My grandkids adore Master Chef Junior. Some of their pals prefer the Food Network to Nickelodeon. There is a wonderful wave of interest in cooking from the younger set in cookbooks and in fiction. The following are a few new ideas to inspire young folks interest in all things culinary.

RUTABAGA THE ADVENTURE CHEF: BOOK 1 by Eric Colossal is recommended for ages 8 to 12 and follows the adventures of Rutabaga and his magic cooking pot. Together they explore magical lands and the search for rare ingredients and exotic monsters in order to create some amazing meals.

JULIA CHILD: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures by Erin Hagar with artist Joanna Gorham is a biography for the nine to twelve set, that is exciting and inspiring. We all knew from her delightful television shows that Julia Child knew how to have fun. We now know more about what happened as she traveled around the world for the U.S. government, and how Julia found her calling in the kitchen and devoted her life to learning, perfecting, and sharing the art of French cuisine. Children will love reading this story and adults will love listening to them read the book. “Bon appétit!”

FREDDY and MRS. GOODWICH by Adena Trevor tells the story of how Mrs Goodwich decides to ask Freddy to help her make pancakes in a charming story.   She invites Freddy to her little house to show her how and Freddy finds out strange ways to use each ingredient for making pancakes. The author weaves a love of food and a charming story together to help children learn the value of good food.

RECIPE FOR ADVENTURE 1-4 BOX SET by Giada de Laurentiis. This wonderful box set includes the first four titles in Giada De Laurentiis’s Recipe for Adventure series—Naples!, Paris!, Hong Kong!, and New Orleans!—accompanied by additional brand-new, extra-special recipe cards and a chef’s hat.

COOK’S COLORING BOOK: Simple Recipes for Beginners by Rachel Lewis. The author is an illustrator and graphic designer who wanted to create a book for the young cook. The recipe collection builds a basic knowledge of cooking with user-friendly, step-by-step illustrations to guide new cooks to successful recipes. Easy recipes like Mexican omelette; lemon and garlic roasted broccoli; and spaghetti Bolognese are fun to prepare and kids can color them in!

COOKING CLASS: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat)! By Deanna F. Cook is a fun way to get kids interested in cooking. The author tries to make cooking fun in easy-to-follow recipes, and creative projects, that kids ages 6 to 12 will enjoy. The full-color, step-by-step live-action photography invites all skill levels to create in the kitchen. A handy difficulty scale accompanies each recipe so kids can find the ones that work best for their level of expertise. After kids cook their dishes, they’ll enjoy decorating and personalizing their packages with the labels and recipe nametags included in the book.

THE CUPCAKE DIARIES COLLECTION: Katie and the Cupcake Cure; Mia in the Mix; Emma on Thin Icing; Alexis and the Perfect Recipe by Coco Simon. Enjoy the first four Cupcake Diaries stories in one fantastic collection! The book relates how Katie started the Cupcake Club with her new middle-school friends Mia, Emma, and Alexis. The book is great for the 8 to 10 year old set and might even get your kids to have a cupcake party book club!

SATURDAY COOKING CLUB: Kitchen Chaos by Deborah A. Levine and JillEllyn Riley tells the story of a trio of mothers and daughters who sign up for a cooking class from a famous chef in the first book of the Saturday Cooking Club series. The book is important book for young girls of 12-14 years of age that touches on the issues of friendship, mother-daughter bonding, and food too.

ARE YOU WHAT YOU EAT? A Guide to What’s on Your Plate and Why! by the Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff is a book that uses color and exciting presentations to communicate nutritional information in a fun way. Children learn to see their food as more than just taste, learning the basics about nutritional info presented thorough quizzes, questions, facts, and pictures. This is a totally fun way to teach proper eating habits where kids will really listen and take note.

WEIRD BUT TRUE FOOD: 300 Bite-Size Facts About Incredible Edibles by National Geographic Kids and Julie Beer. This latest addition to the crazy popular Weird but True series serves up tons more wacky fun, focused totally on the subject of food!  The book has 300 more of the amazing facts plus color photos. You can start a campfire using an orange; cheerios were originally called cheeri oats; only ripe cranberries bounce; and it takes about 36 apples to make a gallon of apple cider are a few of the interesting food facts in this book.

For very young cooks try ELLA’S KITCHEN: The First Foods Book: The Purple One is a great way to introduce new foods to young tasters. Ella’s Kitchen is a baby and children’s food company founded by Paul Lindley when he was deputy-managing director of Nickelodeon and trying to start new foods with his reluctant daughter Ella in the UK. Covering every step of your child’s discovery of new foods, from six months to a year, The First Foods Book includes more than 130 recipes – from single-veggie purées to exciting combinations and full meals. Every one has been rigorously tested to ensure it meets with Ella’s Kitchen nutritional standards.
There is also lots of practical advice to give every parent confidence at this key stage of their baby’s development.

For the littlest ones is My Foodie ABC: A Little Gourmet’s Guide
by Puck with illustrations by Violet Lemay is a lovely way to educate burgeoning foodies. This board book teaches the letters of the alphabet to tots with colorful illustrations that highlight terms such as J is for jicama; L is for Locavore; R is for radicchio; and X is for xuxu, a squash by many names either chayote, cho-cho or pepinella. Hey, I learned something too!

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