Monday, March 18, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: What's for lunch? How schoolchildren eat around the world by Andrea Curtis, photography by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

This book is from a Canadian press and takes the readers around the world not just looking at what kids eat for school lunch in different countries, but issues of food justice. In Tokyo, kids not only eat politely, they take turns serving the food and cleaning up. Children in refugee camps in Kenya subsist on a cup of mush distributed by the World Food Programme. Many children in Roswell, New Mexico, have free or subsidized lunches, but most of the food is heavily processed or comes from fast food outlets like Domino's Pizza or KFC. In France, the children have a meal with several courses, served family-style with real silverware and napkins. Soft drinks aren't allowed in French schools, so they all drink water.

Interspersed with the information on what children eat around the world and the various issues faced by different countries - poverty, starvation, obesity, cultural issues - there are special segments on different movements around the world. In Italy, the school kitchens are run by a local co-op that uses as much local produce as possible. In Bangladesh, seventeen boats are combining classrooms and floating gardens to try and find a way to not only supply healthy food and education, but also survive the floods that continue to increase and threaten the area. In Canada, kids attend a program at a community center that helps them learn to make healthy food choices and think about food justice around the world. In Peru, a school reclaims their Quechua heritage through a communal school garden.

A final message to teachers, parents and students discusses some of the issues surrounding food and how you can not only help others globally, but make changes in your own school. There's also a glossary included.

Verdict: This is a fascinating look at food around the world. However, it is rather wordy and I found some of the explanations of the photos confusing; they don't identify everything in the lunch and I wanted to know what some of the other food was. I don't see many kids just picking this up on their own. However, I think it's a book that teachers might be interested in using, especially paired with It's Our Garden, the book I reviewed last week. This is one I'll get because I think it's important, even if its circulation isn't really high.

ISBN: 9780889954823; Published 2012 by Red Deer Press; Borrowed from another library in our consortium; Added to the library's order list.


Perogyo said...

Yay for a Canadian book!

This is would be great for a grade 1 social studies curriculum I think, as kids are encouraged (in Canada at least!) to think about differences in schools, homes, and food around the world.

Thanks so much for sharing and for participating in Nonfiction Monday!

laurasalas said...

Love books like this that show how kids live differently around the globe. Children today will be so much more aware than I was! Thanks for sharing this.

Ms. Yingling said...

I wish there had been fewer words but more labeling of food! I'll include this in my World Wednesday round up.