Drawn from life: 9 comic books that are sure to get your kids cooking
Got a kid who loves comics and food? We've rounded up 9 beautifully illustrated graphic novels that range from culinary fantasy to how-to books.
To fuel you up while you read, we’ve chosen some recipes from our archives to pair beautifully with these books.
Bink And Gollie (Kate diCamillo, Alison McGhee and Tony Fucile) Best friends Bink and Gollie are different in nearly every way—but they always agree on pancakes and peanut butter. These books are sure to get your kids laughing—and hungry for pancakes! Enjoy a tall stack of traditional pancakes (we like these “confetti” ones), or fast and easy 3 ingredient pancakes.
My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki) The comic adaptation of this beloved movie about sisters is a fun read for all ages. Young sisters Satsuke and Mei move to the countryside for the summer while they wait for their mother to recover from a long hospital stay. While they explore the forests and fields, they meet a friendly, fuzzy tree spirit named Totoro—and that’s just the start of their adventures. The food in Totoro would make anyone drool—Satsuke makes her family delicious bento box lunches, and the veggies the girls harvest are so good, they just might cure their mother. For purists, you can recreate Satsuke’s tasty bento box—or chill some cucumber, and make Mijune Pak’s 5 spice maple roasted squash and edamame with warm soba noodles.
Aquicorn Cove (Katie O’Neill) A gorgeous, magical read, this book is about a little girl and her aunt learning to protect the sea unicorns they discover in the coral reef near their home. The book’s enchanting story illustrates an important point about cherishing sea life, and will get kids excited to explore the beach. This delicious seaside salad features some of the seaweeds the Aquicorns enjoy in the book, including sea asparagus (a veggie we introduced you to in our post about foods in the wild!)
Bake Sale (Sara Varon) This sweet book about a cupcake and his best friend features loads of recipes to try at the end, so that you can test out all the food from the book! We loved this parent’s take on how her kids were inspired to bake after this read—and yes, there’s a fantastic vanilla cupcake recipe included.
Babysitter’s Club Graphic Novel series (Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier) If you were a fan of Ann M. Martin’s original series in the 80s, you might remember that in addition to running a childcare business, the eleven-year-olds in these books do an awful lot of home cooking! Whether it’s helping parents with dinner prep, sharing tea with Claudia’s grandmother Mimi, or making snacks for Babysitter’s Club meetings—many of the most important conversations in this series happen over food. Artist Raina Tegelmeier (and now Gale Galligan) have done a superb job adapting the books as graphic novels. Enjoy a trip down memory lane starting with some of the BSC’s favourite food: pizza.
Ghosts (Raina Telgemeir) This story about two sisters centers around the Day of the Dead, and includes a grandmother’s magical tamale recipe as the thread that brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. Learn how to make tamales, or chow down on some guacamole and pico de gallo while you enjoy this spooky story about family, ghosts and love. A must for older kids who enjoyed the movie Coco.
Flavour (Joseph Keating, Ali Bouzari, Wook Jin Clark and Tamra Bonvillain) A culinary fantasy story, this book centers on a mysterious walled city where chefs are celebrities, food is prized, and no one is allowed to cook without a license. An underage chef threatens to undo everything when she is entered into a high-stakes cooking competition where she has to cook her speciality—crepes. This delightful read is funny and suspenseful, and includes recipes as well as thought-provoking essays about cooking by food scientist Ali Bouzari to bookend the fantasy.
Diary of a Tokyo Teen (Christine Mari Inzer) Written when Christine Mari Inzer was still a teenager, this travelogue/memoir is about her trip to Tokyo to visit her Japanese grandparents. Packed with delicious food experiences and fun drawings, this book would get anyone excited to visit Japan. Christine’s favourite food is katsudon, but if that’s too ambitious a project for a school night, try gyoza or ramen.
Let’s Make Ramen! A Comic Book Cookbook (Hugh Amano and Sarah Becan) Speaking of ramen, you might be tempted to think of ramen as a college-student staple dish. There are lots and lots of ways to prepare this dish, and teens who love cooking and comics will enjoy this cookbook as a way to explore different ramen techniques while learning a bit about Japanese food history.
If you’re looking for more great kids’ books featuring food, check out our round-up of after-dinner reads, or our list of enchanted foods from magical children’s books, just in time for Halloween. You can also find a list of our favourite kid-friendly cookbooks here, and our searchable recipe archives here. For more inspiring food reads, don’t forget to join our communities on Facebook and Instagram!