Shelf Life: Mouthwatering books to devour to this month

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

As soon as November rolls around, I start thinking about the holidays, which of course means FOOD!

The theme for Elementary Explorers at the library this month is food, and every week there are food-based programs for the K-5 age group, such as a cooking class and an Oreo taste test.

We also have teen food programs this month, including a gingerbread house creation this Friday, where the result will be entered into the Grove Park Inn competition, and a snack-a-palooza (learn how to make various yummy snacks).

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And every month, we have Cookbook Club on the third Thursday for adults. Join us Thursday, Nov. 15, by bringing a Mexican dish to share for a potluck lunch.

In the meantime, feast on one of these delicious reads!


“Bee-Bim Bop!” by Linda Sue Park

A delightful picture book about the joys of family and food from a Newbery Award winning author. Read along as a child watches her mother through the process of making the traditional Korean dish, from shopping to preparing ingredients to setting the table.

“Eating the Alphabet” by Lois Ehlert

I adore Ehlert’s illustrations, and this alphabet book is no exception! It teaches both uppercase and lowercase letters through fruits and vegetables from around the world. A glossary at the end provides interesting facts about each food.

“Round is a Tortilla” by Roseanne Thong

This book introduces shapes through food tortillas, tacos, and a bowl of abuela’s stew are round; ice-cream carts and stone metates are rectangles; and watermelon and quesadilla slices are triangles.


“North of Happy” by Adi Alsaid

A recipe for tacos is how this young adult novel begins before the reader is introduced to Carlos, a teen who has grown up wealthy and is expected to take over the family business. However, Carlos has different plans for his life due to his passion for food and cooking.

“Relish: My Life in the Kitchen” by Lucy Knisley

A hilarious food-themed graphic novel! Lucy tells the story of her childhood through what she was eating and cooking, and each chapter includes a beautifully illustrated recipe.

“A la Carte” by Tanita S. Davis

Lainey dreams of becoming a famous chef with her own cooking show. When her best friend leaves town suddenly, she turns to cooking for comfort and begins a new recipe for the future in the process.


“Delicious!” by Ruth Reichl

The author herself is a food critic and chef so it’s only fitting that her fiction debut is about a young woman who moves to New York to write for a food magazine.

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” by Aimee Bender

Since she was 9 years old, Rose has had a “gift” — she can taste people’s emotions in food. At first it is horrifying, but she learns to harness her gift and realizes that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

Subtitled “A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies,” this bestseller from 1989 inspired an award-winning film. Set in turn-of-the-century Mexico, the classic love story revolves around Tita as she grows up to be a master chef.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.