TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee

Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee on Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild

In this post, we feature authors Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, who co-wrote Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. You can hear them speak about their new picture-book biography, Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild, illustrated by Julie Wilson, and try their “invitation to imagine” activities. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!


Jacqueline Briggs Martin, the cover of Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild, and June Jo Lee

Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild

  • Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee and illustrated by Julie Wilson
  • Published by Readers to Eaters
  • Release date: June 7, 2022

Sandor Katz’s love of fermented food started with kosher dill pickles he ate as a New York City kid. As an adult, he left the busy city and moved to a queer community in the mountains of Tennessee. There, his friends grew their own food, cooked and ate together, and sometimes danced in drag when the work was done. One day, the cabbages were all, ALL ready to be harvested. What to do? Sandor tried to make sauerkraut. Delicious! He kept experimenting, finding old recipes, combining old ideas to make something new. Then, he shared what he learned in bestselling books, in classes, and with a growing group of friends around the world. Written by award-winning authors Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild folds timely themes of ecology, community-building, and resilience into a lively biography that closes with a hands-on recipe: just chop, salt, pack, and wait for tiny, wild, invisible microbes to turn raw ingredients into zingy, zangy foods that we love. Sandor believes that making fermented foods connects all, ALL of us on planet Earth—people, plants, and The Tiny Wild. Won’t you join Sandor’s crew and share your own dash of dazzle with the world?

An interior image from Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild showing Sandor Katz in his kitchen, surrounded by tools and spices, reaching into a big jar of pickled vegetables.
An interior image from Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild showing Sandor Katz surrounded by friends in colorful outfits enjoying a feast of fermented foods.

Explore Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild

Listen to Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee talking with TeachingBooks about creating Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.


Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activities contributed by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee.

Imagination Activity with Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Since writing this book, I have come to love wrap sandwiches that include fermented vegetables and hummus. I invented this recipe when June Jo and I were working on Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild. Now I eat one nearly every day. I think it gives me superpower for the day. So, I am hoping that you will invent and write about a Superpower Sandwich. It can be a real sandwich, as mine is, or a made-up sandwich with ingredients given to you by other (possibly magical) persons or creatures.

Write the story of this Super Sandwich. Perhaps include how you happened to make this sandwich the first time. Were you lost and hungry in the woods? Were you sitting on a park bench? Or maybe you were just searching in your refrigerator for sandwich ingredients. What powers does this sandwich give you? What adventures can you imagine that were caused by your Super Sandwich?  Have you ever shared it? How did that go?

Imagination Activity with June Jo Lee

What is a flavor or dish that takes you back to you home or best food time? What foods make you sing? What’s your tricky food? 


Finish This Sentence . . . with Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy these responses from Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee.

“Where I work is…”

June Jo and I spent years writing and re-writing the Sandor Katz story. You might imagine us at two desks side by side, but we never actually did that. We have written in coffee shops, convention centers, libraries, hotel rooms, and taco restaurants. And, of course, we’ve written on the phone while we were each at our computers. Wherever we are writing, we always scratch out a lot and re-write. And we laugh a lot because we love writing together. Try writing a story with a friend. Think of a topic you both care about. Be prepared to laugh a lot, scratch out a lot, and end up with a story.—Jacqueline Briggs Martin

“A favorite question from a young reader is…”

A favorite question from a young reader is, “Why did you write about Chef Roy Choi?” Here is what I say. Chef Roy Choi put Korean food on the map, literally by being the first business on twitter so he could let his fans know where his food truck would dish out Korean tacos. Also, he introduced mainstream eaters to the Korean flavors I love, by putting it in a taco, a dish we all love. He and I are both Korean American, born the same year and immigrated to the U.S. about the same time. And, we both grew up eating our mom’s kimchi tofu stew. I could tell my own story through Roy’s. Also, like Roy, I grew up with kids making fun of my home foods and Korean snacks. When I was growing up, kids told me my mom’s kimchi was sticky and gross. This made me feel gross and ashamed of who I was. I wanted kids to make their worlds bigger by sharing foods with their friends. Food can be a wall that shuts others out, or a bridge that connects you to more friends. —June Jo Lee


More Connections to Jacqueline Briggs Martin, June Jo Lee, and Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild


Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Jacqueline Briggs Martin, June Jo Lee, Julie Wilson, and Readers to Eaters and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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