2014 Christopher Award, Books for Young People
2014 ILA Primary Fiction Award
2015 MLA Mitten Award Honor
Human Rights in Children''s Literature Honor
With humor and warmth, this children’s picture book raises awareness about poverty and hunger
Best friends Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, and play in the same park, but while Sofia’s fridge at home is full of nutritious food, the fridge at Maddi’s house is empty. Sofia learns that Maddi’s family doesn’t have enough money to fill their fridge and promises Maddi she’ll keep this discovery a secret. But because Sofia wants to help her friend, she’s faced with a difficult decision: to keep her promise or tell her parents about Maddi’s empty fridge. Filled with colorful artwork, this storybook addresses issues of poverty with honesty and sensitivity while instilling important lessons in friendship, empathy, trust, and helping others. A call to action section, with six effective ways for children to help fight hunger and information on antihunger groups, is also included.
Gr 1–3—In her debut picture book, Brandt addresses an important issue: childhood hunger. Sofia''s best friend does not have food at home. After taking on the climbing wall at the park, the girls go to Maddi''s apartment. A hungry Sofia looks for a snack and is surprised to find a lone carton of milk in the refrigerator. Maddi admits that her mom does not have enough money to go to the grocery store and makes Sofia promise to keep it secret. At home, Sofia''s mother serves a delicious supper of fish and rice. The refrigerator is filled with good things to eat, including her brother''s favorite treat, Cheesy Pizza Bombs. Worried about her friend, Sofia smuggles food to school, but fish and eggs are "not good for backpacks." Each afternoon, Sofia tries to follow the nimble Maddi to the top of the climbing wall, but it''s too high for her. Maddi encourages her, lending her a hand, and Sofia finally climbs the wall. Wanting to do something for Maddi, Sofia tells her mother about the empty fridge. Together, they go to the store to buy groceries. To Sofia''s relief, Maddi is not angry about the broken promise, and the two families share a supper of Cheesy Pizza Bombs. Vogel''s digital illustrations portraying the smiling, wide-eyed girls in their city neighborhood are filled with warmth and a sense of community. An endnote provides suggestions for helping friends who have empty refrigerators and directs young readers to a companion website, MaddisFridge.com.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA
“I really admire Lois Brandt for writing about those in need without making this an ‘issue’ book. It’s first and foremost a story—and a good one.” —Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor–winning author,Hattie Big Sky
"This tasty morsel can certainly inspire your superheroes soar to new heights and help combat hunger along the way!" —Barbara Gruener,
"This title is notable. The bright, friendly illustrations soften the topic while still conveying the characters’ difficult feelings, such as worry and embarrassment. Gentle, age-appropriate humor releases the tension, keeping readers engaged as Sofia discovers how to best help her friend. . . . A thoughtful and well-executed look at the challenge of childhood hunger." —
Maddi''s Fridge has been chosen to be included on the grades 3-4 Great Texas Mosquito List for the 2019-2020 school year. The Great Texas Mosquito List is shared among all the schools, highlighted in the school and public libraries, and used by students to compete in the annual Great Texas Mosquito List Name That Book competition. In addition to the competition, the book is also a contender for the Great Texas Mosquito List Student Choice Award.
"The single greatest achievement of
Maddi''s Fridge is [that it] delivers its message directly, through the intriguing story embellished with artful illustrations, without preaching or political commentary.
Maddi''s Fridge is a book that works on a child''s awareness level, with no intervening adult judgements to cloud the basic reaction of human compassion. It also tells children exactly what they can do to help.
Maddi''s Fridge is a wonderful book for all kinds of children, whether they are hungry or not." —
Midwest Book Review
"Filled with colourful artwork, this storybook addresses issues of poverty with honesty and sensitivity while instilling important lessons in friendship, empathy, trust, and helping others." —toronto4kids.com
"In her debut picture book, Brandt addresses an important issue: childhood hunger. . . . Vogel''s digital illustrations portraying the smiling, wide-eyed girls in their city neighborhood are filled with warmth and a sense of community." —Linda L. Walkins,
School Library Journal
"This book introduces a topic that is rarely explored in picture books, and it would be a welcome addition to larger picture book collections." —Melissa Morwood,
"Cartoon-style illustrations, depicting a vibrant and diverse city neighborhood, help soften the difficult issues raised . . . . Food insecurity, childhood hunger, and poverty are treated with tenderness and humor." —April Mazza,
"While the issue of childhood hunger is serious, the story is neither preachy nor patronizing. It is instead silly and sweet and strong. It is brilliant and appealing. That’s because it is, at heart, a story about friends. It’s about Maddi helping Sofia climb the wall, and Sofia helping Maddi get enough to eat." —catherinespascha.com
"This is a big-issue book, handled delicately. It’s not preachy or judgmental, and has a sweet story about friendship first and foremost. The funny parts with yucky food hidden in a backpack provide some levity in what could be a very serious book. It provides a great starting point for discussions about hunger, charity, and talking to an adult when something seems wrong with a little friend. The illustrations are fun and the language is accessible. A perfectly sweet book about a serious topic. Very well done!" —Denise Mealy, thechildrensbookreview.com
Maddi''s Fridge was included on Sightline Institute''s kid''s list of "The Books We Love Best in 2018." —
Maddi''s Fridge is a compassionate, hopeful, giving, funny picture book about friendship and real world family issues. A rare gem!" —Carrie Charley Brown, writersrumpus.com
Lois Brandt is a writing teacher who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, West Africa. She lives in Issaquah, Washington. Vin Vogel is a Brazilian illustrator and designer who has illustrated more than 45 children’s and young adult books in his native Portuguese and French. He lives in New York City.