Favorite Foods: Books for Young Children

These books for young children celebrate delicious foods from many cultures and the important role children can play in helping to grow, prepare, and share their food. From family celebrations to finally being big enough to stir a big pot, children will recognize the familiar rituals and activities related to meals and their favorite foods!

Related activities

For related activity ideas, see the following:

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6
Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she's not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can't resist a nibble? In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon. A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book.

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic

By: Ginnie Lo
Illustrated by: Beth Lo
Age Level: 3-6

While on a visit to her aunt and uncle in Illinois, the narrator and her family unexpectedly find a field of growing soybeans which begins a 40 year tradition. Based on the author's experiences, text and child-like illustrations reveal a caring, surprisingly modern family story from times past.

Bean Soup

Illustrated by: Rafael Yockteng
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: This delightful poem teaches readers young and old how to make a heartwarming, tummy-filling black bean soup, from gathering the beans, onions, and garlic to taking little pebbles out of the beans to letting them simmer till the luscious smell indicates it's time for supper. Jorge Argueta's vivid poetic voice and Rafael Yockteng's vibrant illustrations make preparing this healthy and delicious Latino favorite an exciting, almost magical experience.

Bee-Bim Bop!

Illustrated by: Ho Baek Lee
Age Level: 3-6

What's better than just eating a favorite dish? Anticipating it while preparing it, of course! Rhythmic, rhyming language and playful illustrations capture the joy of making this special Korean dish — and the joy of sharing it.
Country of origin: Korea
 

Cora Cooks Pancit

Illustrated by: Kristi Valiant
Age Level: 6-9

Cora wants to learn how to cook, but she's too young to do the jobs her older siblings do. One day, however, after the older kids have all gone out together, Cora asks her mother what they can cook together. To her surprise, Cora's mother asks her what she would like to make, and Cora chooses her favorite Filipino noodle dish, pancit. This family story about the importance of sharing tradition is brought to life by Kristi Valiant's charming illustrations and includes a bilingual glossary of Tagalog words.

Feast for Ten

Age Level: 0-3

From one shopping cart to ten helping hands, the family shops, cooks, and then together shares a festive meal. Rhyming text and crisp illustrations show a warm extended family that brings joy to everyday activities.

Fortune Cookie Fortunes

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

The family's meal finishes with fortune cookies, the daughters' favorite part of eating out! They share their fortunes as their engaging look at the world shines through in the simple narration and boldly colored, entertaining illustrations.

Hungry Johnny

Illustrated by: Wesley Ballinger
Age Level: 3-6

"I like to eat, eat, eat," choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls — what a feast! Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he'll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food. But Johnny has a few more things to do before he can eat. As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table — and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

Let's Eat!/¡A comer!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Maribel Suarez
Age Level: 3-6

A Hispanic family's preparation for dinner is presented in easy words in both Spanish and English. Warm illustrations depict an affectionate family enjoying their daily routine. This is the first book in Pat Mora's My Family/Mi Familia series, a four-book collection of easy-read bilingual books.

Maggie's Chopsticks

Illustrated by: Isabelle Malenfant
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Poor Maggie struggles to master her chopsticks — it seems nearly everyone around the dinner table has something to say about the "right" way to hold them! But when Father reminds her not to worry about everyone else, Maggie finally gets a grip on an important lesson.

Mice and Beans

Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6

As Rosa Maria prepares for the family celebration of her granddaughter’s birthday, she gets unexpected help from the mice who live in the house. Spanish words are integrated into the joyful text and reflected in the energetic, vibrant illustrations.

Rainbow Stew

Age Level: 3-6

The children are distressed that it's raining while visiting their grandfather. But Grandpa has the children don rain gear to "find colors for garden stew." Vegetables collected, the family makes and eats a delicious stew. Joy-filled illustrations accompany the rhythmic text.

Seven Cookies

Illustrated by: Ana Ochoa
Age Level: 3-6

A Mexican American girl and her grandfather have just finished baking cookies, and everyone in the family wants one. Follow along as the girl shares the cookies one by one! Spanish version available. A lesson plan is included on the Lee and Low website.

Soup Day

Age Level: 0-3

A mother and her child get the ingredients for soup on a snowy day and then add everything to the pot. The pair plays snug and warm while the soup simmers until Dad comes home when they enjoy soup together. Crisp collage and a simple text make for a cozy read.

Thank You, Omu

By: Oge Mora
Age Level: 6-9

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6

Start with a farm maiden and a pot, invite some friends to help her, and before you know it, you have arroz con leche — and a rollicking party! Told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," this lively story incorporates new Spanish words into each refrain, which are highlighted by Rafael López's vibrant and entertaining illustrations. Activity guide available.

The Empanadas That Abuela Made

Illustrated by: Alex Pardo DeLange
Age Level: 3-6

Product description: Baking is always a treat, particularly when you throw family and fun into the mix. In this whimsical look at the making of empanadas, popular children's author Gonzales Bertrand serves up the festive fun of a family's effort to concoct the delicious pastries with humorous cooks and family: Abuela, Abuelo, the cousins, aunts, uncles, and even the family dog join the parade of fluttering flour and swirling sugar. Alex Pardo de Lange fills the pages with offbeat illustrations of blankets of dough and dancing rolling pins. Bilingual text.

The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story

Illustrated by: Amy Cordova
Age Level: 3-6

Jade's village is running out of water. When a small blue hummingbird tells Jade that she most go to the Mountain Spirit to ask for rain, she is afraid to make the journey alone — but she knows that it may be her village's only hope. Based on an ancient Mexican legend, Rudolf Anaya has created a memorable story to introduce young readers to the importance of corn — and tortillas — as Mexican food staples.

The Ugly Vegetables

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

In a neighborhood of flower gardens, a Chinese-American girl and her mother plant what the child considers to be ugly vegetables. The ugly vegetables, however, become attractive and help build community when made into a delicious soup! A recipe is included.

We Eat Rice

Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

In this short book for beginning readers, a young Korean boy and girl share all of the different ways they like to eat rice, which are presented in colorful illustrations done by Grace Lin. A teacher's guide with early reading activities is available from the Lee and Low website. Also available in Spanish.

What Can You Do With a Paleta?

Illustrated by: Magaly Morales
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: As she strolls through her barrio, a young girl introduces readers to the frozen, fruit-flavored treat that thrills Mexican and Mexican-American children. Create a masterpiece, make tough choices (strawberry or coconut?), or cool off on a warm summer's day — there's so much to do with a paleta!

¡Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael López

Celebrate the native foods of the Americas — peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more — through haiku poetry and stunning artwork from award-winning illustrator Rafael López.