Monday, October 21, 2013

To Market, To Market

Well, the fall weather has settled in and I'm realizing that another summer has flown by with fewer farmer's market visits under my belt than I would have liked.  I supposed I need to find a winter market to try!  On the subject of markets, I came across To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure (Harry N. Abrams, 2011) while doing some shelving one day and was intrigued.  I wasn't familiar with Nikki McClure's paper cut art until reading this book, and she has a new fan in me.  The book details a family trip to a farmer's market, and on the first page you see the list of items they're shopping for.  Then each subsequent two page spread goes into detail about that item, including how it is grown, harvested, made, etc.  For example, here is the page on honey:

McClure's beautiful paper cut art paired with a few paragraphs about how Benjamin (the honey-seller!) keeps the bees who make the honey.  Each page-long description ends with a thank you message for the person at the market responsible for selling each individual item.  Other market items included in this book were: apples, kale, smoked salmon, blueberry turnover, napkins, cheese.  At the very end of the book, readers see a whole family gathered around a table, enjoying a meal prepared with the items purchased at the market, while acknowledging the people and creatures who contributed to the meal. 

To Market, To Market is recommended for children between 4 and 8 years old, but I tend to try and think creatively to extend that upper age limit.  For a unit on studying community, this would be a great tool for students to use to learn more about the culture of farmer's markets, as well as to learn about where the foods they eat come from.  On a deeper level than, 'the store,' that is!  While I enjoyed the book, I also like most of the foods that were written about, which makes it easier for me to make a personal connection.  If this book were used in a classroom or school setting, it might be a good idea to find out if students would be able to relate before trying to have a discussion about salmon and kale with a bunch of kids who don't even know what kale is.  :)  If a group trip to a farmer's market was possible, this book would be a nice supplement to either prepare or debrief.  But all in all, for the right group or child, this book could provide wonderful insight into the world of beautifully fresh food. 

Here are some other ideas for books (fiction and nonfiction) about farmer's markets:

Farmers' Market Day by Shanda Trent, Tiger Tales, 2013, 4 to 8 year olds 
Farmers Market Measurements by Dawson J. Hunt, Capstone Press, 2011, 6 year olds and up
Farmer's Market: Families Working Together by Marcy R. Rendon, Carolrhoda Photo Books, 2001,
     4 year olds and up

And finally, the Portland Farmers Market website has scavenger hunts available to print out for kids to use while visiting a farmers market.  There are two scavenger hunts available, one for 6-11 year olds, and one for 12 year olds and up.  Now I'm totally inspired to find a winter farmer's market!  Happy hunting!

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