10 Delicious Kids Books for Read Across America Week
As a mom of two, a book- and food-lover, finding dynamic and delicious books to read with my kids is one of my favorite tasks. It doesn’t hurt if those books also include new foods, deal with picky eating, or teach my kids about making room at the table for new friends.
Along with classics like Eating the Alphabet and Pancake, Pancake, this year I’m looking for a broader palette of characters, stories, and cuisines to celebrate Read Across America Week, which kicks off March 1.
What is RAA? RAA was originally planned in partnership with the National Association of Education around Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Parents may remember the original RAA Day as “Dr. Seuss Day.” Now, of course, in recent years, Seuss’ work has been under scrutiny for racist depictions, so we choose to celebrate the idea of a week focused on reading and leave Dr. Seuss aside. (This Colorful Pages piece is a great resource for alternatives to Dr. Seuss books.)
Armed with my library card and tons of recommendations from friends, fellow parents, and librarians, these are 10 food books I’m putting on hold at my local library for Read Across America Week this year.
Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock (Debwe) by Dallas Hunt
The world-famous bannock in this story is a type of Native American fry bread. A little girl drops her grandmother’s bannock, to her great dismay. With the help of animals, she gathers all the ingredients and they remake the bannock together. This book includes a recipe for bannock at the end.
Buy the book: Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock (Debwe)
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff
This sweet story is about a woman who makes cholent for her neighbors for Shabbat every Friday, but when she gets sick her various neighbors bring food to her instead!
Buy the book: Chik Chak Shabbat
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk
My kindergartener and second grader love all the adventures of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast which usually start in the fridge. This is a longer rhyming story with lots of humor and a heartfelt message of sharing.
Buy the book: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
A simple counting book turns into a delightful feast for a large family. Follow along as numbers lead from grocery shopping to cooking and finally a lively family dinner.
Buy the book: Feast for 10
Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Pancit is a traditional Filipino noodle dish that Cora is learning to cook alongside her mother. What I’m most looking forward to reading is Cora’s experiences in a large family as a second generation Filipino-American.
Buy the book: Cora Cooks Pancit
How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller
Matilda Macaroni schools her parents on trying new foods in this delightful role reversal. You see, Matilda has a very diverse appetite but her parents are quite picky so she flips the script by making dinner to encourage them to try some new foods.
Buy the book: How to Feed Your Parents
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
This rhyming book is wonderful for preschoolers but also an introduction to Korean cuisine for older readers — everyone will be singing along to the sweet bee-bim bop line! We also love No Kimchi for Me! for learning more about Korean food traditions (plus there are cat illustrations!).
Buy the book: Bee-Bim Bop!
What’s on Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart
Photos and illustrations show what children from 14 countries around the world eat in this short and sweet book. A map and pronunciations for each dish are there to help out parents too.
Buy the book: What’s on Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food
Save Me a Seat by Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Wells
This chapter book was recommended to us by my daughter’s third grade BFF. A short chapter book ideal for independent readers, Save Me a Seat follows Ravi as he leaves behind friends in India and moves to America and makes friends with Joe (a boy whose best friend has also just moved). A wonderful tribute to empathy, adults will enjoy this story told from different perspectives.
Buy the book: Save Me a Seat
Leila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz
Leila is on a journey to understand herself as a second generation Pakistani-American — and she uses her grandmother’s weekly dinners and traditions as her guide. The book’s illustrations by Dinara Mirtalipova make this story incredibly rich and warm.
Buy the book: Leila in Saffron
Kitchen Dance by Maurice J, Manning
Dancing in the kitchen is a universal love language, right? Kitchen Dance is a story of just that with short rhyming phrases in both Spanish and English.
Buy the book: Kitchen Dance
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 10 Beautiful Food Books for Kids for Read Across America Week