The best books on potatoes

1 authors have picked their favorite books about potatoes and why they recommend each book.

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Potato Pants!

By Laurie Keller,

Book cover of Potato Pants!

I adore Potato Pants! It’s laugh-out-loud funny, has hilarious illustrations, entertaining asides, and is the best example I’ve ever seen of effortlessly and humorously modeling how to make amends when you’ve gotten something wrong. Having a potato as the main character is brilliant, and the way he instantly assumes the eggplant has negative intentions is extraordinarily relatable. I wish I’d had this book when I was teaching elementary school. My students and I would have had a good laugh, followed by a good conversation.


Who am I?

Over my career as an elementary school teacher and a science educator I’ve seen time and time again that no matter the topic, learning happens best when people feel positive and engaged. My favorite books to share with young readers are those that capture their attention–be it with stunning illustrations, unusual information, or hilarious situations–and leave them with a strong emotional connection to the characters or story. Now, as I read oodles of picture books for writing research, I keep an extra special eye out for those that leave me smiling and also make me think. Some of my very favorites are collected for you here.


I wrote...

Rat Fair

By Leah Rose Kessler, Cleonique Hilsaca (illustrator),

Book cover of Rat Fair

What is my book about?

When a group of industrious, fun-loving rats find letters fallen from an Art Fair sign, they put the sign back together—with one small adjustment—and get to work creating a spectacular Rat Fair. Their fair is ruined when humans sweep away everything the rats have created. Undaunted, the rats switch gears and start working on their very own Rat Art Fair. As they are wrapping up their first day of the Rat Art Fair, a human child who has been following their progress from the sidelines catches them red-handed, and the rats must decide if they can trust the child.

A nearly wordless tale about creativity, kindness, and perseverance.

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden

By Carron Brown,

Book cover of Secrets of the Vegetable Garden

​When I was very small, planting peas in the garden with my grandfather, I felt like a sorcerer's apprentice being initiated into a realm of magic. Carron Brown's Secrets of the Vegetable Garden brings me back to that age of wonder by setting up mysteries to solve. Holding pages up to the sunlight reveals the answers to mysteries and riddles, and shows us what is secretly happening: potatoes growing under the earth, or seeds forming inside a fruit.


Who am I?

When offered a plot at the community garden, I thought it would be fun to invite other families to learn to grow food together. As a science teacher, I knew that for toddlers, digging in the dirt and growing plants for food could plant seeds for a life-long love of exploring nature, hands-on science inquiry, environmental stewardship, and joy in healthy eating. As we gardened, I noticed what questions children and their parents had, and how we found the answers together. I wrote the picture book How to Say Hello to A Worm: A First Guide to Outside to inspire more kids and their parents to get their hands dirty. 

I wrote...

How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside

By Kari Percival,

Book cover of How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside

What is my book about?

If you want to learn to garden, where do you start? In this picture book, How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside, toddlers and preschoolers model joyful first steps. While visiting a community garden, these tiniest teachers share tips such as how to plant peas, how to build a twig trellis, how to know which strawberries are ready to pick and eat, and how to navigate an encounter with a bee. These small scientists observe cause and effect, ask questions, and explore the dirt to find their own answers. Readers will feel empowered to grow food plants and learn from each other as the growing season unfolds to a joyful harvest.

The Wall

By Marlen Haushofer,

Book cover of The Wall

Ok, so the protagonist of this book isn’t really a “girl” – she’s a grown woman – but I still think this is a great book for anyone in their mid-teens and up. I’m fairly sure it was another second-hand bookshop find, because how else would I have come across a 1963 post-apocalyptic novel by an Austrian author that didn’t have an English translation until 1990? An unnamed woman finds herself stuck behind an invisible wall in the Austrian mountains after a possible nuclear event; a dog, a cow, and a cat are the only other apparent survivors. It’s eerie and completely gripping, and the ending really shook me up. 


Who am I?

My family moved around a lot when I was younger, which may explain why I’m fascinated by the experience of being an outsider. To me, it’s not a bad thing; being on the outside can sometimes help a person to see things more clearly, to think more critically and creatively. The year I spent living in a country where English wasn’t the main language was one of the most stimulating periods of my life, because I was so attuned to all the tiny details that other people took for granted. Plus, as teenagers, everyone feels like they’re on the outside looking in – which is probably why all of my books have contained some coming-of-age element. 


I wrote...

Once, in a Town Called Moth

By Trilby Kent,

Book cover of Once, in a Town Called Moth

What is my book about?

Anneli has lived in a small Mennonite colony in Bolivia her whole life—until now. She and her father have packed their bags, changed their names, and fled in search of her mother, who disappeared when Anneli was five. Arriving in Toronto, Anneli has to fend for herself in an alien environment, isolated in a big city with no idea how to navigate the unspoken codes that come with being fourteen and in high school. Torn between two worlds, she is troubled by the things she and her father have left behind—a vanished town, a long-ago crime—but determined to find her mother: the one person who might be able to tell her just what it is they’re running from.

If You’re Stronghearted

By Edward MacDonald,

Book cover of If You’re Stronghearted: Prince Edward Island in the Twentieth Century

If all you know about Prince Edward Island is that it’s a pretty tourist destination, you will be surprised by this book. The author tells the story of PEI in the 20th century with great flair. Along the way, readers learn about the people, events, and influential forces that shaped Island life over that era. We find out not just about seed potatoes, fox farming, ferry boats, and fixed links, but also about the troubles brought by economic depression, outmigration, and regional disparity. Two world wars also figure into the story. In a nutshell, If You're Stronghearted describes both changes and continuity within the distinctive Canadian province. The book features a wonderful selection of images.  


Who am I?

This marks the second time Jesse Francis and I have collaborated to explore an aspect of Prince Edward Island history. Our first book—Ni’n na L’nu: The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island (2013)—won three prizes. We hope this new work, which presents aspects of the history of the Mi’kmaq along with those of French, Acadian, and British colonists, will be welcomed. We think it important to bring together—rather than separate—the many strands of our shared past.


I wrote...

Ancient Land, New Land: Skamaqn - Port-La-Joye - Fort Amherst

By A.J.B. Johnston, Jesse Francis,

Book cover of Ancient Land, New Land: Skamaqn - Port-La-Joye - Fort Amherst

What is my book about?

Our book about this single, triple-named historic site across the harbor from Charlottetown, PEI, presents multiple stories. As Skmaqn, the location was long known to the Mi’kmaq, Prince Edward Island’s Indigenous people. As Port-la-Joye, it became the first permanent European settlement on Île Saint-Jean (PEI) in 1720. French and Mi’kmaq leaders met there to renew their friendship and military alliance. Then, in 1758, the British proceeded to erect Fort Amherst and begin a mass removal of the French and Acadian population.

Nearly half of the Acadians shipped to France perished due to onboard illnesses and shipwrecks. Finally, this area was the headquarters for the Island-changing survey led by British engineer, Samuel Holland. Richly illustrated, including art specially created for this publication, Ancient Land, New Land presents PEI’s early history in a fresh new way.

This book is available here.

Blood Oath

By Kelly St Clare, Raye Wagner,

Book cover of Blood Oath

This was the first book I read from these authors and it completely captivated me. Drae, a seemingly normal woman plunged into an utterly abnormal–and dangerous situation–it was a completely binge-worthy series and one I re-read. The tension between the two main characters as they fight to deny what is between them is delicious


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with high fantasy since the moment my grandmother first presented me with Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Then, add in a Nora Roberts book when I turned sixteen, and voila, my love for all things fantasy romance was born. I crave tension, romance, sizzle, and some epic fight-to-love scenes that make my blood run hot. When I started writing, I knew the exact genre I wanted to focus on–romance. All. Things. Romance. Fantasy, paranormal, contemporary–I enjoy writing them all but in every single one of my stories there lies a thread of fight–of sizzle–because what’s a happily ever after if you don’t have to work for it?


I wrote...

The Last Ward: A Dark Fantasy Romance (Cambrexian Realm)

By Jessica Wayne,

Book cover of The Last Ward: A Dark Fantasy Romance (Cambrexian Realm)

What is my book about?

His legacy is drenched in her blood. Daxon Ward has never wanted anything to do with the legacy of his bloodline. But when his brother follows in their father's footsteps and joins the realm's greatest protectors, Daxon swallows his hatred, and returns to the one place he swore he'd never set foot in again. The academy comes under attack, and Daxon crosses paths with the realms' most notorious assassin.

She's out for blood. Hell-bent on destroying the same man who turned her into a monster, Sienna uses a Guardian ceremony to sneak inside the otherwise impenetrable walls of the academy. Only, it's already under siege. She may be the only one with the power to save them all, but only if the man she's hunting doesn't find her first.

The ebook is permafree.

Summer Cookery

By Rohini Singh,

Book cover of Summer Cookery

It’s an interesting cookbook concept because it has been aimed at the Indian market where the summers are extremely hot and one would feel less inclined to spend long hours over a hot stove in the kitchen. However, the recipes include cooling dishes using seasonal fruits and vegetables but with an Indian twist. My favourite is the non alcoholic Party Punch which uses Indian oranges and chikoos which look like potatoes but have a soft brown edible flesh. 


Who am I?

Growing up as an Asian girl in the UK has its ups and downs. I was bullied at school but sought solace in cooking and learning from my mother about Indian cuisine. Now in my adult life, I’ve been awarded the British Empire Medal for cooking services to the community during the pandemic. A straightforward approach to cuisine has won me fans globally and a TV series broadcast to over 80 million viewers cooking British dishes for an Indian audience. After writing 6 books on the subject of easy cooking, I hope you like the choices on my very personal list which are dog-eared and spice stained with overuse and love. 


I wrote...

Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

By Manju Malhi BEM,

Book cover of Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

What is my book about?

The Easy Indian Cookbook is a book that’s sold globally even in India and does what it says on the cover. There’s an image of the dish for each recipe and at the back there are menu suggestions on what to cook and how to plan your cooking schedule. This globally sold cookbook has also been translated into several languages and I still refer to it as my Indian cooking guide whenever I teach novice spice cooks.

The Garden of Invention

By Jane S. Smith,

Book cover of The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants

Gardening, whether in a backyard or a hundred-acre orchard, is an audacious attempt to improve on nature, and Smith’s fascinating hybrid of biography, history, and botany brings to life the most audacious of them all. The only biography on my list, I’ve included it because, in an age where we might be forgiven for thinking it takes millions of corporate dollars and genetic engineers to produce a new plant, The Garden of Invention reminds us how one man’s singular determination, patience, and brilliance can change the world. And produce the perfect potato for McDonald’s French fries.


Who am I?

William Alexander’s best-selling gardening memoir, The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden has been praised for its fresh, humorous, and honest take on home gardening. The books he’s selected similarly break the mould for garden books, featuring rabid rose gardeners, an obsessive breeder, and a Czech playwright.


I wrote...

The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden

By William Alexander,

Book cover of The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden

What is my book about?

Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a cost-benefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.

Alpha Beta Chowder

By Jeanne Steig, William Steig,

Book cover of Alpha Beta Chowder

Jeanne Steig wrote a giddy delightful poem for each letter of the alphabet. The poems are replete with weird and wonderful words. The goofy illustrations by William Steig tickle your eyes. One of my favorite poems is "Mishmash". Notice all of the many M words in Mishmash: mallet, misguided, minimize, mix, milk. Could Myron majestically mash potatoes? Mmmm, no.

Mishmash
Making mashed potatoes, Myron?
Must you mix them with the hammer?
This bizarre, misguided method
Causes quite a katzenjammer.

Might you add the milk and butter
In a more majestic manner?
Might a mallet not be better?
That would minimize the clamor.


Who am I?

I have been creating picture books for 30 years. Picture books are a combination of words and language - that’s what I am drawn to. I love vivid language and art that tells stories. I love wordplay and cornball puns. I savor a perfectly crafted sentence in proper English, but I am not a stickler for perfect grammar. I like slang, pig-latin, and mistakes. I enjoy the sound of languages that I know and that I don’t know. I hope that you enjoy all of these wordy books, including mine.


I wrote...

The Wordy Book

By Julie Paschkis,

Book cover of The Wordy Book

What is my book about?

This book is a collection of paintings made up of words upon words, all moving, interacting, and creating a visually stunning and wordy universe. Each page contains a question to be answered with the words that lie within. What happens when words and pictures coexist in such a way, bump into one another, are in constant conversation?

The Wordy Book is an invitation to play with language.

Heartburn

By Nora Ephron,

Book cover of Heartburn

This semi-autobiographical novel follows the romantic misadventures of food writer Rachel, whose husband has fallen in love with another woman. Lost between wanting him dead and wanting him back, Rachel shares her favourite recipes to heal the heart along with hilarious one-liners. 

Be ready to crave mashed potatoes with this absolute classic in the genre. If you’re still unsure, the audiobook is read by Meryl Streep, who also starred in the movie aside Jack Nicholson.


Who am I?

I’m a French-born, London-based novelist and food writer. As an author, I have nurtured my voice at the kitchen counter, where I find language loosens up and as a reader, cookbooks, food memoirs, and novels sit in one pile on my bedside table. Food is never not political and I find that its depiction is a wonderful narrative tool, for plot development with the setting of a meal or to portray a character through ingredients for examples. The relationship between food, culture, and writing is something I also explore with my podcast, book club, and culinary community The Salmon Pink Kitchen. Happy reading, and bon appétit! 


I wrote...

The Yellow Kitchen

By Margaux Vialleron,

Book cover of The Yellow Kitchen

What is my book about?

London, 2019. A yellow kitchen stands as a metaphor for the lifelong friendship between three women: Claude, the baker, goal-orientated Sophie, and political Giulia. They are chasing life and careers; dating, dreaming, and consuming but always returning to be reunited in the yellow kitchen. That is, until a trip to Lisbon unravels unexplored desires between Claude and Sophie. 

A novel of belonging and friendship, The Yellow Kitchen is a hymn to the last year of London as we knew it and a celebration of the culture, the food, and the rhythms we live by.

The Courage to Start

By John The Penguin Bingham,

Book cover of The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life

John “The Penguin” Bingham’s words of inspiration were exactly what I needed when I began to run as an “adult-onset athlete” (his words.) His books are funny and inspirational, informative, and well-written. This is by far my favorite of his many books. Those early months were tough but some days, courage is what it still takes to keep myself out there on the trails and roads.


Who am I?

I'm a best-selling author featured in the Wall Street Journal, mental health advocate, certified meditation-leader, wife, and dog-mom. And I run. Every runner has heard, "I never run unless I'm being chased." Right. But runners don't run because we have to. We run because we can or, more often, because we must. It's a powerful mental health tool. I also write books: the award-winning running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing, and, available for preorder, Make Every Move a Meditation. I live in central Ohio with my husband and biggest fan, Ed, and our yellow Labrador Retriever, Scarlet.


I wrote...

Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink (Running Can Be the Best Therapy for Depression)

By Nita Sweeney,

Book cover of Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink (Running Can Be the Best Therapy for Depression)

What is my book about?

Can running save your life? This memoir explains how running saved mine.

Nearing my 49th birthday, I was chronically depressed, overweight, grief-stricken, and couch-bound. Then, I saw a high school friend’s social media post: “Call me crazy, but this running is getting to be fun.” Running? Fun? I watched for months until desperation caused me to leash up our yellow Labrador retriever, walk to a secluded area of our neighborhood, and jog for sixty seconds. Two years later, at 51, I ran my first marathon. But the emotional transformation outshines any physical progress. I went from a woman contemplating suicide to one who wanted to thrive. In running, I found the piece missing from my wellness toolkit. It’s never too late to chase your dreams!

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