As our second year of homeschooling comes to a close, I find myself with not one, not two, but three little homeschoolers in my fold. It has been an amazing journey and I have enjoyed getting to know my children better as learners.
One of the most delightful (and delicious!) outcomes of having my daughter home this year has been making meals together. When she first wrote her fantastic manifesto, learning how to cook dinner was at the very top of her list. This was not surprising, given the fact that she and my youngest son wake up every morning and make magical recipes in our play kitchen as I get breakfast ready.
But by joining forces and creating meals together, my daughter has taught me to love cooking… something I never thought could happen!
Today, I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite books about cooking. While cooking together is a recent development, we’ve always enjoyed reading about cooking! When you are finished reading, I’d love for you to tell me your favorites. I’m always looking to add to our library bag!
10+ Books to Get Kids Excited About Cooking
I love when my children discover a book that teaches me something, too. Have you ever heard of Edna Lewis? She was an African-American chef in New York City during the period when it was unusual to find a female chef, let alone an African-American one. This story is loosely based on her childhood in Virginia, where she and her family lived off the land. This book is a celebration of local seasonal food and respect for the land. The book has recipes in the back to inspire your little chefs!
When I was little, I loved this book. Now, decades later, my children love this book. Since they have discovered it, I have enjoyed falling in love with it all over again. Sendak takes us on an unforgettable journey through the months of the year. It is a story that you won’t soon forget, one that will stay imprinted on your book loving heart forever. The other day, I surprised them by showing them the old video of the book with its catchy tune.
My children enjoy all the Froggy books, but this one is their favorite. They never fail to giggle as Froggy tries his best to make a birthday cake for his mother without any help. What a hilarious mess!
Jan Brett is one of our family’s favorite authors. We love her stories and intricate illustrations, many with foreshadow-filled borders. Gingerbread Baby is a fun twist on an old classic. In this story, a child does not adhere to the recipe’s instructions and opens the oven too early. Out pops the Gingerbread Baby! The Gingerbread Baby leads everyone on a fantastic chase, as in the traditional story, but the ending has a unique twist. And that twist is a happier one than the traditional tale. Your children will love it!
What do you do when you want to make an apple pie but the local food market is closed? Why not take a trip around the world in search of all the necessary ingredients? This quirky story is a great way to talk to children about where our food actually comes from, challenging them to think beyond the grocery store. I love that the book incorporates geography, too! There’s also a recipe for apple pie included in the book.
In this book, a young boy named Mickey goes on a fantastic journey through a night kitchen where the bakers are preparing a morning cake. I’ve never encountered a picture book that captured the feeling of a dream so well. Mickey floats from scene to scene, encountering strange and wondrous sights. I’m going to be honest here: it can be difficult to read as an adult because of the fact it is so dream-like. It is not supposed to make perfect sense, just as dreams leave you a bit confused. I have yet to meet a child who didn’t delight in this tale, and I’ve been reading it to kids long before I had my own!
Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World by Elizabeth M. Harbison
This is a really interesting book! It is fascinating to consider that bread is almost universal. As you travel the world, bread is everywhere. This book takes your children on a cultural and history journey about the history of bread. The book includes heaps of activities and recipes to keep those little hands busy, too!
We are huge dePaola fans over here. This is one of his lesser-known books, but I adore it. It is wordless, simple, and sweet. It tells the story of a woman who wakes up to make pancakes. Wordless books are a wonderful way to use the imagination and work on storytelling skills. They are also a fantastic way to involve non-readers. My older two can read well and my youngest sometimes feels left out. He loves when I give him a wordless book and ask him to read to us.
This is such a fun fall story! Do you love pumpkin? Then you’re sure to love Pumpkin Soup. In this book, the characters make pumpkin soup together every single day… in the same exact way. One day, they decide to mix things up and switch order and roles. This results in an argument, some stubborn behavior, and a less than tasty soup. This is a wonderful book to start a discussion about friendship and siblings and sharing and cooperation. It would make a wonderful addition to any family library.
Mrs. Peters has seven children and they are all picky eaters. If you’ve ever parented a picky eater, you will appreciate this book. You will feel for Mrs. Peters. When her seven children decide to bake her a birthday cake, you will be happy for her and grimace because you’ll know the mess that will ensue. Still, the end result is worth it. This is a fantastically fun read aloud that your entire family will enjoy. And you will all want to bake a pink and plump and perfect cake afterward!
I love this story so much that I wish I had thought of it myself. Do you have a child who is terrified of thunder? I sure do! In fact, I have three. In this book, a grandmother tells her granddaughter that it is perfect Thunder Cake baking weather. As the storm builds up, the two work on baking the cake. It needs to be in the oven before the storm has ended. What a perfect distraction from a scary storm!! And, for those interested, a Thunder Cake recipe is included in the book!
If you love Strega Nona, you’ll love Tony’s Bread, an Italian folktale about a man who wishes to be the best baker in all of Italy. Tonys’ daughter, Serafina, wishes to marry. Both will get their wish in this fable about how panettone, an Italian Christmas bread, came to be.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Do you love cooking with your children? What are your favorite cooking-related reads? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram