Andrew Cooke Magnet School fourth-grade teacher Jodi Bailey with student Vania Torres, who has written a book entitled “I Decide, One Day, to Make Some Tamilitos: A Cultural Recipe Story for Children.” | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
WAUKEGAN — The 10-year-old granddaughter of a Belizean chef has written a book that gave her a taste of fame.
Vania Torres of Park City, a fourth-grader at Andrew Cooke Magnet School in Waukegan, recently published her book titled “I Decide, One Day, to Make Some Tamilitos: A Cultural Recipe Story for Children” through Lake Bluff publishing company Blanket Press.
She said she has given classmates and teachers autographed copies of her book. A copy is also available at the school library.
“It was so exciting to see (the book) I wrote,” Vania said.”My best friends are so proud of me.”
Vania was born in Belize and moved to the United States when she was 2.
“The purpose (of my book) is to inform children about Belize, about my culture. Not a lot of people know about Belize,” she said.
Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. It is also home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Torres wrote.
Vania has grown up eating Belizean food like tamilitos, which are similar to tamels. She spent an afternoon making a fresh batch with her mother and took photographs to accompany her work.
In addition to providing step-by-step instructions on how to prepare one of her favorite dishes, Torres included information she has grown up learning.
The idea for the book came from a friend of her mother, who asked her to write a book. She brainstormed the Belize recipe idea with her mom and got to work. She said she likes writing and hopes to write another book. Vania said she was unsure what the topic would be.
Her previous book writing experience came from a class project with her fourth-grade class.
Teacher Jodi Bailey put together a class book in which each student wrote a page, she said.
“It’s pretty exciting. We never had someone doing (a book) on their own before,” Bailey said. “The kids really like it. They keep telling (Vania) that she’s famous.”