What the World Eats

Menzel, Peter, and Faith D'Aluisio. What the World Eats. 2008. 160pp. Lexile 1150.

This adaptation of Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, which was published for adults, features excellent color photographs and extra material geared to young people.  Photo-essays about 25 families in 21 countries list in detail the groceries they buy for a week, the cost of the groceries, and discuss the role of food and eating in the family’s life and society.  A small map pinpoints the country. Sidebars give population facts, a family recipe, and a field note from the photographer.  Photographs show the family and groceries as well as shopping, eating, preparing food, and more.  Broader sidebars explore topics such as access to safe water in the 21 countries; literacy rate; life expectancy; and more.  Two-page photo-essays highlight fish, street food, fast food, and kitchens.  This is an extraordinary look into daily life in other countries as well as the U.S.  Chapters can be read individually, out of order, making this good for researching and browsing.  It would also work to connect it with novels set in the 21 countries, which include all continents.  Back matter includes further reading, sources by country for the statistics cited, and an index.

Speaking Std #2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.  Students could combine photographs and video with information about their family or another family, and the food they eat, or on fast food use among their friends.  Using Menzel’s book as a model, they could also add graphics of statistics and/or surveys.