Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Good Food

Cooking Outside the Pizza Box - (ISBN: 978-0764124952)

by Jean Patterson Danae Campbell

Try this book for quick ideas for munchies and easy-to-prepare meals with teen-appeal. In addition to recipes for all meals, there are pointers to avoid mistakes. Vegetarians will also find plenty they’d like to eat. What would you include if you were going to write your own cook book?

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From? - (ISBN: 978-1403485816)

by Neil Morris

Reading this book will raise every adolescent’s awareness that French fries come from a vegetable grown in the ground, and that what people eat around the world depends not only on their culture but also on the geography around them. In addition to waking up members of the “fast food generation,” this book helps young people begin to make sensible and healthy choices when they get ready to eat. Did you get any ideas for healthy snacks from reading this book?

Farmer Boy - (ISBN: 978-0060885380)

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

For a bird’s eye view of how the pioneers raised food, harvested, cooked, and served it, try this choice from the Laura Ingalls Wilder House on the Prairie books. Other aspects of the hard work of farm life and the joys of togetherness have appealed to young readers for decades. What recipes from this book would you be unable to make today?

Fast Food Nation - (ISBN: 978-0060838584)

by Eric Schlosser

What’s wrong with fast food besides the fat, sugar, and cholesterol? This insider’s look at the way our food and meat are grown and prepared includes concern about the lack of safety and cleanliness measures under federal mandates. Of interest to the many teen workers who man the nation’s fast food counters, this expose reveals the dirt (and fecal matter) that reside on the food we buy without thinking at McDonald’s, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. How would Eric Schlosser explain the increasing chubbiness of the Japanese teen?

Girls Under Pressure - (ISBN: 978-0440229582)

by Jacqueline Wilson

Ellie decides to stop eating to lose weight, but when she meets a true anorexic, she has second thoughts. She feels she must keep up with other girls who, she feels, look better and slimmer. Reading along with her as she begins to accept her body type and personal style, readers experience a lighthearted questioning of the values today’s young women must face.

Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes - (ISBN: 978-0812971071)

by Shoba Narayan

A young woman examines the events of her childhood and young adult years and the role that food had in her day-to-day life. In India, feeding your children is a lifelong duty and compulsion, and this book has the inside track on how the society revolved around the foods being eaten as the writer grew up. The writer’s life with her family cannot be separated from the meals she ate with them, both special occasions or everyday meals. Enjoy the glimpse into another culture’s eating customs as you follow the writer into adulthood.

Squashed. - (ISBN: 978-0142404263)

by Joan Bauer

Ellie would like to lose weight, find a boyfriend, and become a writer. She focuses most of her energy, though, on growing the biggest pumpkin imaginable, hoping solutions to her other problems will fall into place. Her family encourages her pumpkin-growing and her dieting, but the number of obstacles she has to overcome to win the pumpkin contest makes for highly amusing reading. After reading this book, talk about what kind of personal strengths Ellie used to weather the worst of her challenges.

The Afterlife Diet - (ISBN: 978-0738804019)

by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

If you’re in the mood for something totally wacky, try Pinkwater’s version of fat camp in heaven! Pinkwater always has his own visions, and this plot-complex novel is no exception. It has rivals vying for power, flashbacks, a supporting cast of loonies, and literary agents reviewing and discarding (without reading) goofy but imaginative books. Try throwing some paint on a huge sheet of butcher paper to create your response and interpretation of this unusual read!

Fried Green Tomatoes and the Whistlestop Café - (ISBN: 978-0804115612)

by Fannie Flagg

Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World - (ISBN: 978-0312377427 )

by Lisa Lillien

The Bigger Book of Lydia - (ISBN: 978-0060264857)

by Margaret Willey

Activities for this Theme

If you enjoyed Jacqueline Wilson’s book, try another book from the Girls Quartet series.

Find more information about how to choose healthy foods.

If you love participating in or helping to prepare huge meals, you might enjoy Babette’s Feast, based on a short story by Danish author Isak Dinesen. Check the story out of your public library or read more about it online.

Find out how much you know about how food gets to your table by taking the Foodopoly Quiz

If you’re ready for a laugh and want to cook something new, try some recipes with bugs.

After you’ve read the book, try the video “Fast Food Nation.”