As a kid, I was always interested in baking — the more complicated the recipe, the better! I made many messes as I learned to follow recipes and improvise with various baked goods and dishes, and I just know that I would have loved to read about kids who also experimented in the kitchen. I’ve rounded up ten amazing middle grade novels about cooking and baking featuring kids from all backgrounds who love to cook, bake, and eat. Maybe they’ll inspire you to whip something up in the kitchen today!
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Zoe Washington is a 12-year-old with a passion for baking, and she’s overjoyed that this summer she’s been chosen for an internship at a local bakery. But it’s not all that she thought it’d be — she doesn’t really get to do much baking, and instead ends up assembling a lot of bakery boxes. She also is maintaining a secret correspondence with her biological father Marcus, who’s been in prison ever since she was a baby. This is an amazing book about an ambitious and creative kid who is learning about social justice while confronting family secrets.
Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
Mimi Mackson is the youngest daughter of a big family full of amazing talent, and she wants nothing more than to find her thing. She’s determined the enter a contest at a new local bakery, hoping to follow in her hero chef’s footsteps. But when her food writer dad loses his sense of taste and Mimi discovers a new friend and a mysterious forest full of delicious ingredients, things get a little chaotic and she begins to wonder if her baking isn’t causing all of this mayhem!
Roll With It by Jamie Sumner
Ellie has big dreams of one day becoming a professional baker, and she’s always spicing things up in the kitchen and trying out new recipes. But when her grandfather has some health issues and she and her mom move in with her grandparents to help out, Ellie finds out that being the new kid who uses a wheelchair and lives in a trailer park isn’t exactly easy at her new school. But she’s got a new friend and her love of baking, and maybe between the two she can get people to accept her.
All You Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero
Alba isn’t at all happy about being sent to live with the grandmother she barely knows in Barcelona over the summer — but it’s all part of the plan for her mom to leave Alba’s abusive father. Once in Spain, Alba finds that she loves her grandmother and she loves baking bread in her mom’s childhood friend’s bakery. But when the bakery is threatened with closure and Alba’s mom finally arrives in Spain, Alba must figure out a way to save the things she loves and repair her family.
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
Jingwen and Yanghao are two brothers who’ve recently moved to the U.S., and Jingwen is struggling to acclimate. He doesn’t fit in at school, he can’t speak English yet, and he’s mourning the loss of his father. Jingwen and Yanghao love to think about all of the wonderful cakes their father had planned for the bakery he never got to open, and naturally they want to bake them all…but they’re not allowed to use the oven while their mom is at work. That doesn’t stop them, though, and soon they’re coming up with wild and wilder explanations for their baked goods.
Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte
When Cici moves from Taiwan to Seattle, there’s no one she misses more than her grandmother, A-má. With A-má’s birthday coming up soon, she’d love to celebrate together but plane tickets aren’t cheap. So she decides she’ll win the money by competing in a kids’ cooking competition! But the judges will expect Cici to cook American food, and she only knows how to cook Taiwanese food…and her new classmates have made it abundantly clear how weird they find Cici’s beloved cuisine. She’ll have to figure out the perfect recipe to sweep the prize.
A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan
Sara and Elizabeth are two very different kids. Sara is struggling to fit in at a new school, and Elizabeth is worried about her mother, who is struggling with depression. When Elizabeth takes a cooking class taught by Sara’s mom, they must work together despite their differences. But they also find that when they put their heads together, they can create some amazing dishes worthy of a spot on the local cooking show — but is that enough to help them becomes friends, too?
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson
In this series starter, Ryan Hart is a kid who always manages to look on the bright side of life, even when she faces some hard challenges, like her dad losing his job and having to move to a new house. One of Ryan’s favorite things to do is experiment in kitchen…even when her new recipes don’t always turn out as planned! She has to learn not to get discouraged, and always manages to salvage something from her cooking experiences.
The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh
Gigi never really knew her mother, who died when she was young and left behind lots of her recipes, which GiGi makes when she wants to feel close to her. GiGi is being raised by her older sister DiDi, and when a winning lottery ticket changes their fortunes, they move to Long Island so GiGi can attend a better school. But reinventing herself is not quite as simple as following a recipe, as GiGi is about to find out, and things get even more complicated when she learns a shocking family secret.
Recipe for Disaster by Aimee Lucido
Coming out later this year is a fun middle grade novel about Hannah Malfa-Adler, a kid who loves cooking. She’s also Jewish, but doesn’t really think about her Jewish identity until her best friend has an amazing Bat Mitzvah…and Hannah starts thinking that she wants one, too! But there’s a lot more to Bat Mitzvahs than the party, and Hannah learns a lot not only about the Jewish faith, but about herself as well.
Is your mouth watering? I hope that you have some tasty snacks on hand to enjoy these wonderful books!
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