Kids Cooking: Students Prepare and Eat Foods from Around the World by George Ancona

Kids Cooking: Students Prepare and Eat Foods from Around the World 
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Kids Cooking: Students Prepare and Eat Foods from Around the World is a stellar non-fiction picture book that follows students as they learn to make a dish from another country while also learning about that country, the ingredients and their origins and all the other great things that you learn when you cook, from math to chemistry to art to geography and, best of all, collaboration. Ancona starts his book, "Today is cooking day! There are many smiles as the kids head to the kitchen." Photographs of very happy looking kids walking in line accompany this text. Students make dishes from Morocco, China, Italy and Mexico and all recipes, while not included in the book, can be found on this printable PDF.
The simple text is wonderful, walking readers through the learning, cooking and eating. Ancona includes a phrase from each country that shows readers how to say, "Enjoy your meal," in four different languages - I just wish that phonetic pronunciation was included as well. Photographs are accompanied by drawings by students throughout the book.
As I was reading this book and wondering what kind of school has kitchen facilities where kids can learn how to cook (and, to be honest, crying just a little because I know how profoundly valuable this experience is and also how impossible it would be to make even remotely like this happen in the public school district where I work) I flipped to the back of the book where I learned that Ancona visited six different schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico where Cooking with Kids operates. This AMAZING non-profit organization educates and empowers children and families to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods. It was started in 1995 and they serve over 5,000 kids a year, sending their educators and SuperChef volunteers into classrooms! Cooking with Kids also helps school cafeterias use local food, cook from scratch, and successfully introduce new foods (SO HARD) to the lunchroom with the help of local chefs and farmers! Not enough exclamation points to express how amazing I think this is. There will always be more at-risk kids who can benefit from this amazing program and you can donate to this non-profit here.

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