…Read Any GOOD BOOKS Lately

by Ricardo Castillo

Good nutrition habits can come from many places—including from an aardvark.  To be fair, however, this is no ordinary aardvark but the beloved star of the children’s book series and the now 20-year-old Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning PBS Kids series “Arthur.”  Entertaining and educational, Arthur and his friends have taken on a variety of important topics, and Arthur’s part of the PBS Kids’ website includes a section on family health that has a list of books where children can learn more about eating right and even about cooking.  So, in honor of our nutrition issue and “Arthur’s” 20th anniversary, we have selected 10 of these books to highlight in this month’s school library.  To view the full reading list, visit http://pbskids.org/arthur/health/nutrition/resources.html

by Marc Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0316110488

Arthur’s little sister, D.W., has a long list of foods that she doesn’t like.  “I don’t eat anything with eyes, or pickles, tomatoes, mush-rooms, eggplant, pineapple, parsnips and cauliflower.  Well…and maybe a few other things.”  Soon, D.W.’s picky eating habits lead to her sneaking her Hawaiian shrimp to the family dog during dinner and telling her father that the sandwich he made her accidentally fell in the dirt.  When she flings her salad, it looks like her dining out days are over.  Will her attitude towards food and her table manners improve in time for Grandma Thora’s special night out?


by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Publisher: Random House Books
ISBN-13: 978-0394872179

For the Bear family, Bear Country is a happy, healthy place with plenty of good foods like fruits, milk and vegetables.  Unfortunately, Brother and Sister Bear don’t like to snack on any of those things, preferring junk food like potato chips, popcorn and candy.  Although Mama Bear didn’t pay much attention to their snacking at first, she began to notice that “any-time was snack time” for her cubs.  And that’s not all.  Soon, she learns that Papa Bear is also eating too much junk food and decides that her family needs to change their eating habits—whether they like it or not. 


by Dr. Alvin Silverstein
Publisher: Children's Press(CT) 
ISBN-13: 978-0531165072

Nutrition can be a complicated subject, but this book, which is written for eight- to 11-year old, explains the importance of eating healthy in simple, straightforward terms.  Topics discussed include what is in different types of food, how the human body uses food and what is the right and the wrong amount of food to eat.  This book also includes a glossary that covers a wide-variety of health-related terms like carbohydrate, blood vessel, nutrient, small intestine and vegetarian, as well as a list of other books and websites where children can continue to broaden their knowledge about health and good nutrition.


by Lois Ehlert
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0152325800

This colorful picture book walks the reader step by step through not only how to make vegetable soup but also how to grow its ingredients.  Objects such as a seed package, a rake and a shovel are all clearly labeled to help children with their vocabulary.  The names of plants including pepper, tomato, cabbage, green bean, broccoli, zucchini squash, potato and carrot are also shown, and the book illustrates simple scientific facts such as sunlight helps plants grow.  The recipe itself while still requiring adult supervision is simple enough that a child can assist in making delicious, healthy vegetable soup.

by Lizzy Rockwell Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0064451741

Written especially for kids, this practical, hands-on guide to children’s nutrition explains everything from carrots to cookies.  In this book children learn about the nutrient groups—carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals—as well as about topics like which foods contain which nutrients, each nutrient’s function, how much of each nutrient children need everyday and how the body digests food.  It also includes kid-friendly recipes such as Alphabread and Full ‘o Beans Soup and even shows children how to test their food for fat.  “Good Enough to Eat” is recommended as a useful tool for parents, educators, librarians and doctors.


by Natasha Wing
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0689805301

Monday is International Day at Pablo’s school, and he’s not sure what to do.  “My teacher told us to bring something from our culture,” he explains.  But Pablo has two different cultures in his background: his mother is Mexican, and his father is Jewish.  Fortunately, his mother has the perfect solution: he can bring something from their bakery.  Told in first-person, this book introduces children to a variety of international foods including pan dulce (sweet bread), empanadas de calabaza (pumpkin turnovers), challah (braided bread prepared especially for the Jewish Sabbath) and lox (smoked, thinly-sliced salmon).  Includes both a Spanish and a Yiddish glossary.


by Edward Miller
Publisher: Holiday House
ISBN-13: 978-0823421398

This informative and lively book tells children how to pick the most nourishing food and get into wholesome habits while at the same time avoiding unhealthy ones.  Concise discussions of each food group and the newly redesigned food pyramid, along with vivid illustrations, clearly explain why some foods are good for you and why others should be saved for special occasions.  Beyond nutrition, this guide also includes sections on exercise, drugs and self-esteem.  Filled with sensible advice, this book is designed to arm youngsters with the knowledge they need to work toward healthy lifestyles and feel physically, mentally and emotionally terrific. 


by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova
ISBN-13: 978-0153143250

Mama Provi lives on the first floor of an apartment building, and her granddaughter, Lucy, lives on the eighth floor.  When Lucy has the chicken pox, Mama Provi decides to make a trip upstairs with a pot of her tasty arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). But on her way up, she meets a neighbor on every floor, and soon, her rice with chicken is joined by Mrs. Landers’ crusty white bread, Señor Rivera's frijoles negros (black beans), Mrs. Woo's tea and still more until by the time she arrives at Lucy's door, Mama Provi has with her a tremendous feast!


by Eric Carle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0887082757

It’s very early in the morning, and Jack is so hungry that what he really wants is a large pancake for breakfast.  But first, Jack’s mother needs flour from the mill, which means Jack is going to need to take a sickle, cut wheat and have the miller grind it into flour. But that’s only the first of the tasks Jack must perform to get his large pancake.  His mother still needs an egg from the black hen, milk from the spotted cow and butter churned from the fresh cream.  Will it ever be time for breakfast and that large pancake?


by Mollie Katzen
Publisher: Tricycle Press
ISBN-13: 978-1582461410

Welcome to the delicious world of “Salad People” where children as young as three and as old as seven can roll up their sleeves and (with an adult’s assistance) cook real food.  Recipes are all child-tested and include Counting Soup, Tiny Tacos, Chewy Energy Circles, Rain-bow-Raisin Cold Slaw, Focaccia, Sweet Potato Surprise, Corny Corn Cakes, Sunrise Lemonade, Miso-almond Dipping Sauce, Mango-honey Lassi, Egg Salad, Broccoli-cheese Quiche and Polka Dot Rice.  Information about conversions for both measuring dry and liquid ingredients, as well as basics about oven temperatures and common cooking terms is also included at the beginning of the book.