* MOONBEAM GOLD AWARD *
* GROWING GOOD KIDS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AND NATIONAL MASTER JUNIOR GARDENER PROGRAM *
Milk doesn't just appear in your refrigerator, nor do apples grow in the bowl on the kitchen counter.
Before We Eat has been adopted by the USDA’s Agriculture in the Classroom program.
Before we eat, many people work very hard—planting grain, catching fish, tending farm animals, and filling crates of vegetables. With vibrant illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian, this book reminds us what must happen before food gets to our tables to nourish our bodies and spirits.
This expanded edition of Before We Eat includes back-of-book features about school gardens and the national farm-to-school movement.
Fountas & Pinnell Level L
About the Author
Pat Brisson is the author of 20 books for young readers, including The Summer My Father Was Ten and Sometimes We Were Brave, Tummy Time Friends, and Common Critters. A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a former elementary school teacher, school librarian, and public-library reference librarian. Pat lives in New Jersey with her husband.
Artist Mary Azarian is the Caldecott-Medal winning illustrator of Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (1999, Houghton Mifflin). She created the pictures for Before We Eat by first carving the pictures in wood (in reverse!) and then printing them with ink onto paper before adding the color with watercolor paints. She lives and creates her art on a hilltop farm in Vermont.
An especially and highly recommended addition to
family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library
picture book collections.
— Midwest Review of Books
This eye- and ear-catching read-aloud makes a wonderful
discussion-starter for exploring how food is produced, acquired, and
— School Library Journal
What did you like about the book? Anyone who has ever lived in Vermont would be well familiar with the artwork of Mary Azarian. In this book she first carved the pictures in wood before printing them with ink and onto paper and then adding color with acrylic paints. Her very detailed illustrations have the feeling of folklore, which perfectly complement the words of Pat Brisson. Food begins with plowing the ground and planting the seeds, tending the fields and removing the weeds. Eggs are gathered, cows are milked, and honey is harvested from the bees. The items reach warehouses where they are packed into crates and carried to the grocery market for you to buy – and eat. The book is a tribute to all who take part in this process from the very beginning to the very end.
— Katrina Yurenka, YSBR Moderator - Youth Services Book Review,
Before We Eat is a gentle, lovely introduction to good, nutritious, locally grown food and the people who make sure it’s there for us. We can all give thanks for that, and for this book.
— Anupama Joshi, Executive Director and Co-Founder, National Farm to School Network
— Horn Book Guide
A simple poem thanking the people who grow, transport, sell and prepare our food is transformed by Azarian’s bright woodcuts...
A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child. (Picture book. 2-6)
— Washington Post
With beguiling illustrations and a lovely spare text, this book will
inspire conversations with young children about the origins of their
food and start them on the path to being careful stewards of the
— Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., Co-founder, The Family Dinner Project, Associate Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School
Cultivating an attitude
of gratitude as a healthy thing to do. In recent years much has been
published about the numerous benefits of being grateful. The webmd.com article
on gratefulness says that gratitude reduces stress and boosts the immune
system, both of which improve quality of life all the way around. ...The
book is a thoughtful examination of where food comes from— that is before
is gets to the grocery store. …Pages show people engaged in every manner
of food production: plowing, planting, harvesting, milking, egg gathering,
packing and weighing crates, driving delivery trucks and cashiering at the
grocery store. It is a wonderfully inclusive and honest way to view food
— Jennifer Prince - Children’s Book Review, Citizen-Times, Ashville NC