Here’s Cooking with You, Kid

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If you’re looking for a fun way to delve into cooking and explore other cultures through food, check out the following books that include recipes from around the world. Not only will these books teach children how to help pitch in at meal time, they can teach them emotional skills as well.

In Octopus Stew, a brave boy rescues his grandmother using creativity and quick-thinking. Yasmin the Chef and Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao highlight the value of persistence. Yasmin can’t come up with a recipe of her own and is frustrated by what the adults are making. She asks, “Why does Pakistani food have to be so spicy or sour or messy?” but is struck by an idea to make kebabs. Amy also works through challenges when she struggles to make the perfect bao. With her family’s help, she tries again and again until she gets it just right! (But it turns out that the less-than-perfect bao are just as tasty.)

Sharing books featuring food children have not encountered before can be a great way to get them to try something new. Bilal introduces his friends to daal in Bilal Cooks Daal, but initially they whisper that the meal smells funny. After more and more neighborhood friends join them in waiting for the daal to finish cooking, excitement about trying it is at an all-time high and everyone agrees it’s delicious!

Cooking together and reading about others cooking is an entertaining approach to learning about history and culture as well. In Freedom Soup, a girl and her grandmother celebrate Haitian independence in their kitchen while singing and creating a rich, pumpkin-filled soup. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is an ode to survival, community, and Native American ingenuity.

Happy cooking!

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Amy is determined to make a perfect dumpling like her parents and grandmother do, but hers are always too empty, too full, or not pinched together properly.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

Octopus Stew

What do you do when an octopus captures Grandma? Put on your superhero cape and rescue her! Two stories in one from award-winning Afro-Latino artist Eric Velasquez. The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. “¡Tenga cuidado!” Ramsey shouts. “Be careful!” But it’s too late. The octopus traps Grandma! Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his beloved abuela.

Yasmin the Chef

Yasmin loves hosting parties! Music, friends, fun! But what she doesn’t love is the spicy food her Pakistani family serves. Yasmin puts on her chef hat and plans to make her own amazing, fantastic recipe…as soon as she figures out what that is!