Whether you have a chef in the making or a picky eater you’re eager to convert, these books will entertain and educate young readers all about food, glorious food!

  1. Mr. Cookie Baker
    By Monica Wellington

    Follow Mr. Baker as he carefully measures the ingredients, mixes the dough, cuts it into shapes, bakes his cookies and decorates them. Watch Milton read the book below in this episode of Can I Read to You?

  2. Bee-Bim Bop!
    By Linda Sue Park

    What’s better than just eating a favorite dish? Anticipating it while preparing it, of course! Rhythmic, rhyming language and playful illustrations capture the joy of making this special Korean dish — and the joy of sharing it.
  3. Chicken Sunday
    By Patricia Polacco

    Love and caring extend across generations and cultures as a young Jewish girl from a Russian background and two African-American boys work creatively to get their gramma, Miss Eula, an Easter hat. Illustrations detail the warmth of the relationships as well as the subtleties of their different backgrounds.
  4. Cook-A-Doodle-Do!
    By Janet Stevens
    A charming picture book about a hen who decides to make a strawberry shortcake with her friends…none of whom know anything about cooking. Iguana tries to measure the flour with a ruler! Hen teaches about measuring properly with the right tools and the author includes side notes about dry versus liquid measuring, as well as equivalents such as 1 stick butter = 1 cup = 8 tablespoons.
  5. Dim Sum for Everyone
    By Grace Lin

    A Chinese family goes out for dim sum (“little dishes”), choosing their favorites off the restaurant cart and sharing with each other. The illustrations evoke the textures and patterns in this traditional meal, and an endnote provides background on the cultural history and customs surrounding dim sum.
  6. Green is a Chile Pepper
    By Roseanne Thong
    Colors introduce foods and more Mexico and other Spanish-speaking counties. Naïve style illustrations accompany bouncy rhymes that incorporate Spanish words; all colors appear in both Spanish and English.
  7. How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food
    By Lucia Gaggiotti

    Ever wonder how the food we eat came to be in a lunchbox? Brief text and lively illustrations describe food starts as well as healthy eating habits.
  8. Rainbow Stew
    By Cathryn Fallwell
    The children are distressed that it’s raining while visiting their grandfather. But Grandpa has the children don rain gear to “find colors for garden stew.” Vegetables collected, the family makes and eats a delicious stew. Joy-filled illustrations accompany the rhythmic text.
  9. Take Me to Your BBQ
    By Kathy Duval
    Willy’s barbeque is about the best around, even attracting green, 3-eyed, barbeque-loving aliens! Laughs abound in the rhyming tale and swirling, understated illustrations and its surprise ending.
  10. The Food Parade: Healthy Eating with Nutritious Food Groups
    By Elicia Castaldi
    The mayor of Food Town introduces each of the five groups: grains, vegetables, fruit, protein, and dairy. Each personified group parades through town with its relatives. Humorous illustrations of foods with personality, all labeled, are used with an understated text to present palatable nutrition information. A bit more easily digestible information ends the book.
  11. Pinch and Dash
    By Michael Daley
    Pinch is too lazy to make his own soup so visits his friend, Dash who is making some. With ingredients from both kitchens, however, the friends make a tasty soup which turns into an inedible disaster. Short chapters and engaging illustrations create an accessible, engaging book for newly independent readers.
  12. Tyler Makes a Birthday Cake
    By Tyler Florence
    When Tyler forgets his dog’s birthday, he goes to Mr. Baker to learn how to bake a cake. There the boy learns about where the ingredients for a carrot cake originate. Childlike illustrations provide information and humorous asides from Tofu, the dog. Tyler’s DOG carrot cake recipe is included.

Visit our companion site, Start with a Book! Parents can:

  • Strengthen kids’ literacy, inquiry, and problem-solving skills with free science-themed activity packs that combine great book recommendations with easy hands-on activities
  • Energize kids to explore their community! Choose from 24 themes to jumpstart summer adventures with recommended books, activities and apps. Then download and print an Adventure Tracker and encourage kids to track their learning adventures with a fun map and log sheet or a~Summer Book Tracker ~to~log all of their summer reading.
  • Sign up for Summer Reading Tips to Go and get more great ideas for reading, writing and hands-on summertime fun texted right to your phone, in English or Spanish.

About Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a national literacy initiative that gives parents and teachers the resources they need to help young children become strong readers and writers. Our website offers lots of video (including our PBS Launching Young Readers series), hundreds of articles about helping young readers, parent tips in 11 languages, a bilingual parent e-newsletter, video interviews with well-known children’s authors, a big library of themed booklists – and much more!

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