Foodwise lists

Gathering with friends and family over festive meals can be a hallmark of the holiday season — and a pleasure at any time of the year. Here are a series of mini-booklists that approach food from a variety of perspectives. Find more related books and articles from here and here; or click the Food and Food Relief subject tags in the Horn Book Guide/Reviews Database

Food, Friends, and Family  

Meatballs for Grandpa
by Jeanette Fazzari Jones, illus. by Jaclyn Sinquett 
40 pp.    Amazon/Two Lions    3/24 

Felicia, a white Italian American girl, and Grandma lovingly perform their usual ritual of cooking meatballs and sauce for Grandpa — who has memory loss — with his assistance, but there’s more at stake than getting the dish right since Felicia always hopes that the bonding experience and familiar sensory delights will jog Grandpa’s memory. 

Empanadas for Everyone
by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illus. by Lenny Wen 
40 pp.    Simon    8/23 

Every Saturday, Carina looks forward to frying empanadas with her aunt, but this weekend Tía Mimi is volunteering at the local Community Meal Center, so Carina turns to diverse neighborhood friends — whose own cultural dishes bear similarities to empanadas — to help her prepare the pastries and take them to the hungry Meal Center volunteers.  

Dim Sum Here We Come
by Maple Lam, illus. by the author 
32 pp.    HarperCollins    10/23 

Experience the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and customs of a traditional dim sum meal in this upbeat picture book describing an extended Asian family’s weekly restaurant outing; front endpapers feature an infographic of typical dim sum dishes. 

Anni Dreams of Biryani
by Namita Moolani Mehra, illus. by Chaaya Prabhat  
40 pp.    Amazon/Two Lions    9/22 

Neighborhood curmudgeon, Mr. Arif, is an expert at cooking biryani (a mixed rice dish of South Asian provenance), so Anni — a South Asian girl who loves the dish and regularly prepares it for her mother and grandmother — attempts to uncover his secret recipe, an endeavor as difficult as squeezing blood from a stone…until an unexpected development changes her luck. 

Food Assistance 

A Plate of Hope: The Inspiring Story of Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen
by Erin Frankel, illus. by Paola Escobar 
48 pp.    Random/Random House Studio    2/24 

This picture-book biography of renowned Nobel Peace Prize–nominated culinarian José Ramón Andrés Puerta, founder of the food aid nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, illustrates how his lifelong intimate, edifying relationship with food fuels his desire to feed the human hunger for hope and positive transformation, and propels his unrelenting global efforts to provide food relief in humanitarian crises. Concurrently published in Spanish as Un plato de esperanza.  

José Feeds the World: How a Famous Chef Feeds Millions of People in Need Around the World
by David Unger, illus. by Marta Álvarez Miguéns 
40 pp.    Sourcebooks/duopress    1/24 

From the cocina of his childhood home to the frontlines of international post-disaster food and nutrition assistance, the life of Nobel Peace Prize–nominated Spanish American chef, restaurateur, prominent anti-hunger advocate, and World Central Kitchen founder José Ramón Andrés Puerta unfolds in this picture-book biography with valuable lessons about innovative problem-solving, building local capacities in catastrophe zones, and learning to ask for help.  


by Sidura Ludwig, illus. by Sophia Vincent Guy 
40 pp.    Candlewick    5/24 

A white Jewish girl and her mother bake challah and share it with loved ones at their weekly Shabbat gathering in this gently buoyant picture book that elevates the value of patience, rest, tradition, gratitude, community, and spiritual nourishment.  

The Only Way to Make Bread
by Cristina Quintero, illus. by Sarah Gonzales 
40 pp.    Tundra    10/23 

Foregrounding the intriguing paradox that what is specific is universal, this ode to breadmaking celebrates eleven traditional breads from around the world and looks at how diverse cultures prepare and consume the staff of life; a picture book sure to be savored by young paniphiles. 

Cooking with STEAM 

Tricky Chopsticks
by Sylvia Chen; illus. by Fanny Liem 
40 pp.    Atheneum    3/24 

Jenny, a Chinese American girl, is clueless when it comes to eating with chopsticks, a skill that everyone else in her family has mastered. With some experimental tinkering — she reengineers the utensil — and critical thinking, she just might be able to level up in time for her family’s annual chopsticks challenge, scheduled to unfold at her cousin’s approaching birthday banquet. 

Yumbo Gumbo
by Keila V. Dawson, illus. by Katie Crumpton 
32 pp.    Charlesbridge    2/24 

Annabelle and her brother, Beau, Louisiana Creole kids, are getting their first cooking lesson in making gumbo from their grandparents. When the family doesn’t agree on which type of gumbo they should prepare, Annabelle puts her data reasoning and problem-solving skills to work to end the impasse. 

The Fabulous Fannie Farmer: Kitchen Scientist and America’s Cook
by Emma Bland Smith, illus. by Susan Reagan 
40 pp.    Charlesbridge    1/24 

In this picture-book biography, Smith provides a window into the life of Fannie Farmer (1857-1915), a white American culinary expert, domestic scientist, and cookbook author who pioneered the standardization of measurements in recipes in the USA and advocated scientific cookery in an era when conventional thinking held that good cooks rely on “feminine instincts” and never measure anything. 

Food History 

Tasty: A History of Yummy Experiments
by Victoria Grace Elliott, illus. by the author 
240 pp.    Random/RH Graphic    12/23 

In this quirky, highly illustrated middle-grade graphic novel complete with trivia, fictitious interviews with influential figures, recipes, and science connections, a frolic of self-styled food sprites take readers on a tour of the culinary history of some of the world’s popular eats, revealing the innovative beginnings of such crowd favorites as pizza, soda, instant ramen, and more.  

Summer Edward

Horn Book Consulting Editor Summer Edward is a Trinidadian American author, children’s book editor, educator, K-12 literacy specialist, Caribbean children’s and YA literature advocate, and commentator on books for young readers. She holds an M.S.Ed. degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and founded Anansesem, an online magazine that for 10 years covered Caribbean children’s and YA literature. She has written for Kirkus ReviewsSchool Library JournalThe Horn BookWOW Stories: Connections from the ClassroomLiteracy Dailysx salon, KidLit TV, the Commonwealth Education Trust, Social Justice Books, and more. Learn more about her work at

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