger, while the Big Read books are geared to those in sixth grade and older. The 2021 Big Read book, An American Sunrise, is a collection of poems by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. 

Community members are invited to go to to share their recipes and stories for a community-wide collaborative cookbook. When complete, the book will be available for checkout at both HDL locations.

Submissions will be accepted through Nov. 30.

For more information, check out or call 616-355-3100.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.