Soul Force and Spice Cake: The Call to Shakabaz

Wednesday, April 11, 2007.

The Call To ShakabazAuthor: Amy Wachspress
Published: 2007 Woza Books
ISBN: 0978835026

Colour, music, scents and sentiment spill out of this pictureless fantasy novel and sweep us into a story of suspense, self-discovery and nonviolent resistance. Our girls laughed, swooned, quaked and cheered — then happily chirped “Satyagraha!”.

Other books mentioned: The Meanest Doll in the World

Check out our interview with author Amy Wachspress here.


Comment by Kristin

April 11, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

This sounds like a very inspiring and engaging chapter book! I am delighted that the author depicts such colorful and diverse characters. My students will love and will gain much from being able to see people like themselves working together to navigate the world, cooperatively working towards a goal, and confidently making tough choices. Through our critical literacy focus we will explore thoroughly the issue of considering options and choosing a nonviolent approach. Children need to see examples of and learn how to weigh their options for how to react in challenging situations. Mention of Ghandi and MLK will also provide a valuable link for discussion about peaceful action.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

April 15, 2007 @ 8:32 pm


Thanks for listening and for sharing your thoughts.

Do let us know what you think of the book, once you get your hands on a copy. We’d love to hear your perspective and the perspective of your students.


Comment by John

April 17, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

This book sounds very informative. It seems as if it may relate to some inner city children, and just how their lives may play out. For children to get into the characters of the book really helps the critical literacy aspect of how children view themselves in the characters eyes, this is great. Also,the history dealing with the great leaders in the past, helps children to understand that certain people struggled to make a statement about mankind. To also show children that it was not always this way, and you don’t have to accept it. But you must go about it in a certain manner. Working cooperatively together to produce one common goal.

Comment by Lisa Jones

April 23, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

I found this review to be interesting and mysterious. It definitely makes me want to go out and immediately find out what all the chatter is about! The hosts seem quite taken with the book as they describe imagery, color, and magic. From their description, I believe this book is definitely one that the kids in my classroom will want to read and “get into.” Often, books that are touted to celebrate diversity are simply window dressing without developed characters. Many times these books feel stereotypical and void of real thought. It’s almost like the characters in these books have been painted brown, but the story has not. It is refreshing to hear that there are books that provide real imagery, depth, and insight with developed and complex characters. Children are definitely capable of handling the realness of this approach. My fourth grade class and I will definitely be checking this out!

Comment by Vicki Otten

April 28, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

I was thrilled to find such an engaging review of a book for upper elementary students. As a fifth grade teacher and as the coordinator of our school’s Peer Mediator program I love finding books that address issues of peace and conflict resolution. Soul Force and Spice Cake appears to not only address these issues, using children around the age of my students, but to do it in a funny, sad, suspensful way – key elements of a book to draw in 10 and 11 year old readers. I really liked the comment about how the book uses humor and how silly some of the scenarios are. Silliness and the ability to laugh out loud are so important to older children; we sometimes forget how necessary it is for the “tweens” to be children. The characters sound dynamic, as does the process they all go through as they grow and experience and search for the answers. The review makes the characters and the story elements vibrant, descibing the book full of “color, texture, smell, magic and music.” What more do you need to create a wildly successful read for upper elementary students? I can’t wait to read this book myself and then read it to my students.

Pingback by The Bookbag, Books for ages 8 to 12, March/April 2007 | Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub Blog

September 24, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

[…] Soul Force and Spice Cake: The Call to Shakabaz by Amy Wachspress (Woza Books, 2007) […]

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