Read About Breads and Rice

Bread * Bread * Bread
By Ann Morris, photographs by Ken Heyman
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1989

This modern classic features photographs of people all over the world eating bread of all shapes and sizes, making bread, selling bread, and breaking bread together. An index offers a key to each photo.

Take your time going through the book. Invite children to name breads they recognize and those they eat at home and school. Talk about similarities and differences in the types of bread and what people eat with or on bread.

Create a class book about bread. Ask each child to bring from home a favorite bread, preferably one that reflects the family's culture. Take an instant photo of each child with his special bread. Mount the photos on paper, add captions (dictated by the children or explaining each photo, such as "Anwar likes chapati"), and bind the pages together.

Everybody Bakes Bread
By Norah Dooley, illustrations by Peter J. Thornton
Lerner Publishing, 1996

Carrie's mother is making her great-grandmother's recipe for Italian bread, and she needs a special rolling pin. Carrie visits different neighbors to find the rolling pin and discovers that everybody is baking bread today. Each family represents a different culture and each is making a different type of bread. Lucky Carrie gets to taste each one. There is a recipe for each bread, from South Asian chapatis to American corn bread to coconut bread from Barbados.

This story has a lot of text for young children. Paraphrase in places to hold their attention.

Make one type of bread with children. Chapatis made with whole-wheat flour and corn bread made with cornmeal are both good choices for complementing what children are learning about grains and whole-grain foods.

Everybody Cooks Rice
By Norah Dooley, illustration by Peter J. Thornton
Lerner Publishing, 1991

In this companion book, Carrie is once again on a mission through her culturally diverse neighborhood. It's dinnertime, and she is looking for her brother, Anthony. As she stops at different homes, she finds that everybody is cooking a rice dish for dinner. When she finally makes her way home, where Anthony has returned on his own, she learns that her family is having a rice dish too. But after tasting everyone else's dinners, she's too full to eat!

This story also has pages with full text that you may want to shorten to maintain children's interest. Highlight the different families and how the ingredients they mix with the rice vary.

There are also recipes for each family's rice dish. However, the recipes are most likely too involved and the flavorings too exotic for making and tasting with young children. Instead, try the basic recipe for preparing rice and use brown rice to introduce children to this healthful food. Guide children in comparing the look and feel of the grains before and after they are cooked.

Read About Breakfast at Storytime

As you choose books to read aloud, consider these with a breakfast theme. They're another way to communicate that breakfast is an important meal.

Pancakes, Pancakes!  By Eric Carle (Simon & Schuster, 1990). Jack gathers the ingredients for making pancakes. In addition to highlighting a breakfast treat for many children, this book demonstrates that the flour used to make pancakes comes from the grain wheat. Point out that if Jack eats pancakes made from whole-wheat flour, they will be extra good for him.

We're Making Breakfast for Mother  by Shirley Neitzel (Greenwillow, 1997). This rebus story tells of a sister and brother who make a mess while making breakfast for their mother. Bananas and whole-wheat bread are two of the nutritious foods featured in this delightful book.

From Rye to Bread, From Wheat to Pasta

Read and discuss children's books that show how grains are made into different foods.

Here is a sampling of books to look for:

Corn  by Pam Robson (Children's Press, 1998, What's for Lunch? Series). Color photos and text explain how corn is grown and identify different corn foods, such as popcorn, taco shells, and muffins.

From Wheat to Pasta  by Robert Egan (Children's Press, 1997). This photo story starts with a familiar activity for many children - eating spaghetti. Then it takes children through the steps of harvesting wheat, making flour, and mixing the dough that becomes pasta of different shapes and colors.

How Bread Is Made  by Neil Curtis and Peter Greenland (Lerner Publications, 1992). Clear photographs and text tell how wheat is made into bread. The book begins with scenes of how wheat is grown, reinforcing that grains are plants. Point out that other grains, such as rye, follow this same process to be made into rye bread and crackers.

Rice  by Pam Robson (Children's Press, 1998, What's for Lunch? Series). This book features close-up photos of rice plants and scenes of people working in rice paddies and eating a variety of rice dishes in different parts of the world. Use the photos showing the difference between brown and white rice to help explain why brown rice has more nutrients.

The Tortilla Factory  by Gary Paulsen (Harcourt Brace, 1995). Simple text and striking paintings tell how corn is made into tortillas - and how the food they eat gives the workers the energy to grow more corn and make more tortillas.