Media Reviews: Books Focused on Food and Family Appeal to Kids of All Ages

From sweet family tales to gut biomes to a biography of a ‘Top Chef’ contestant, there’s a lot of variety in these recommended titles from the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Julie Adams
On the Trapline

On the Trapline

By David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett

A young Cree boy and his grandfather, Moshom, make a special journey together to visit the family’s trapline, which is a place where people hunt and live off the land. Along the way, Moshom shares stories about his childhood, from swimming along the shore to picking berries and chopping wood. Each story is punctuated with a word in Swampy Cree and complemented by Flett’s muted, pastel illustrations. This lovely book highlights the importance of memory, family and community. FOR AGES 5-10

A Garden in Your Belly: Meet the Microbes in Your Gut

By Masha D’yans

This informational picture book explores the fascinating world of the human microbiome. With easy-to-understand language and whimsical watercolor illustrations, D’yans describes how tiny microorganisms living in our bodies protect our health, give us energy and even influence our emotions. Also included are suggestions on how to prevent “pollution” in our microbiome by eating healthy food, staying hydrated and getting lots of fresh air. Curious young minds will enjoy this accessible look into the mysterious world within. FOR AGES 7-11

Measuring Up

By Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu

LaMotte and Xu’s charming graphic novel tells the story of Cici, a young amateur chef who has just moved to Seattle from Taiwan. Desperate to find a way for her beloved grandmother to come visit, Cici enters a kids’ cooking competition with a cash prize large enough to cover the cost of the plane ticket. The contest forces Cici to push herself in ways she never anticipated, both by expanding her culinary horizons and honoring her Taiwanese roots. Meanwhile, Cici’s adjustment to life in the United States requires a similar balancing act. Readers will be inspired by Cici’s determination, authenticity and devotion to her family. FOR AGES 8-12

All You Knead Is Love

By Tanya Guerrero

When Alba’s parents send her to live with her grandmother in Barcelona, she feels discarded, angry and hopeless. Much to her surprise, however, she discovers a sense of belonging she has never experienced before. Especially therapeutic are her daily visits to a local bakery, where she learns the craft of artisan baking from its owner, Toni. With Toni’s help, Alba begins to regain trust in both herself and in others—a trust that was damaged from years of living with her abusive, alcoholic father. The question is: How long can this fragile stability last? Enticing descriptions of Spanish, Philippine and Chinese cuisine—and, of course, bread—add extra flavor to this heartfelt middle-grade novel. FOR AGES 8-12

Notes From a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults)

Notes From a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein

Originally published for an adult audience, this teen adaptation of Onwuachi’s inspiring memoir celebrates the power of creativity, entrepreneurship and originality. Growing up in the Bronx, Onwuachi demonstrated an early appreciation for the Creole and Nigerian food regularly prepared by his mother. Despite a rather tumultuous adolescence, Onwuachi eventually found his calling in the restaurant industry. Showing impressive grit and determination, Onwuachi fought through many setbacks to become a nationally recognized chef. His detailed descriptions of not only the food itself but also the process of creating it will give readers a deeper appreciation of the culinary arts. FOR TEENS

Try This App

Pick Your Plate! A Global Guide to Nutrition

This simple and engaging app from the Smithsonian Institute challenges children to build healthy meals with food from all around the world. Players can select from a variety of countries, such Argentina, Finland and Cambodia, to learn about each country’s traditional dishes and to practice meal-planning. Earn a medal each time you meet nutritional goals! FOR AGES 7-12

Julie Adams is an information services specialist at the Hilltop branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.