Reading about food is one of the best ways to get little ones interested in actually eating and exploring food—without any pressure and all of the fun! These are my favorite toddler books about food, including board books for the little ones and longer books for older kids.
As we start to head into the holiday season, I thought I’d share some of our favorite food-related story books. My family has loved these books and I updated the list to include ones that are favorites in other families, too.
I love reading about food—and giving these books as gifts—since it can be a safe way to explore all sorts of food without there being any pressure what-so-ever on a kiddo to eat it.
And then when the child does actually see the food, you can talk about the story and they might be more willing to taste it without any pressure from you!
(You may also like my favorite Kids Cookbooks.
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Best Children’s Books
We love giving and receiving books—and then passing them on when we outgrow them. And while it’s always hard to know exactly what a friend or loved one may have in their library, having two of something is never a big deal to us—especially if it’s a book we love.
I’m including a mix of board books and longer books so you can pick from a range of options for your own kids or to gift to others.
Our very favorites include:
- Dim Sum for Everyone
- Baby Goes to Market
- Blueberries for Sal
- Food Play (my very visual kids cookbook!)
- Bee-Bim Bop
- Lailah’s Lunchbox
- Magic Ramen
- Frankie’s Favorite Food
- Fry Bread
- Our Little Kitchen
- Sandwiches and Samosas
- Cora Cooks Pancit
- Thank You Omu!
- Tomatoes for Neela
Body Positive and Inclusive Food Books
I did my best to include books that don’t include food shaming (though some of that is subjective) and that include a wide assortment of food experiences. Please read through any books before reading them with your child—whether you’re reading books from my list or any others—to be sure they talk about food in a positive way.
(For example, the Berenstein Bears are often talking about how terrible broccoli tastes, so we avoid that when we can since my kids actually like broccoli!)
Favorite Independent Book Stores
I put together a list of my favorite independent book stores and recommendations from my Instagram followers to help you find a local store to support. Find the full list here arranged by state for easy ordering!
Best Toddler Books: Board Books for Kids
These books about food for kids are perfect for 1, 2, and 3 year olds. They’re fun to read and fun to look at so the kids can enjoy them on their own as well as with an adult. All are priced below $10, unless noted.
1. Food Faces
A sweet board book with animal faces made from food—and a really great way to talk about food with zero pressure and all fun!
2. Yummy Yucky
A sweet little board book of yummy and yucky opposites.
This book is bright, colorful, and can help your little one learn the names of all sorts of produce.
These short books feature fun chants about fruits and veggies that your littles will love…and might possibly get stuck in your head!
5. Go Go Grapes
This is by the same author as Rah Rah Radishes and has a similar catchy cadence!
With animals and food, this is a board book all about trying new foods. The illustrations are so fun and it’s a great way to help the kids practice identifying foods they might not see often. Priced at under $15.
Who doesn’t love Llama Llama? So fun! And this short and sweet board book is even scratch and sniff!
I can practically recite this book for you, we’ve read it so many times. (“To market, to market, we are on our way…”). This is a fun read about going to the farmer’s market to pick up all sorts of fun foods. We like to pick out our favorite foods along the way.
We love these books by Amy Kraus Rosenthal and the set of board books is a wonderful gift. Priced at under $15.
We might have three copies of this one and my two year old loves her board book the best! Priced at under $15.
Same silly approach, new fun food!
This one is so fun to read and it’s been a favorite in our house since our oldest was a baby. The rhymes are fun to read and my kids always love it when the canoe goes over the waterfall. Definitely add this one to your collection if you don’t already have it.
Story Books About Food
For your older toddlers, toddlers with longer attention spans, and elementary-aged kids, these are our favorite longer books about food for kids. All are priced below $10, unless noted.
Amy Krauss Rosenthal is a favorite, and we love this book about a little spoon who’s upset about all the things he can’t do…and then realizes that he has special skills that other utensils envy. It’s sweet and fun to read.
This one is for older toddlers and preschoolers since it’s fairly long, but it’s such a sweet story about a girl on a bike in France and her adventures with a little bee friend. Priced at under $15.
15. Farm Anatomy
Even if you only flip through and look at all of the photos, this book is a beauty. We love looking at all of the farm animals and vegetables, and talking about what we like to eat (and don’t:). My oldest kiddo also likes to use it for drawing inspiration. Priced at under $15.
This has been a favorite in our house for a long time and it’s a nice reference point when L wants to eat the same thing over and over (and over).
Talk about food demands with the help of this silly story.
Food by food, this book traces back ingredients to their origins. It’s interesting, beautiful and it has nice tear-resistant pages that are incredibly durable.
19. Creepy Carrots
While the images are sort of spooky and dark, the story has such a fun ending that this is a joy to read to kids. (And it’s nice that the carrots get the last word:) Priced at under $15.
This might take top running in my house for favorite food related book. (We also love the related One Morning in Maine.)
21. What’s Cooking
With an engaging question and answer format and beautiful illustrations by our favorite Julia Rothman, this is a great book for kids who are curious. (That’s nearly all of them!) Priced at under $18.
If you don’t have this book, you need to get it for your kids. It’s so fun!. (And the sequel is great too!
This is a classic and it’s so fun to imagine a world that might be raining our favorite (and not so favorite) foods.
A dad and son duo wrote this book about a lobster who’s invited to a party. And you get to decide how you want the story to end!
A sweet story about a little girl who’s new to the US and has to navigate fasting for Ramandan in a school. It’s a great way to share how we can be respectful of each other’s cultures. Priced at under $20.
This story is about different sandwiches and how we can still be friends even when we like different things. (A good reminder for adults these days too.) Priced at under $15.
Told in verse, this book shares about the role of fry bread in Native American culture—and has really delightful illustrations. Priced at under $15.
28. Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuko Ando
This is the story of how ramen came to be—and it may just make you crave a big bowl right now! Priced at under $15.
This is the story of a neighborhood soup kitchen coming together to provide love and warm bellies. It’s sort of like an intro to graphic novels with the illustration styles and we love the diverse range of people and food included in the pages. Priced at under $20.
You know I had to include my kids cookbook here! It’s fun to look at and read together, and also to use in the kitchen.
The post was first published November 2020.