Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Round-up: Teaching Kids Where Food Comes From

I believe that it's important for kids to make the connection of where food comes from beyond the grocery store. With the increase of the world's population that live in cities, children are losing sight of the fact that actual people grow our food. We have come far from the era where most of us lived on the family farm and the majority of us are exclusively consumers rather than producers of our food. This disconnect is important because food is something that we not only rely on for our health and well-being, but also has significant cultural value and the choices about how that food is produced have major impacts on the environment that our children will grow up in.

Many kids don't know what eggs are, that apples grow on trees, that bacon comes from pigs, that milk comes not from a jug but from a cow, or that vegetables grow in dirt. Thousands of 8 year olds in the UK think that cows lay eggs.

Beyond making the connection with books and with your kids in the kitchen, give your munchkins the opportunity to appreciate hands-on the sights and smells of food production by taking them on a visit to a farmer's market, take a trip to a local farm, go on a family u-pick trip, volunteer together in a community food garden, or start your own veggie patch and get their hands in the dirt. Children are naturally curious to explore and understand the world around them, it's up to us to offer the opportunities to develop a healthy appreciation of real food and where it comes from that will hopefully last a lifetime.


Spot's Harvest by: Eric Hill

Very cute, simple and bright book in the beloved Spot collection. Spot and his monkey friend pick apples and pumpkins and enjoy their harvest as pie and hot apple cider.

Growing Vegetable Soup: Lap-Sized Board Book by: Lois Ehlert

Incredibly bright and graphic, this book follows a father and child as they plant, water, tend, and eventually pick vegetables. They take the vegetables home and make them into tasty vegetable soup. Even has a recipe for that soup at the end of the book! Such a good book.


Out and About at the Dairy Farm by: Andy Murphy

Fun and concise introduction to where milk comes from. Introduces children to calves, heifers, and milking cows and is filled with facts to appeal to this age group. It even includes a recipe for homemade ice cream!

Pancakes, Pancakes! by: Eric Carle

In this super cute book, a very determined little boy wakes up hungry one morning and decides that he would like pancakes for breakfast. His mother sends him out on their farm to gather all the ingredients she needs to make them: milk from the cow, eggs from the chicken, and flour from the mill. 


Oliver's Fruit Salad by: Vivian French

Oliver helps his grandfather grow and pick fruit from the garden, but he refuses to eat any of it. That is, until Oliver helps grandpa make a big and delicious fruit salad that proves just too much to resist. This bold and colorful  book helps encourage kids to try something new.

The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons

This book describes all the families of vegetables from how they are grown to how they get to the supermarket or farm stand. Filled with interesting facts as well as information for kids on how to take care of their own garden. A wealth of information presented in a fun kid-friendly format. 

The Milk Makers by: Gail Gibbons

Describes every possible step in the making of milk, from what the cow eats all the way to your family's breakfast table. Very detailed and accurate but also still very entertaining and easy to read.

 9-12 YEARS

Bread Comes to Life: A Garden of Wheat and a Loaf to Eat by: George Levenson

This book, written in rhyme covers a lot of ground, following a mystery baker growing wheat, grinding flour, mixing, shaping, and baking bread. Full of fantastic photos and includes a recipe for whole wheat bread. A perfect intro before getting your children to help you make their very own loaf.

For Parents

Kitchen Literacy:How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes From by: Ann Velesis

Written by a noted historian, this book traces the path that has led people to become disassociated from the origins of their food, from the role manufacturers, to urbanization, to transportation systems. This book is fascinating fun read and a good start, but it doesn't fully delve into what we can do and issues of poverty as much as I would like. However, I would still recommend it for those who are interested in this issue.

Disclaimer: If you click through on these links and purchase these books from Amazon, I will earn a dollar or two -- which goes towards my food budget. However, that has nothing to do with why I have posted this selection of books and by all means, if you are interested in them take them out from your local library or purchase them from your favorite seller.


  1. wow, great info! I love how it is made applicable to kids!

  2. Thanks for that useful list. I totally agree with your view about food and the so needed connection of its origin. And by the way, I can't wait to take Boris, Andrezza and Eric organic strawberry picking end of June. How about you join us.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun Lu! We're still trying to figure out our summer plans but hopefully we'll be coming that way sometime.

  4. I just love this posting! I'll be looking for the Growing Vegetable Soup: Lap-Sized Board Book by Lois Ehlert around here. Thanks Michelle!

  5. What wonderful books! I will be be looking for the fruit salad book


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