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Food & Digestion Topic (KS2)

food digestion ks2 childrens books

Recommended children’s books about food

Our KS2 Food & Digestion topic booklist features a rich variety of specially selected children’s books about food, cooking and digestion.

In Key Stage 2 Science, children learn about the topics of nutrition, the digestive system, teeth and the impact of diet. Our booklist is designed to feature the best children’s books about food and digestion for children in KS2, from stories showcasing delicious world foods like Faruq and the Wiri Wiri and World of Food, to books that give children a microscopic look inside the human digestive system like Gut Garden. With rich illustrations and intriguing facts, these titles will bring the Food & Digestion topic to life – but be prepared for some “yuck” moments as well as the “yum” ones!

We also have a separate booklist about Healthy Human Bodies.

This list is aimed at children aged 7 to 11. For books about food for younger children, try our Food Glorious Food Topic booklist.

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Children's books about food and cooking

Sophia Payne
 & Sandhya Prabhat

There’s so much to like about this colourful picturebook: the lively illustrations, including endpapers; the different fonts which are almost as expressive as the text and conjure up beautifully the scents and sounds of Caribbean culture, the warmth conveyed by artful storytelling, warmth which derives from Faruq’s relationship with the characters who shape his culinary (and boyhood) journey; not to mention the addition of a recipe for lime cookies.

This is a story to make your mouth and your eyes water – as if witness to the work of cooking up a sumptuous family feast and then finding yourself invited too. It’s a book that lends itself to being read aloud in class or at home (and even more so if the dialect sounds authentic). It would also work well in a nurture group setting, allowing the children a hand at making some of the food and as a celebration of different cultures.

Ewa Jozefkowicz
Chapter book

A gently unfolding detective story that delicately unpacks themes of food poverty, friendship and the importance of community spaces. Author Ewa Jozefkowicz says of the book, ‘The pandemic has had a huge impact on food insecurity, with as many as 2.3 million children now affected. So through my book, as well as telling a story, I wanted to highlight the importance of community and to show all readers that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they need it.’
This is a relatively quick read – but a deeply satisfying one – that will appeal to readers who enjoy true-to-life stories, a mystery to solve and gentle storytelling that explores real-world issues.

Laura Gladwin
 & Zoe Barker
Shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2022 in the Food Book category.Learn how flour and water were revolutionized as you pore over different pasta and noodle shapes, discover how cheese is made, find out why onions make you cry and marvel at nature’s ingenuity as you take a bite from eighteen varieties of apples and pears.Split into digestible chapters, this visual guide explores the journey from farm to table, letting you taste your way around the world from the comfort of home.
Laura Mucha, Ed Smith
 & Harriet Lynas

This is an usual illustrated non-fiction book all about food and eating around the world. This book goes beyond the usual sections one might expect to find in a non-fiction book about food. There are pages about eating utensils, smelly food, specific foods such as bananas and noodles and spices. Each page uses rich descriptive language and manages to conjure up the smells, tastes and sights of unusual food from around the world.

What is particularly useful are the handy phonetic pronunciation guides for each food. The list of different countries covered is diverse and includes countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Peru and Albania. Helpfully at the end of the book, there is a world map with all of the 69 countries mentioned highlighted. The language will appeal to children in KS1 being both engaging but also clear and informative. The book provides interesting general facts, such as how many varieties of rice there are, but also unusual and specific examples that illustrate the general facts, so a variety of rice dishes from around the world. This level of detail would also support any child in Key Stage 2 to explore the book’s fascinating facts.

The book is simply illustrated with bold and clear pictures of the food and of children eating and enjoying food. On the final pages, there is mention of climate change and how food will change in the future – with some interesting insect-eating illustrations here! What is not mentioned is the unequal distribution of food across the world and you could be forgiven for thinking when you read this book, that food is as plentiful as it is diverse across the world. This would also be a useful area for discussion with children.

Sandra Lawrence
 & Violeta Noy

World of Food is a bright, colourful and well-laid-out non-fiction book that introduces children to the fascinating journey that food takes before it reaches their plate.  It covers this from a historical and modern point of view.  Historically, it talks about the Stone Age, Roman banquets and the Silk Road.  It also helpfully indicates both the similarities and diversities of our current diets.  For example, the pages on dairy and grains cover a lot of the different worldwide breads and dairy-producing animals.

Each spread is clear and contains a single topic.  My Year 3 class found these spreads very useful when they were researching and preparing presentations on the different types of food produced in the UK.  It would also be useful if comparing diets around the world.  For example, the pages on fruit cover fruit from many locations. The book does not shy away from introducing new vocabulary, I know now what a “drupe” and a “pome” are.

At the back of the book is a very thought-provoking section on issues in the world food supply such as greenhouse gases and the future of food.  There is also a recipe for bread. A detailed and colourful section on festival food introduces several religious and secular feasts: Christmas, Diwali, Passover, Eid, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year.  This section is excellent as it describes the foods but also their place at the feast table. It is also broader than just European stereotypes, covering,  for example,  the Christmas foods of Ethiopia and Venezuela.

World of Food is a well-researched book with broad detail around its subject and would be an asset to any KS2 classroom.

Nancy Castaldo
 & Ginnie Hsu
Where does our food come from? What role do farms play? What’s it like to be a farmer? In this charmingly illustrated book, follow a farm throughout the year to discover how the farmer grows fresh and tasty food for us to eat in a sustainable and natural way.Explore the workings of a small-scale, organic family farm and experience the rhythm of farm life. In the spring, visit the chicken coop, till the fields and tour the farm machinery. When summer comes, plant corn, meet the pollinators and head to the county fair. In the fall, make pies and preserves, harvest pumpkins and put the fields to sleep. Winter activities include trimming and pruning the orchard, seed shopping and baking bread.To conclude your year on the farm, learn what you can do to support the farmers who pick our carrots and raise the cows for our milk. A glossary defines key sustainable farming terms.Through this colourful and intimate look at life on a small-scale farm, children will learn not only how the farm feeds us, but how the farmer must feed and care for the farm.

Children's books about digestion

Emily Bone
 & Stefano Tognetti
From the very first bite, your food goes on an incredible journey inside you. Lift the flaps to find out what happens when you eat fat, sugar, carbohydrates and protein, and what vitamins and minerals do for you. With over 80 flaps to lift, advice on healthy eating and links to websites for more information.
Robin Twiddy
Delve deep into the dark forests of the scalp and stomp through the toxic swamps of the gut as you explore every part of this amazing habitat we call the human body. Meet the family of lice living in your hair and the fungal infection in between your toes as our daring documentary team discover everything there is to know about life on us.
Jennifer Gardy
 & Belle Wuthrich

It Takes Guts is a recommended book to support the teaching of digestion in Key Stage 2. The colourful and well-labelled diagrams provided clear examples and easy to access information.

The children in Year 4 were quick to find and remember key vocabulary. The book is great for allowing independent research into the digestive system and the children enjoyed finding out various facts.

Izzi Howell
Use eye-grabbing diagrams to help you to discover the human body in glorious technicolour!With eye-grabbing diagrams and amazing facts, The Digestive System takes a vibrant look at journey of food through our bodies.This colourful and fact-packed series provides an accessible look at the human body through bright and bold graphics.
Adam Kay
 & Henry Paker

Adam Kay’s ‘Amy Gets Eaten’ is a gruesome yet hilarious book explaining what happens in our bodies when we eat food. Despite getting eaten, Amy (a positive and chirpy piece of sweetcorn), explains in child-friendly language the journey she takes from the mouth, through the stomach and out again into the toilet. Although told in a narrative style, this is really a non-fiction book that teaches children the science behind some of our human anatomy.

Throughout the story, while travelling through the small intestine, a wise old raisin teaches the reader how different food types help to make your body strong, active and healthy. The children get opportunities to interact with the book and recap, through cartoons, where the sweetcorn has travelled. Readers are also invited to make opinions on the strange food combinations the character of Noah has chosen to eat. My children have read this over and over, and every storytime ends in fits of laughter—a highly recommended short picture book for younger primary children.

Paul Mason
Packed with amazing facts and eye-grabbing images, Your Growling Guts and Dynamic Digestive System takes a different approach to teaching the reader about the digestive system.Every spread opens with an amazing science fact about the human body - for example - Your tongue print is just as unique as your fingerprint! - then goes on to explain how scientifically this is possible. By exploring these attention-grabbing sections, readers will build up their understanding of the different digestive organs and the process of digestion.Detailed diagrams and amazing images illustrate the lively, factual text. Your Growling Guts and Dynamic Digestive System looks at the organs of the digestive system and how they work together to get the most out of our meals! What does the liver do? What happens to all the food we eat? Why does the small intestine need to be so long? Answers to all these questions and many more can be found in this fascinating title.
Katie Brosnan
A journey into the wonderful world of your microbiome.Within our bodies hides an entire world of organisms called microbes. They digest our food and protect our immune systems, and without them, we would die. Through Katie Brosnan's personable illustrations, we follow the digestive process from the moment the food enters our mouths to the moment the waste leaves our bodies. Along the way we are introduced to a variety of microbes - good and bad - and gain an insight into the vast ecosystem that exists inside us.Scientists are only now beginning to comprehend the significance of our microbiome. This is a gorgeously presented introduction to a most fascinating scientific frontier.

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