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Kids Will Gobble Up These Books!

Because March is Nutrition Month, Education World highlights concoctions whipped up by the word chefs at Wiley & Sons, Charlesbridge Publishing, and Teacher Created Materials. Join us as we explore four titles that will add flavor to your food or nutrition units!

Thinking about food and nutrition? Looking for ideas to spice up those sometimes ho-hum units? This week, Education World offers food for thought -- four titles that explore healthful eating!


Book Cover Image John Wiley & Sons Publishers serve up a title in their Science Chefs series, written by cooking instructor Joan D'Amico and registered dietician Karen Eich Drummond. The Healthy Body Cookbook provides more than 50 fun activities and delicious recipes that kids can try!


    The Healthy Body Cookbook has four easy-to-digest sections.

  • Discovering the Kitchen introduces young readers to the tools of the trade; cooking skills (cutting, measuring, mixing, and more); and safety rules for using the stove, the microwave, and knives.
  • Your Amazing Body introduces recipes for developing healthy hearts, muscles, bones, teeth, hair, and more. The authors provide a hands-on science activity to introduce each section, along with three or four recipes. Each recipe has detailed instructions that kids can follow, and each is coded according to difficulty. (One chef's hat indicates an "easy" recipe and three hats indicate a recipe for a "pro.")
  • Staying Healthy provides recipes related to the food guide pyramid, maintaining a healthy weight, and fighting disease with foods.
  • Appendices explore the nutrient contents of the recipes provided, reading food labels, and food poisoning. A glossary pulls it all together.

D'Amico and Drummond open each section of their book with activities that would make great additions to any elementary or middle school curriculum. An activity that directs kids to create their own stethoscopes introduces the Have a Healthy Heart section. Kids map their teeth in an activity that opens Look Mom, No Cavities! The following activity, which helps kids understand that high-fiber foods can be more filling than other foods, opens Moving Through the Digestive System.


  • A box of high-fiber (5 grams or more of fiber per serving) breakfast cereal
  • A box of low-fiber (1 gram or less per serving) breakfast cereal
  • A notebook
  • A pencil


  1. Measure and eat one serving of the high-fiber cereal.
  2. In your notebook, write the name of the cereal and the time you ate it.
  3. One hour later, write a number from 1 to 5 to record how full you feel. The number 1 means you feel hungry, and the number 5 means you feel full.
  4. Write down how full you feel two hours and three hours after you eat breakfast.
  5. The next morning, eat one serving of the low-fiber breakfast cereal.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 4.
  7. Compare your findings for the two mornings.

The activity explains that fiber can keep the stomach from emptying quickly. It also lists the kinds of foods that have lots of fiber. Then kids can dig in and prepare such high-fiber recipes as Rise and Shine Raisin Bran Muffins, Mushroom Barley Soup, Hearty and Healthy Chicken Chili Stew, Autumn Apple Bread Pudding, and more.

-- The Healthy Body Cookbook. is a smorgasbord of great recipes for fun and learning!


Grace Lin's illustrations have appeared in dozens of publications, including Weekly Reader, Ms. Magazine, and Seventeen. Now Lin has created her first children's book -- and it's a winner! Ugly Vegetables (Charlesbridge Publishing) is a story from the heart -- and from the heart of Lin's childhood upstate New York.

Book Cover Image

The book opens as planting season begins. The little girl in the book and her mother are preparing their backyard garden. Their neighbors -- Mrs. Crumerine, the Fitzgeralds, and Mrs. Anglehowe -- are doing the same. Soon the hard work begins to reap rewards, rewards that disappoint the young girl.

All the other yards in the neighborhood blossom with colorful poppies and peonies and petunias, but the girl's garden is disappointing. All varieties of "ugly vegetables" -- "big and lumpy" and "icky yellow," -- sprout in the garden. Mother's earlier promises to "wait and see" are no consolation for the rainbows of flowers that fill nearby gardens!

The summer passes and harvest time comes. After lots of washing and cutting, an unfamiliar aroma soon fills the neighborhood air. That aroma draws the neighbors, each of whom offers a handful of flowers in exchange for a helping of mother's special soup. All the neighbors promise to raise a combination of colorful flowers and "ugly vegetables" in next year's gardens!

Lin's cheery, vibrant illustrations and her touching story of cultural exchange make a great addition to spring storytelling. The book closes with a glossary of terms, a pronunciation guide for the Chinese vegetables that are an important ingredient in this story, and -- of course -- a recipe for Ugly Vegetable Soup!


Who would have thought that food snacks could be used to teach math facts, measurement, geometry, time, money, and estimation? The folks at Teacher Created Materials, that's who!

Book Cover Image

Math Snacks, a new addition to the Teacher Created Materials library, provides dozens of perforated pages for teaching a variety of primary-level math skills. Just tear out the pages and plop them on the copier. Add alphabet cereal, pretzels, pumpkin seeds, grapes, and other easy-to-find and inexpensive snacks to create memorable math experiences!

Math Snacks has everything a teacher might need. (Everything but the snacks, that is!) You'll find letters to parents. One explains the curriculum, and another offers ideas for math-related activities to do at home. There's even a form you can use to sign up parents who agree to provide the snacks. Assessment tools and a student evaluation are offered too.

Each student activity page provides space for students to do the math in picture form (for visual learners) and to write a sentence to describe their solutions. A challenge question at the bottom of each page extends the activity. Following is a sampling of four activities from this feast of Math Snacks!

  • Provide each child with a cup of red and black licorice bits. Ask: If each piece of red licorice is worth 5 points and each piece of black licorice is worth 3 points, how much is your cup of licorice worth? (Math skill: Addition.)
  • We have four dozen doughnut holes to share in class. If each student, the teacher, and the principal eat one, how many doughnut holes will be left over? (Math skill: Subtraction.)
  • Provide each child with 12 jellybeans. Have children sort the jellybeans by color and draw a picture of the results. Ask: What fraction represents the color with the most jellybeans? (Math skill: Fractions.)
  • Provide each student with a box of raisins. Ask kids to estimate the number of raisins in the box before they open the boxes and after opening the boxes and counting only the top layer. Then have kids dump out the raisins and count them. Ask : How close were your estimates to the actual count? (Math skill: Estimation.)

Those four activities offer a taste of what's in store in Math Snacks. You'll find more than six dozen activities that will satisfy your students' appetites for math while fulfilling curriculum requirements!


Book Cover Image


  • The common yellow banana seen in most U.S. homes is the Cavendish banana.
  • Bananas grow mostly in tropical places. They can also grow in Iceland, where geysers provide the heat bananas need.
  • The banana plant is really the world's largest herb.
  • Banana plants can be rooted like potatoes. Dig up the root, cut it up, and grow lots of banana plants!

Did you know those facts about bananas? Do you know how bananas grow? Do you know how they get from the plantations where they grow to your table? In Bananas -- new from Charlesbridge Publishing -- readers will learn those facts and many more! This veritable bible of bananas offers information and history plus banana jokes and banana recipes!

The books highlighted in this week's Education World BOOKS IN EDUCATION story are available in bookstores everywhere. If you are unable to locate a copy of the book you want, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher directly.

  • The Healthy Body Cookbook: Over 50 Activities and Delicious Recipes for Kids, written by Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond and illustrated by Tina Cash-Walsh, is published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158.
  • Ugly Vegetables, written and illustrated by Grace Lin, is published by Talewinds Books, an imprint of www.charlesbridge.com Charlesbridge Publishing, 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Phone: (617) 926-0329.
  • Math Snacks: Problem-Solving Fun with Food Manipulatives, written by Eliza Anne Sorte, is published by Teacher Created Materials, 6421 Industry Way, Westminster, CA 92683.
  • Bananas!, written by Jacqueline Farmer and illustrated by Page Eastburn O'Rourke, is published by Charlesbridge Publishing, 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Phone: (617) 926-0329.


Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World

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Originally published 03/13/2000
Text updated 02/27/2006