Brain Pickings

How Beloved Chef and Entrepreneur Julia Child Conquered the World: An Illustrated Life Story

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“Oh, nuts! I burned the sauce.”

Legendary chef Julia Child, who would have been 101 today, not only revolutionized the world of cookbooks but was also a remarkable beacon of entrepreneurship and perseverance more than a decade before women started raising their voices in the media world. Her unrelenting spirit and generous heart cast her as one of modern history’s most timeless role models, and that’s precisely what writer and illustrator Jessie Hartland celebrates in the endlessly wonderful Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child (public library) — a heartening illustrated biography of the beloved chef, intended to enchant young readers with her story but certain to delight all of us. Hartland’s vibrant drawings — somewhere between Maira Kalman, Wendy MacNaughton, and Vladimir Radunsky — exude the very charisma that made Childs an icon, and infuse her legacy with fresh joy.

Amidst the beautiful illustrations are practical glimpses of Child’s culinary tricks and the context of her recipes:

At the end of the story, as at the end of her life, Child emerges not only as a masterful cook but also as a fierce entrepreneur, a humble human, and restlessly creative soul.

Complement Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child with some equally delightful graphic biographies for grown-ups, chronicling the lives of Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman, Steve Jobs, and Hunter S. Thompson, and revisit the story of how Child published her legendary cookbook against all odds.

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