My Favorite Kids Books About Food!

strega_Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola 
Who can go wrong with a Tomie de Paola book This book has been awarded The Caldecott Honor.  Strega Nona, bound to be a seasonal favorite. The emphasis is on the garden and the harvest and sharing the bounty! Strega Nona—”Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. A fun read for child and adult!

A Seed Is Sleepy
by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illustrated by Sylvia Long, beautiful illustrations, make this a winner.  ( A beautiful follow-up to An Egg Is Quiet.)  Each page offers a gem of information pertaining to seeds. It has a really good overview of seed germination in pictures. Also, an interesting selection of seeds, such as devils clan, Texas mountain laurel pod and turpentine bean. A great little chart shows different germination times for seeds inciting discussion. There is not much text; mainly a picture book.

applepietreeThe Apple Pie Tree
by Zoe Hall & Shari Halpern (illustrator). This is a gorgeous picture book, with minimal text, which covers the seasons of an apple tree and the growth of an apple. The concept is that an apple tree is in fact a glorious tree, which produces the essential ingredient in apple pie. A recipe for apple pie and a quick overview of pollination concludes the book. The study of an Apple Pie can turn into a good line of academic study! At Kids Culinary Adventures , we anchored Math , Reading , Science and Art to our all of our professional children’s culinary classes –we always pulled out, The Apple Tree on Pi day! Fun!

Magic School Bus – Gets Baked In A Cake
 A book about Kitchen Chemistry
by Joanna Cole& Bruce Degen (Illustrator)  LOVE THIS TITLE!  Anyone that knows me, knows I relate well to Miss Frizzle– her and I are always getting the job done while relating cooking to Chemistry.

The story really touches on the concept of chemical reaction, but it will likely elicit more discussion. The experiment offered at the end is a fun one, with easy ingredients. This book is part of the TV series Magic School Bus books which doesn’t relate to cooking, but it will get your children interested in science and reading, so you really can’t go wrong. The illustrations are wild as in most Magic School bus books. The suggested age is 5-7 but curious pre-schoolers will enjoy them, too.

There’s a Hair in My Dirt
by Gary Larson
While not exactly a “children’s” book and given a definite caveat to parents – (the theme of the book is DEATH and it’s slightly grisly), Gary Larson’s wry humor is beautifully showcased here in a Worm’s story of how hair got into his dirt and how dirt comes about. A really interesting take on the cycles of things. We bought our copy at Blue Hill Stone Barns. I love this book. Definitely in the 9-12 age category for most parents.
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
by Sharon Lovejoy
One of my Favorites! This is a fun book for winter to plan your spring and summer project. A companion to Lovejoy’s Sunflower Houses from: “Inspiration from the Garden” – Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots will give you the steps for planting a Sunflower House among other fun parent and child gardening projects! Ages 5-10 with an adult.
Pancakes, Pancakes!
by Eric Carle
Well, what can I say. One can never go wrong with an Eric Carle book. In Pancakes, Pancakes, a young boy learns that if he wants pancakes, he has to gather all of the ingredients himself. From a request for flour he learns to cut, thresh and grind wheat. Great to teach children that food is a lot more complicated than something from a box at a supermarket. Best for ages 3-6.
Tops & Bottoms
by Janet Stevens
A Caldecott Honor Book. The story of a clever rabbit who grows a garden for lazy bear each year, keeping the tops and bottoms and finally middles. Bear learns a valuable lesson that growing food takes work and that some crops produce edible tops, bottoms or middles.
A Kid’s Herb Book
by Lesley Tierra
This book has lots of open space, large print, and black and white drawings, which makes it accessible to a younger audience. Unusual herbs are covered in detail, such as slippery elm and plantain. There’s a lot of learning and educational opportunities, with mini projects, recipes, tips, remedy recipes, as well as stories and songs. There is a chapter on gardening. The main intent of the book is exploration, to make the herb garden a friendly place to visit, and to increase herb awareness. Projects can certainly be done with the under 6 age level. The stories and songs are accessible to most kids, but the 6+ will benefit the most.