If you are looking for new lunch ideas, you need look no further than your child’s bookshelf. We’ve chosen five children’s books whose stories revolve around food and paired them with recipes inspired by the book. You and your child can prepare the recipes together, then read the book while enjoying your literary lunch!

The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Salma and Lily are very close friends until the day they come to kindergarten cafeteria blows over each other’s sandwiches. Each girl thinks the other’s sandwich (pb & j and hummus and pita) looks disgusting. The dispute escalates from name calling to a full on food fight. The girls see how divisive their words and actions have been, and are able to mend their friendship and also teach their classmates about tolerance by the end of the story.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

What You Need:

  • 1 can (15-ounced) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 cup chopped fire roasted red peppers
  • 1/3 cup tahini sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

Add the garbanzo beans, peppers, tahini, garlic powder and lemon juice into the food processor and process until smooth. While the processor is still running, slowly add the olive oil down the feed tube until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita breads round that have been cut into quarters.

More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden Gellman

Long before the movie was released, children had been enjoying the story of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for decades. It describes the lucky residents of Chewandswallow, where the weather is edible and it rains soup and snows meatballs. That is until foul weather hits, beginning with a storm of spaghetti and ending with a culinary catastrophe of gigantic proportions. Our recipe for spaghetti is far less turbulent; you can pop this easy pasta topping in the oven and it will be ready by the time you’re done with the book. Rita Golden Gelman’s book More Spaghetti I Say is another good book pairing for this dish.

Baked Cherry Tomato Sauce

What You Need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

What You Do:

Help your child cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Place in an ovenproof dish and toss with the olive oil and coating all the tomatoes (and the base of the dish itself). Sprinkle a little salt to taste, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.

While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare your pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add spaghetti, cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and toss pasta with the baked tomato sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Charlie and Lola’s I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

Every meal is a challenge for Lola, who is possibly the most finicky eater around until her brother introduces her to an ingredient that makes everything taste good: imagination. Suddenly once despised foods like peas are turned into rare green drops that fall in Greenland, and fish sticks become ocean nibbles, every mermaid’s snack of choice. And that side of potatoes is transformed into Cloud Fluff that can be found at the peak of Mt. Fuji.

Cloud Fluff (Mashed Potatoes)

What You Need:

  • 1 ½ pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup whole milk, slightly warm
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup white cheddar or jack cheese
  • Salt and white pepper to taste.

What You Do:

Add the potatoes to a large pot of boiling water. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix together the potatoes, warm milk, butter and cheese and mix until well combined. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and serve immediately.

If you give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Pancakes for lunch? Why not! This story follows the chain of events of what happens when you give a pig a pancake. Many of Numeroff’s titles ( If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin) are wonderful reads for theme-based snacktimes.


What You Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), melted and cooled

What You Do:

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, milk and melted butter. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, taking care not to over mix. (The batter will have some lumps.)

Using a ladle, pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto a heated nonstick skillet. Once the batter begins to bubble (about 2-3 minutes) flip the pancake and cook the other side for about the same amount of time.

Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler

After this inquisitive flamingo is told that it is the shrimp she eats that makes her pink, Sylvie goes on a colorful edible adventure to see what happens when she eats more unusual items—like a striped towel . The watercolor illustrations capturing her journey are delightful.

Simple Shrimp Salad

What You Need:

  • 8 ounces bay shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

What You Do:

Toss the shrimp with the ranch dressing and season with salt and pepper if needed. Halve and pit the avocado. Place one avocado half on a chilled plate with the center upright to serve as a bowl. Fill each avocado half with the shrimp and serve.