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What the World Eats

Module 7 – Informational Nonfiction/Biography/SLIS 5420


D’Aluisio, Faith. (2008). What The World Eats. (P. Menzel, Photos). Berkeley, Toronto: Tricycle Press.


This book was easily one of my favorites this semester.  D’Aluisio and Menzel have done a phenomenal job with this project.  They traveled the world and ate meals with 25 different families in 21 countries across the continents.  The book is laid out like an upscale social studies text and makes an excellent social studies resource in the classroom or library. Each chapter shows a family and a week’s worth of food and lists how much the family spends.  Narrative includes details of family life, the society in which they live, habits, favorites, and limitations.  The book is chock full of graphs, charts, and facts about the world’s food, water, population, and other facts pertinent to food choices as well as wonderful color photos. The book emphasizes the effects of globalization on eating habits worldwide in a journalistic style.  With so many well-organized facts at their fingertips, readers can enjoy a personal look at the world’s resources and the differences and similarities of families like their own from across the globe.  The authors have brought together wealth of information in this beautifully formatted and accessible book about how we eat.


“Can too much information give readers intellectual indigestion? When is it better to graze through a book rather than consuming it in one sitting? Is it possible to make good-for-you information as delicious as (guilty) pleasure reading? The adapted version of Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (2005) raises all of these questions. Intended to inform middle-schoolers of the wide variety of food traditions as well as discrepancies in access to adequate nutrition, this collection of photos, essays and statistics will require thoughtful concentration. Adapted and abridged text, a larger font size, the addition of small maps and basic facts about each country and the deletion of some photos that might have been judged inappropriate or disturbing help to make the wealth of information accessible to this audience. The plentiful photos are fascinating, offering both intimate glimpses of family life and panoramic views of other lands. Whether used for research or received as a gift from socially conscious adults, this version offers children plenty to chew over–but it’ll take them some time to truly digest. (Nonfiction. 1114)”

Kirkus Review. (2008, July 15). Review of What The World Eats. Retrieved from


This book would be perfect for use in the upper elementary, middle, and high schools as a social studies resource and can be used to inspire further study (the comprehensive index is helpful, sources are quoted, but even better there is a “Further Reading” list in the endnotes.  A lesson or booktalk could be built around the book and it could be used in tandem with further information from the cited sources (such as CIA Factbook) and used to demonstrate a number of research sources and tools to students. Globalization and its effect on societies worldwide is a topic that can be mined with rich results for students, and the book could also be used when teaching nutrition or for a multicultural project.

Of note:

Book Links starred 10/1/08

Booklist starred 7/1/08

Publishers Weekly starred 9/1/08

School Library Journal starred 7/1/08


About mary's summer bookshelf

I'm studying to be a librarian at the University of North Texas and loving it. This blog is a class project and the first one I've ever written. The world of children's literature is diverse and rich. This class is opening up many worlds for me to traverse - I am a total YA fan now.

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