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Padma Lakshmi in Conversation with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tomatoes for Neela

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Wed, 09/08/2021 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Event address: 

NOTE: The date for this has changed from September 7 to September 8 at 6:30pm PST.

Village Books is pleased to partner with the Bellingham Public Library to bring bestselling author and host of Top Chef and Taste the Nation, Padma Lakshmi and fellow author/celebrity Jesse Tyler Ferguson to the Virtual Readings Gallery! She'll be presenting her brand new picture book, Tomatoes for Neela. A beautiful celebration of food and family, TOMATOES FOR NEELA lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures, as well as to our own, through food.

Village Books will provide bookplates autographed by Padma Lakshmi to people who purchase her book at event registration (while supplies last!) We have created a ticket add-on for donations to Common Threads in support of the vital work they do in our community, connecting kids with healthy and sustainable foods! Scroll down to see their mission statement.


Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati's famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.
Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family's treasured recipes. And illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal brings this circle of women to life with vivid detail and warmth. Tomatoes for Neela lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures, as well as to our own, through food.

Padma Lakshmi is the creator and host of Hulu's Taste the Nation and host and executive producer of the Emmy-winning Bravo series Top Chef. She is the bestselling author of two cookbooks, the Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs, as well as her memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate. Lakshmi is also cofounder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, an artist ambassador for the ACLU, and a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. She lives in New York City with her daughter. Her favorite kind of tomato is a San Marzano.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson is a celebrated actor with a passion for cooking and entertaining, best known for his lead role in the TV series Modern Family. In March 2021, Ferguson and co-author Julie Tanous released his first cookbook, Food Between Friends. Published by Clarkson Potter, the cookbook pays homage to their hometowns as they whip up modern California food with Southern and Southwestern spins.A longstanding advocate for marriage equality, Ferguson co-founded Tie The Knot in 2012 with his husband, where they design limited edition bow ties with all the proceeds going to various organizations that fight for LGBTQ equality around the world. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Justin Mikita, and their baby, Beckett. 

Juana Martinez-Neal is the Peruvian born daughter and granddaughter of painters. Her debut as an author-illustrator Alma and How She Got Her Name, was awarded a Caldecott Honor and was also published in a Spanish edition as Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre. Her second author-illustrator book, Zonia's Rain Forest and La selva de Zonia released in spring 2021. She has also illustrated numerous picture books including La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, for which she won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, and Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, which won The Robert F. Sibert Medal. Juana lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit her online at

About Common Threads:
Founded in 2007, Common Threads is a Bellingham, WA based non-profit that promotes a seed-to-table approach to gardening, nutrition and environmental stewardship.
Our Mission: Common Threads connects kids to healthy food in the garden, in the kitchen, and at the table. We want kids to grow up making food choices that are good for their bodies, their communities, and the environment.

Village Books wishes to thank the Bellingham Public Library for once again, co-sponsoring a great event with us. We love our librarians!

Tomatoes for Neela By Padma Lakshmi, Juana Martinez-Neal (Illustrator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593202708
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 31st, 2021

Food Between Friends: A Cookbook By Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Julie Tanous Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593136539
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - March 9th, 2021

Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day By Padma Lakshmi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780306926044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Go - March 16th, 2021

Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir By Padma Lakshmi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062868572
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Ecco - June 19th, 2018

The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World By Padma Lakshmi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062375230
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Ecco - October 4th, 2016