In the spirit of Sarah and Beth’s most recent blog posts featuring some fantastic book recommendations, I thought I’d share some of the stories I read most often during my elementary school level cooking and gardening classes.
One Bean, Anne Rockwell
This book follows a young boy as he plants a bean seed and watches it grow. The simple narrative is easy to play out in real life, which is why this is my go-to whenever I teach younger students (K-2) about seeds and life cycles. Not only does the book provide a model for a seed starting activity, it also includes ideas for additional projects and some in-depth info on beans.
Heroes of the Vegetable Patch, Ulf Stark
This is a fun story about two siblings who care for their neighbor’s garden after being magically shrunk to the size of radishes. I really like to read this book at the start of the growing season as a way to get students thinking about their responsibilities to the plants and insects in the garden.
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table, Pat Brisson
The illustrations are absolutely beautiful in this book that asks readers to think about where food is coming from—who grew it or raised it and how it makes its way to our plate. I love using this book to set the stage for cooking activities; it gets students thinking about the story behind each ingredient we’re using in a recipe and establishes the concept of gratitude, which we always practice before our first taste.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, Lauren Child
This is another book that I use in conjunction with cooking or tasting activities. In this one, Charlie convinces his very picky-eater-sister Lola to try vegetables by coming up with some creative names for the foods she normally hates. As someone who was basically Lola growing up, I sympathize with a lot of my students who are hesitant to snack on veggies straight out of the garden or partake in the recipes that we prepare in class. I often end up using this book as a starting point for a discussion about how we can build confidence to try new foods.
Have any other book recommendations? We’d love to hear about your favorites!