Every child deserves to learn about real food and where it comes from. Visiting a farm and growing your own food is important and books can be used to support this hands-on-learning. We love books in our home and especially books about food and gardens. Here are some of our favourite books about farm to table and farmers markets. Before We Eat, Meet Me at the Farmers Market and Happy Veggies are stand outs. No matter the age of your children, no matter if you shop at the grocery store or at the farmers market, I hope you enjoy our selection!
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson and Mary Azarian. Before We Eat is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers as a 'first' farm to table book. It covers the people we can thank for the food we eat from the farmers planting the seeds, to picking at harvest, to those who fish our seas and raise honeybees. It covers workers who pack crates, sort berries, drive trucks and those who work in our grocery stores. It is easy for young children to follow. The block print illustrations are stunning!! I highly recommend it for all homes and classrooms with toddlers to preschoolers.
"Artist Mary Azarian is the Caldecott-Medal winning illustrator of Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (1999, Houghton Mifflin). She created the pictures for Before We Eat by first carving the pictures in wood (in reverse!) and then printing them with ink onto paper before adding the color with watercolor paints. She lives and creates her art on a hilltop farm in Vermont."
Meet Me at the Farmers Market by Lisa Pelto. This is told from the perspective of seven-year-old Sophia as she visits the Farmers Market with her Mom. Sophia and her Mom meet stall holders and catch up with Sophia's friends Ava, Noah and Logan. This is a lovely story which looks and sounds very familiar to our Farmers Markets (UK and Australia). Sophia and her Mom talk to Farmer Dan about his eggs and to Annie the Beekeeper. The children admire all of the fresh goods on offer. The watercolour illustrations are charming, bright and cheerful. This is a good read if your child hasn't been to a market before so they know what to expect. This should be sold at all Farmers Markets for children to read and share!
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth. We've had this book for many years. It's for an older age group (perhaps 5 years+) as it is a little more technical and has more text. This goes into more detail about how the food gets from the farm to table or lunchbox. The book covers the grain going to the mill, the milk going to the dairy, the apple being turned into apple juice, chocolate being turned into chocolate chips that go into a chocolate chip cookie. How Did That Get in My Lunchbox has won the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year.
Farming by Gail Gibbons. We have the board book version and my toddler loves it (he is tractor obsessed)! I would recommend it for children three to four years old and under. It is a simple book about what happens on a farm including outside and inside chores. It is good for learning about seasons as the book contains different pages on what happens on the farm in Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. The farm has an American style red barn but all of the other features including the work, animals and food are familiar. Learning how a farm works is essential to learning about where our food comes from and about how our society works.
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons is a fabulous food book too, we have given it as a gift many times and also as teacher/class gifts/donation.
Right This Very Minute: A Table-To-Farm Book about Food and Farming by Lisl H Detlefsen. Right This Very Minute is a comprehensive book about where food comes from. It covers the food that goes into a breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and dessert including food that comes from a citrus grove, wheat farm, maple tree, cranberry marsh, peanut farm, dairy, beehives, cattle ranch, vegetable farm, strawberry farm and a chicken coop. It looks at growing, harvesting, packing and, transport. Right This Very Minute also encourages children to start their own garden. I would recommend for ages five years+. The text is descriptive and rich with words like "ripeness", "furrows", "evaporators", "nutrients" and, "pollinate".
Right This Very Minute has won the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year.
Happy Veggies by Mayumi Oda. This is a toddler to preschooler book about vegetables. The illustrations make Happy Veggies unforgettable. It's a book that many adults will love too.
"Known to many as the "Matisse of Japan," Mayumi Oda is celebrated for her exuberant printmaking and painting."
The illustrations are vivid and the descriptions are poetic. It exposes children to a large variety of vegetables and explains where they come from and how they grow. Covers a little about seasons and growing conditions. Happy Veggies is an absolute book of art! Features Cabbages, Asparagus, Onions, Butterflies, Potatoes, Radishes, Carrots, Herbs, Beans Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Bees, Pumpkins, Corn, Sweet Potatoes, other Root Vegetables (including Beetroot), Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts. Vegan friendly.
On the Farm, At the Market is on my wish-list (I can't find it locally).
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