Josette and Friends Cook a Gumbo

Josette and Friends Cook a Gumbo

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Josette and Friends Cook a Gumbo

written by Elista Istre, illustrations by Joy Dabby

Out now!


About the Book

“This beautifully written and illustrated children’s book is a brilliant blend of Louisiana’s culture and cuisine.”—Chef John Folse

Cool fall days and warm, cozy friendships bring Josette and her friends together to cook a delicious gumbo bursting with flavor. As the children add their favorite ingredients to the pot, they stir up some fascinating stories about Louisiana’s people—including Cajuns, Creoles, American Indians, French, Africans, Germans, and Spanish Isleños.

While spicing up their friendship in Mama’s kitchen, what will Josette and her friends discover about each other and their own connections to this tasty dish?

Bon appétit!


About the Author and Illustrator

Dr. Elista Istre, a native and lifelong resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, is a descendant of Cajuns, French Creoles, and Spanish Isleños. An avid traveler with a passion for cultures across the globe, Elista has been sharing her region’s diverse heritage with audiences of all ages around the world for more than twenty years. Elista founded her own company Belle Heritage to provide consulting expertise and create cultural experiences that inspire individuals and organizations to celebrate the beauty of heritage. She served as historical consultant and assistant director for the documentary film First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana and authored the book Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong. Her work Josette and Friends Cook a Gumbo is her first children’s book. If she’s not busy traveling the world or curled up with a good book, you can probably find Elista at home preparing a culturally themed dinner party for family and friends or out dancing to a live Cajun or Zydeco band. Find her at

Joy Dabby is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer based in Los Angeles, California. She has a BA from New York University and an MA from the University of Chicago. Joy's art has been exhibited internationally at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy. Joy loves to make things, including art and food that bring people together.She lives with her husband, two kids, and two mischievous dogs. More of her work can be seen at


© Elista Istre and Joy Dabby

Hardcover | 36 Pages | 8" x 10" | ISBN: 9781959569046