No matter our age, size, or where we’re from, everyone eats, and food is a part of many celebrations and social gatherings. These picture books tell stories about different foods and the people who cook and eat them. Many include recipes!
Freedom Soup by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
Published by Candlewick, 2019
A girl and her grandmother make Freedom Soup on New Year’s Day to commemorate the slave revolt in Haiti that led to freedom for the enslaved people there.
Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans by Tina Cho, illustrated by Keum Jin Song
Published by little bee books, 2018
A South Korean girl and her father are part of a group sending rice to North Koreans via balloons. Kindness rules the day, even when some suggest they are helping the enemy. There’s some good back matter to help kids learn more about the history of Korea.
Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley
Published by Simon and Schuster, 2018
A simple picture book celebrating vegetables and colors, with each veggie shown in all its glory, unadorned and on a white background. Additions of white salt, black pepper, and clear water turn everything into soup.
Toasty by Sarah Hwang
Published by Margaret Ferguson, 2021
Seems as though a story about a piece of toast that aspires to be a dog would be kind of a disaster, but Sarah Hwang makes it work in this charming tale where dreams come true for both Toasty and the girl he befriends.
Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai
Published by Norton Young Readers, 2021
Lili learns about all kinds of dumplings from around the world when she helps her Nai Nai (grandmother) make baos. An exciting celebration at the end provides the perfect reason for a dumpling feast.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2018
Little Star can’t resist nibbling on that big mooncake her mother left to cool. A fun introduction to both phases of the moon and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival that was a Caldecott honor book.
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Roaring Brook, 2019
A celebration of fry bread and the different indigenous groups that enjoy it. Winner of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert award for informational book, and an American Indian Youth Literature honor book.
Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One
Published by Readers to Eaters, 2017
When Roy Choi lost his job as a chef, he decided to open a taco truck with a Korean twist, and the rest is culinary history. A Sibert honor book, this was published by Readers to Eaters which has a lot of other great food titles.
Popcorn Country: The Story of America’s Favorite Snack by Cris Peterson, photographs by David R. Lundquist
Published by Boyds Mills Press, 2019
Americans consume approximately four and a half billion gallons of this snack each year. Find out how popcorn makes its way from the Corn Belt of the country all the way to your movie theater, popped, buttered, salted, and ready to eat.
Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron
Published by Annick Press, 2020
Living at Vancouver’s Welcome Center isn’t easy for Syrian refugees Salma and her mom. Hoping to bring a real smile to her mother’s face, Salma decides to make foul shami, one of Mom’s favorite Syrian dishes. With the help of others in the Welcome Center, Salma overcomes some bumps in the road to accomplish her culinary goal.
Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Giselle Porter
Published by Beach Lane Books, 2021
If you’ve ever enjoyed a kiwi or a blood orange, thank Frieda Caplan who, in the 1950’s, was looking to introduce something a bit more interesting to produce consumers than the piles of potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, and apples that she saw. She had an instinctive ability to choose unfamiliar fruits and vegetables that her customers ended up loving.
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Published by Salaam Reads/Simon and Schuster, 2019
Bilal’s excited to invite his friends over for dinner. He starts to worry, though, when they think the ingredients look and smell funny, and has plenty of time to fret during the long hours it takes for the daal to cook. Fortunately, the end result is possible as his friends dig in and give their supper two thumbs up. An honor book for the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.
Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuko Ando by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz
Published by little bee books, 2019
If you’ve ever enjoyed a package of ramen noodles, you can thank Momofuko Ando, who saw the need in postwar Japan for cheap, easy-to-prepare nutrition, and wouldn’t give up until he produced the food that we enjoy today.