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As many parents, caregivers and teachers are aware, books are a great way to introduce children to new concepts and situations. The stories and visuals allow an idea to blossom in the mind, making a connection to something the child hasn’t actually experienced yet. It also bridges the gap between something a child has experienced, but doesn’t fully understand.
As such, books are a great way to introduce children to the many facets of eating Real Food that are quite different from modern food usage. Real Food is not just about proper nutrition; it’s about community, politics, economics, healthcare, education, environment, diversity, and even religion in some cases. It’s important to give children a strong grasp of everything that goes into food, connect them to what they consume and the earth that provides for every living organism.
One MBL writer, Haley, recently wrote about gardening as a means to show her son that food is “not miraculously conjured on grocery store shelves”. Some folks are even lucky enough to be able to visit the farms where they buy food, taking their kids to show them precisely where and how milk is produced. If these aren’t options for you, try some of these books, which are all pretty cheap:
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey – A charming book with beautiful illustrations. Preserving food for winter is a secondary theme and includes a highly detailed two page illustration of an old fashioned kitchen.
Harvest by Kris Waldherr – A more realistic illustration style with soft colors. Harvest covers the steps of picking produce from the garden and dry preserving them, then later reflecting on the splendor of the day under a beautiful harvest moon.
Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle – From the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this book is about a boy who just wants pancakes for breakfast. His mother shows him that pancake batter doesn’t magically appear when he’s hungry and sets him out to gather fresh ingredients.
Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Buttered Bread by Maj Lindman – Along the same lines of Pancakes, Pancakes!, this classicly illustrated book covers all of the steps that go into making butter, starting with sunshine.
To Market, to Market by Nikki McClure – This uniquely styled book follows a mother and son to the farmer’s market where they go through their grocery list and learn about where each food came from.
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall – A historical story about a New England farming family, following them through the seasons leading up to market day where they sell most of their property just to survive for another year.
Two Little Gardeners by Margaret Wise Brown – This Little Golden Book features a brother and sister pair growing a garden, including a song about waiting for the fruits of their labor.
The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Marten Provensen – Another seasonally themed book with a simple art style, this book also demonstrates biodiversity and how nature works together.
Do you know of any other books that would fit this list? Share in the comments!