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We are so excited to share with you these books about food and bodies that make great presents for kids. If you haven't already, check out our New Gift Guide for Adults.
These books are free of diet culture. This list includes several books that provide children with exciting adventures about food, without the negative messages of diet culture. Children need to learn about food and nutrition in developmentally appropriate ways and these books provide just that. We also love these positive body books that focus on body diversity.
Positive Food and Body Books for Children and Teens:
1. A Body Image Workbook for Every Body: A Guide for Deconstructing Diet Culture and Learning How to Nourish, Respect and Care for Your Whole Self by Mimi Cole and Rachel Sellers
This workbook is written with teens and young adults in mind. It offers to educate about the many systems in place that affect body image and provides tangible activities to support positive body image and prevent eating disorders. Check out the Sunny Side Up Nutrition Podcast episode with the co-author of this workbook, Mimi Cole.
2. Some Bodies by Sophie Kennen and Illustrated by Airin O’Callaghan (Recommended Age 5-8)
This brand-new book is fantastic if you are looking for a body-positive children’s book. You will love the beautiful, playful illustrations that ask us to celebrate the differences in our size, hair, size, skin, and abilities. This book celebrates the diversity of bodies and includes conversation starters for adults at the back of the book.
3. Kalamata’s Kitchen by Sarah Thomas, Derek Wallace, and Jo Kosmides Edwards (Recommended Age 4-8)
This picture book will not disappoint. Kalamata and her alligator friend, Al Dente, take a magical journey from her kitchen into a spice market that she visited last summer, and discover how to be brave in new situations. This book draws the parallels between exploring new foods and exploring new situations. Food and emotions can be a vehicle for many lessons! We will point out that there is an intro page asking children to pledge to try new foods, we would recommend skipping that page or putting a bookplate with the child's name over it!
4. Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders (Recommended Age 4-12)
This book, written for children who identify as girls, celebrates the diversity of bodies and encourages readers to appreciate their uniqueness. This book strives to give kids the tools to navigate our image-focused world and discusses bodies growing during puberty. It reads, "You will take up more space! and that's OK!" We can see this book being used in different ways over time. As kids who identify as girls grow up, they can return to the book over and over again.
5. Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai (Recommended Age 6-8 years old)
This adorable book follows Lili around Nai Nai's, her grandmother's, apartment building. She first goes to Babcia's apartment to get cabbage to steam Nai Nai's boa. When she's there she learns Babcia needs potatoes for her pierogis. Lili travels from one grandmother's apartment to the next, getting ingredients that other grandmothers need for their special dumplings. This book celebrates the commonalities between food cultures. One of our favorite parts of this book is the book liners that have adorable drawings of all of the grandmothers' dumplings - bao, pierogis, tamales, ravioli, meat pies, and fatayars. There's even a boa recipe at the end of the book!
Are you looking for more gift ideas?
Check out our past gift guides:
- Our Favorite Kitchen Essentials
- Holiday Gift Guide 2021
- Our 2020 Gift Guide: 7 Favorite Food-Related Gifts
- Our Favorite Cookbooks from 2019
- Our Favorite Food and Body Books from 2019
- Our Favorite Books for Children and People Who Care For Them from 2019
Would you like to purchase from your favorite independent bookstore?
We love independent bookstores and want to support them. Check out this link to find bookstores near you.
To the readers of Sunny Side Up Nutrition:
I love the line about taking up more space as you get older.
And Kalamata and Al Dente are two of my favourite ways of preparing things.
[there are all kinds of olives to name children and animals after - and that is a consideration].
The Dumpling Discovery is wonderful. It reminds me of the time I ate pirogi for the first time as an adult at a Circus Oz tent.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us!