Picture Books and Eating

Elmo's hereYears ago I often saw two different but similar bumper stickers: ‘You Are What You Eat’ and ‘You Are What You Read.’

I’ve been working on a children’s picture book with vegetables as one part of the tale, that’s why this article in the Mercury News attracted me. As I read it, however, I thought of those two bumper stickers. So, for me that’s the theme of the article and the two bumper stickers come together.

You eat what your read.

You read what you eat.

Three books featuring food are discussed: “Yummy Yucky’ about foods that are yummy and foods that are not. Unfortunately, the yummy foods tend to be sugary. The second book is a Sesame Street book, ‘Ding Dong Elmo’s Here’ has the Sesame Street puppets looking at platesful of mostly fruits and vegetables. The third book, ‘The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond’ is actually an alphabet where the author’s intention was to get children familiar with the vocabulary of healthy eating.

When my daughter was seven she was afraid to eat mushrooms and beans because a friend had convinced her that both of them were ‘dirty.’ It took us a little while to convince her that by the time we cooked them they weren’t dirty anymore. The point is, though, that children are influenced by what they are told about food and books have a part in that.

What will it be in kid books: cupcakes or carrots?