A Children’s Book Publisher Tackles Food Literacy

parent reading to childThrough his wife, Juno Jo Lee, a food anthropologist and ethnographer, book publisher Philip Lee got interested in what kids are (or aren’t) eating in school, at home, and how it affects both their school performance and their health.

In 2009, the Lees launched Readers to Eaters — a pop-up shop that sells food-themed books for adults and children. Their goal? Open up a dialogue in which parents and kids can talk about where their food comes and share stories about the different ways they eat, cook, and relate to food.

Soon, a host of books were in the works. One title, Sylvia’s Spinach by Katherine Pryor and Anna Raff, tells the story of a picky eater who learns to better understand and accept her least favorite vegetable by growing it herself.

Readers To Eaters’ latest book, Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, by Jo Lee and Jacqueline Briggs Martin follows the daily adventures of a real-life Korean-American food truck cook in Los Angeles. The book’s illustrations are by Mexican-Angeleno graffiti artist Man One. The book, which has already garnered an award from the National Council for Social Studies and two others from professional organizations, offers yet another chance for kids, parents, and educators to talk about history, culture, running a business, and how it all connects back to the food that fuels our bodies, minds, and imaginations.

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