What’s on Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food

It's a big, tasty world out there—and this book takes kids on a tour through the cuisines of 14 countries, complete with a recipe for each one. 

What’s on your plate? Chances are it’s not quite the same as what’s on other children’s plates around the world. Come on a journey to see how people in different countries prepare, eat, and think about their food. Beautiful photographs and illustrations capture the food culture of 14 countries, from Brazil and Spain to Morocco, India, and China. Each spread includes an overview of the country and its native foods, photographs of the various dishes with pronunciations and descriptions, an easy recipe for kids to try, and an illustrated crop map of the country. With so many fun elements to intrigue them, young foodies will be excited to learn about how people eat across the globe!


“Beginning with the U.S. and continuing around the globe to Japan, this kid-friendly informational picture book dishes up food culture from 14 countries. Although the cuisine of such countries as Spain, France, Greece, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Thailand may be unfamiliar to some children, the author’s selections can be sampled in restaurants around the U.S. In double-page spreads, an opening text section gives an overview of the country and how such factors as geography, religion, climate, foreign invasions, and immigrants have influenced its food. For instance, Spanish conquerors in Mexico introduced pork, cheese, and rice, which are still staples in Mexican cuisine today. Following are a brief list of popular foods (including photographs and their descriptions) and an easy-to-follow recipe. The facing page features a brightly colored, full-page agricultural map of the country with landmarks and typical foods indicated. Young foodies can see, for example, where rice, tea leaves, and peaches are harvested in China. The final spread offers ideas for sharing this acquired food knowledge with others. A delectable way to highlight diversity.” – Booklist, April 1 issue

“Stewart looks at how people from a number of countries prepare, eat, and think about food. Colorful illustrations and photographs capture a sample of the cuisine of 14 countries, including Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, and Greece. Many of the featured dishes, such as zesty carrot orange salad or banana lassi, are mouthwatering. Each spread includes an overview of the country, photographs of the various culinary delights (with pronunciations and descriptions), and additional geography information. A kid-friendly recipe is included with each entry. Step-by-step directions are presented, but many of the procedures, such as boiling water, mixing ingredients in a blender, chopping ingredients on a cutting board, and cooking with a nonstick frying pan will require assistance from adults. Engel’s illustrations of cartoon children are brightly colored and add touches of whimsy. VERDICT Inspire young foodies with this title; a good choice for most shelves.”Angelina Bair, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, OH / School Library Journal, April issue

“Stewart takes readers on a celebratory tour of world cuisine, focusing on common foods served across 14 countries, along with as many simple recipes. Each spread contains a picture map of each region, with icons that represent types of food, as well as popular attractions and geological features. Photo spot art shows the foods featured in the recipes; for Spain, Stewart highlights a recipe for ham and cheese tapas and snapshots of tortilla de patates, a bowl of gazpacho, and a skillet of paella, and for Ethiopia, she offers a recipe for injera, or spongy flatbread. Engel’s (the ABC for Me series) presentation is lively and welcoming, with wide-eyed children from the different countries happily sampling foods. A final spread shows children sharing an array of global dishes, suggesting to readers that trying new foods can be just as much fun as sharing their own favorites. Ages 5–9.”  – Publishers Weekly

Selected as a recommended read from the Hudson Library and Historical Society.

Included in the BN Kids Blog book round-up.

“Hello, friends! Our book today is What’s On Your Plate?: Exploring The World Of Food, written by Whitney Stewart and illustrated by Christiane Engel, a cookbook/celebration of international cuisine for little readers.

There’s a world of food out there, and chances are that what’s on your plate is not the same as children in other countries! So follow along as readers are taken on a tour of 14 countries (such as Mexico, Thailand, Ethiopia, etc.) and given a crash course in their food culture, popular dishes, and even a recipe to try at home (with parents’ help, of course). By the end, readers will gain an appreciation for new and interesting dishes and cultures, and find that our love of food is both what makes us unique and brings us together.

Very cool! Each spread is informative, interesting, visually fun, and the recipes look delicious. It’s a great way to encourage little ones to be adventurous with their meals and to learn more about other countries and cultures. The illustrations are perfect fun, make the food look delectable (there are also photos of some dishes), and the maps of the countries and their native ingredients are awesome. This is not a storybook, and reading it in one sitting would definitely be for older bookworms, but JJ enjoyed the illustrations, and I imagine this will be a popular book for our adventurous eater in a few years. A great way to introduce little foodies to international cuisine, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!” – Baby Bookworm