Getting Started: With Laughter and a Perspective Flip

How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller and illustrated by Hatem Aly

This clever story offers a perspective flip that will have readers of all ages chuckling. Matilda Macaroni is a curious eater, but much to her frustration, her parents are terribly picky. Matilda is persistent and doesn’t let her parents’ limited palates prevent her from learning to cook and taste new foods. The food descriptions are great, the illustrations of the parents’ faces as they reject foods are very entertaining, and there’s a quiche recipe in the back. Start a list of all the foods this picture book inspires your family to make!

Great Resources

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs from America’s Test Kitchen

With 100 recipes and loads of helpful tips for getting started in the kitchen, reading recipes, food safety, measuring ingredients, and more, this is a solid resource for encouraging kids in the kitchen. Info-packed sidebars address “why you wash quinoa” and “cooking two [quesadillas] in a pan,” and “make it your way” blurbs offer suggestions on how to change up the flavors of a recipe. Photos of the finished dishes and some of the process, along with quotes from kids who have sampled the recipes, will appeal to young readers. The “Cooking for You” chapter features sandwiches, soups and quick fixes for lunch or dinner on your own. The “Cooking for Family and Friends” chapter includes recipes to enjoy with others. Sheet Pan Pizza, Tomato and Peach Salad, Crispy Veggie Burgers, and Rice and Bean Bowls with Avocado Crema are on our list to make soon.

Plant, Cook, Eat! A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer and Caroline Craig

This book connects the garden and the kitchen, featuring how-to-plant info with recipes for cooking what you grow. From answering questions like “how do peas climb?” to explaining what a “cut and come again” crop is, this engaging book is packed with tips and practical information, as well as plenty of photos of kids in the garden and the kitchen. The recipes feature the starring garden ingredients in resourceful and inventive ways, with dishes like Carrot Scramble, Kale Pesto Pasta, and Bean and Bacon Spaghetti.

International Flavor

Cooking Class Global Feast! 44 Recipes that Celebrate the World’s Cultures by Deanna F. Cook

This cookbook features recipes from around the world, great background information, and short profiles of kids who cook. It’s full of engaging step-by-step photos of kids in the kitchen making appealing, approachable recipes. Coconut bread from Tonga, Greek Salad, Caprese Salad from Italy, Sweet Potato Cookies from Zimbabwe, Brigadeiros (chocolate truffles) from Brazil and Sticky Rice with Mango from Thailand are a few of the recipes my family has made and enjoyed so far. Fun ideas like a Global Sundae Party, with toppings and flavors from around the world, and a Veggie Global Taste Test pack this book with inviting ideas.

What’s on Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart and illustrated by Christiane Engel

This book offers recipes from 14 different countries, along with history, geography, agriculture, and fun facts. Each spotlighted country features a map showing the foods that commonly grow there. Pad Thai from Thailand, Miso Soup from Japan, and Zesty Carrot-Orange Salad from Morocco are a few examples of recipes. This book makes it clear that food is a great way to learn about people and cultures from all over the world.

What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street by Felicita Sala

This picture book takes the reader on a journey through an apartment building, as the residents each prepare a dish to bring to a potluck. Each spread includes a simple recipe and gives a glimpse into another world or culture: Coconut Dahl from Mister Singh, Black Bean Soup from Señora Flores, Little Trees (Sesame Soy Broccoli) from Mister Ping. This book has captivated my young son, who asks to read it on repeat. The recipes have no more than 10 ingredients and each one is illustrated with the ingredients and quantities needed. Whimsical and creative, this story highlights the pleasures of cooking for and gathering with friends and neighbors around a table

Lemonade and More

The Lemonade Stand Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

This book has everything you need to plan an A+ lemonade stand (when the timing is right!). With helpful step-by-step illustrations and photos and quotes from kids who’ve made and tasted the recipes, this collection includes lemonades and drinks, as well as sweet treats, snacks and crafts. My daughter loves this book and has made an extensive list of all the recipes she wants to try. So far we’ve made Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon Agua Fresca, Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Polka Dot Blondies, and Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops (these were a huge hit!).

Kate Rowe loves picture books, reading, gardening, cooking, and talking about all of these things! She shares picture book recommendations paired with food adventures @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. She is a writer, editor, and parent of two young book-loving garden helpers.