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This week, Food Tank is highlighting our new list of 20 books for kids that celebrate food, agriculture, and the diversity of the food system.
Some of these books, like “Anansi And The Golden Pot,” reimagine traditional folktales. Others, like “Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama,” tell adventurous stories that introduce young readers to issues adult advocates are thinking about, too. Plus, some of the books are just beautiful, like the hand-cut collage illustrations that Carin Berger created for “In the Night Garden.”
Spotlighting kids’ books like these is central to the goal of strengthening youth voices and empowering advocates of all ages, because building food literacy from a young age is truly transformative.
Sometimes, I encounter the perspective that “youthful optimism is just naivete”—and that view couldn’t be more misguided.
Young folks are well aware of the challenges we face. They know that transforming the world means making waves—and they aren’t afraid to do so.
I’m so inspired by youth advocates who resist falling into hopelessness and despair, because they are armed with knowledge and authentic stories of a better, kinder, more sustainable food system. We would all do well to learn from them.
So let’s show our kids what’s important. Let’s help them experience the fulfillment of fighting for a better world, and let’s introduce them to positive young role models in the food system.
Let’s share these stories with young people in our lives so we, too, won’t lose sight of the optimism, joyfulness, and inspiration we can find in food!
Our list includes books written by authors including: Taiye Selasi, Brian Selznick, Donna L. Washington, Jennie Romer, Toni Buzzeo, Mia Wenjen, Loree Griffin Burns, Angela Dominguez, Carin Berger, David L. Harrison, Adam Mansbach, Camila Alves McConaughey, Elizabeth Lilly, Andrea Wang, Jordan Scott, Anne Wynter, Cheryl Yau Chepusova, Patricia Tanumihardja, Lenny Wen, Linda Meeker, and Aaron Becker.
The books on this list would make great last-minute holiday gifts, and I encourage you to get creative, too: Maybe your family could set a New Year’s resolution to all together learn more about the food system, for example. There are so many ways to get started.
And nobody’s too young to make a difference! Through a meal, through conversations, and through reading and cooking.
Speaking of cooking, I hope you’ll also take a look at our list of incredible global cookbooks, by authors including Ravinder Bhogal; Maya Feller; Klancy Miller; Rahanna Bisseret Martinez; Valentine Thomas; Imad Alarnab; Toni Tipton-Martin; Sandra A. Gutierrez; Send Chinatown Love; Rose Previte and Marah Stets; Yewande Komolafe; Margaret Li and Irene Li; Leah Koenig; Dave White; Trine Hahnemann; Nasim Alikhani and Theresa Gambacorta; Dale Gray; Pierre Thiam and Lisa Katayama; Sohla El-Waylly; Erika Council; Maunika Gowardhan; Kimbal Musk; Andi Oliver; José Andrés and Sam-Chapple-Sokol; and Nik Sharma.
There are some great recipes in these books for cooks of all ages!
Another quick note: Our work at Food Tank is powered by our global community of members! Joining Food Tank or upgrading your membership is a direct way to demonstrate a commitment to transforming the food system, and I’m grateful beyond words for the support from Food Tankers around the globe. I hope you’ll take a look at some options to join us HERE.
As the year winds down, what are you hoping to see in the new year? What should we keep an eye on here at Food Tank, and what big strides are you counting on from policymakers, business leaders, and others? Keep me in the loop at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll see you next week.
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Photo courtesy of Paige Cody, Unsplash