A list of incredible children’s books that focus on diversity in food and culture. This list was curated and reviewed by elementary school teacher and licensed reading specialist, Libby Barclay.
This list of books covers a range of cultures, foods, and traditions. From boa buns and ramen, to fry bread and pie, there’s something for every young reader to enjoy!
These books are great for preschool through late elementary. Let your kids explore the world of food and culture, one incredible book at a time!
And if you’re looking to cook up something, check out my list of 55+ Cookbooks written by Black authors.
This list was curated by the talented Libby Barclay, Elementary School Teacher and Licensed Reading Specialist.
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
By Kat Zhang
Amy Wu is a young girl who loves the delicious bao buns her family makes. Amy gets frustrated by how difficult it is to shape the perfect bao until her grandma comes up with an idea. The reader gets to experience the day long project of making bao buns from start to finish!
Feast for 10
By Catheryn Falwell
A wonderful story about a family shopping for ingredients and making a family feast together. This counting book is perfect for the preschool and early elementary crowd.
Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando
By Andrea Wang
Magic Ramen is the story of Momofuku Ando, the innovative cook behind instant ramen noodles. This story is great for elementary children! Momofuku’s story includes topics that could springboard many important conversations with older elementary kids. Some of these topics include, food instability, hunger, war and food rationing, perseverance, innovation, experimentation, and caring for our fellow countrymen.
Walter the Baker
By Eric Carle
Walter the Baker is a wonderful legend written by Eric Carle. The legend explains the origins of the pretzel and how Walter worked tirelessly to bake a pastry to please the king and queen. A classic story by a classic author; children of all ages will enjoy!
Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie
By Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen
This Thanksgiving story is written by none other than Jack Bishop of ATK himself! Peyton is a young girl who identifies as a picky eater. She decides this Thanksgiving holiday she is going to be brave and try a food she is unsure about...pie! The story unfolds as each guest brings a pie to share for the meal. The reader learns the history of each pie as Peyton scopes them out on the desert table.
Bee Bim Bop!
By Linda Sue Park
A wonderful story with excellent rhyme and rhythm. Follow along as a Korean family cooks bee bim bop! This is such a fun story for the preschooler in your life!
Eating the Alphabet
By Lois Elhert
Want your young reader to learn the names of some unique fruits and veggies? This is the perfect book to introduce all the produce you can imagine. In author and illustrator Lois Elhert’s trademark style, Eating the Alphabet will inspire young readers to try many different fruits and vegetables.
Too Many Tamales
By Gary Soto
A heartwarming story about a Hispanic family gathering for the Christmas holiday. Follow along as Maria and her family prepare their traditional tamale meal. Everything is going perfectly until something priceless gets lost! Could it be in the tamale dough?
Fry Bread A Native American Family Story
By Kevin Noble Maillard
Written in beautiful prose, this children’s book showcases a modern Native American family. Whether you are celebrating the fry bread your family enjoys or teaching your child about another culture’s staple food, this book is sure to be enjoyed by children of all ages. When you finish reading, try making fry bread with your family!
Thank You, Omu!
By Oge Mora
A book that shows us all the power of food! Omu has just prepared the most delicious stew but when her neighbors smell it, they come knocking! Omu is so kind to share but will she have enough for herself? The story of generous Omu and her neighborhood will be one you want to read again and again. Children of all ages will enjoy the story and incredible illustrations!
BONUS HOLIDAY BOOK: A World of Cookies for Santa
By M.E. Furman
Travel across the globe and learn about Christmas traditions from many different countries. Middle to late elementary readers will learn about the cookies, Santa traditions, and languages from around the world. Hungry to try a new cookie? You’re in luck! There are recipes for all the cookies in the back of the book.
Love this list, what a great idea to pull together! We bought Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie and Fry Bread this fall and have loved reading them with our 3 girls. I can’t wait to purchase more from this list to grow our library!