This post may sound similar to one I had posted previously about cookbooks for kids, but now I’m talking only about middle grade novels that center around food. Again, this list was compiled as I researched for my next middle grade manuscript and I have to say, this has been some delicious and taste-bud-delighting research. So below are a few of my favorites from this mouth-watering venture:
Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte & Ann Xu
First of all, what better way to make a book about food than to do it in graphic novel form. The visuals were amazing, and I loved how the ingredients were drawn out for some of the dishes. I also loved the crossover between Taiwanese food and Julia Child’s food, all while adjusting to the United States. Lastly, I thought the author and illustrator did a wonderful job of subtly addressing the comments and opinions one inevitably receives when immigrating to a new country.
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
This story took a different approach and focused on the main character wanting to be a food critic instead of a chef. I loved the kooky parents who just wanted their kid to eat fast food and mystery meals, and was happy when they finally started to really listen to her. The story also focuses on budding friendships, stealthy plans that inevitably go awry, and of course, food. There are plenty of mouth-watering descriptions, so have some snacks handy (though they will not satisfy you compared to the dishes you’re reading about).
Next Best Junior Chef by Charise Mericle Harper
If you’re a fan of “Chopped Junior” on Food Network, this series is right up your alley. The story follows four very talented young chefs as they cook their way through challenges, try to stay cool in the spotlight, and learn about friendship. The reader is able to see the behind-the-scenes routines of a cooking show, and of course, there are so many tasty food ideas to try and make at home. Not gonna lie, some of the ideas the kid characters came up with would put me to shame real quick.
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
This story really only focuses on two dishes, but both dishes are described so thoroughly, your mouth is watering for Italian by the end. Also, it has lots of laughs and a focus on friendship. It’s a quick read and perfect for kids who want something longer than a chapter book but shorter than a typical middle grade novel.
Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
If you are a fan of Shakespeare and food, this book is perfect for you! But even if you could never get into Shakespeare (like myself), the twists and turns of the story will still keep you engaged. I think this is a great way to introduce kids to Shakespeare because the elements of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” are wrapped up so nicely in a modern story, you kinda forget you’re reading something based on one of his plays. And of course, I loved all the mouth-watering baked goods that were featured, and I very much appreciated the recipes in the back of the book.
Pie by Sarah Weeks
This is the perfect story for any kid who loves a good mystery or a tasty pie. Every chapter has a pie recipe that’s mentioned within the story, and the way each pie is described will leave you craving something sweet.
The Great Peach Experiment: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing
Another fantastic book focused on pies, but this time being sold out of a food truck. This story was less about pies, and more about traveling across the country as a family and growing back together after the mom has passed away. The characters were very well written, and I loved the children’s unique characteristics and personalities.
Blaire Cooks Up A Plan by Jennifer Castle
This was a wonderful book that highlighted farm-to-table cooking, lactose intolerance, and food insecurity. I love that it had a few recipes in the back and that one focus was that veggies could be delicious if cooked in new and fun ways.
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
A moving story by Margaret Dilloway about family, community, addiction, and a sense of belonging. I obviously loved all the pie-making and the included recipes in the back of the book.