Author LaShonda Stewart reads from her book, “The 12 Days of a Soul Food Christmas,” to students attending the African American Museum of Southern Illinois’ Christmas in July event Saturday.
More than 100 people celebrated the conclusion of the African American Museum of Southern Illinois’ “Learned Wednesday” summer enrichment program for area students with a special dinner that had a Christmas feel.
The “Christmas in July” event featured holiday decorations and a dinner of traditional soul foods prepared at Christmas, said LaShonda Stewart, author of “The 12 Days of a Soul Food Christmas,” a book which Amazon describes as a “whimsical new version of the traditional Christmas carol.”
Stewart, a professor at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Management of Marketing, said she wrote the book during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of remembering the celebrations – and foods – of Christmases during her childhood.
“The book is all about the relationship of a grandmother and her grandchildren. She’s called Big Mama and she goes above and beyond spoiling her grandchildren, cooking all of these favorite foods,” Stewart said.