Winter Weather Closures and Extended Deadlines

All locations of the Des Moines Public Library will open at NOON Tuesday, January 26 for curbside pickup (and computers at Central Library) due to inclement weather. All holds pickup deadlines and due dates have been extended until Wednesday, January 27.

Reduced Services at All DMPL Locations

All Des Moines Public Library locations have reduced in-person services at this time. Browsing will be unavailable, and public computers will only be available at Central Library by appointment. Curbside Pickup will continue at all locations. Go HERE for all the details about this decision and to see our new hours, services, and offerings at each DMPL location.

Fun in the Kitchen: Kid's Cookbooks and Books About Food

Cooking Books

Spending time together in the kitchen is a great way to shake up the time you spend together as a family. When you cook together, you talk together, and kids can work on motor skills by scooping, pouring, and dumping. Writing out recipes together is a great way to work on spelling and writing as well.

Whether your child is excited about cooking or just wants to read about food, we have a great list of books here for you. Put holds on them and then grab them at Curbside Pickup!

New Children's Cookbooks

Complete Baking Book


The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs, published by America's Test Kitchen
Using tested and approved recipes full of sweet and savory flavors, this is the baking cookbook every young chef needs on their shelf.


First Cookbook


My First Cookbook: Fun Recipes to Cook Together, published by America's Test Kitchen
Another great book from America's Test Kitchen, this empowers the youngest of cooks to create simple afternoon snacks like English muffin pizzas, fun family meals like rice noodle bowls, and more.




Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Mouth-Watering Recipes and the Everyday Science That Makes Them Taste Amazing, by Liz Lee Heinecke
Science and food, all in one book? This awesome book explains both how to make tasty and colorful food *and* the science that makes it so fun.


Picture Books about Cooking and Food

Apple Cake


Apple Cakeby Dawn Casey
In this simple rhyming story, a child says thank you for the gifts nature provides, from hazelnuts in the hedge to apples from the tree, eggs from the hens to milk from the cow. Eventually, the family has enough ingredients to make something special ... a delicious apple cake!


Bread Lab


Bread Lab!, by Kim Binczewski
It's a sleepy Saturday morning for most people, but not for Iris, who has to feed her many pets before Aunt Mary arrives. Iris likes to call Aunt Mary "Plant Mary" because she is a plant scientist.

Today Aunt Mary wants to experiment with making whole wheat sourdough bread from scratch! As the family kitchen transforms into a bread lab, Iris is surprised that bread needs only four ingredients--flour, water, salt and starter. She also learns about the invisible microbes that make the dough rise, and how flour comes from wheat grown by farmers. It all seems magical, but it's really science.


Baby Cakes


Baby Cakes, by Theo Heras
Baby and his older sister are helping with the baking, but kitty wants to help too. After some mischief, messes, and minor mishaps, everybody gets to enjoy the treats together.


Salma the Syrian Chef


Salma the Syrian Chef, by Ahmed Danny Ramadan
All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn't know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are happy to lend a hand--and a sprinkle of sumac.


Bilal Cooks Daal


Bilal Cooks Daal, by Aisha Saeed
Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish--daal!--in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing.


Amy Wu


Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, by Kat Zhang
Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance. Will Amy ever make the perfect bao? Can she rise to the occasion?


Fry Bread


Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard
Fry bread is food. It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate. Fry bread is time. It brings families together for meals and new memories. Fry bread is nation. It might look or taste different, but it is still shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond. Fry bread is us. It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference. Fry Bread is a story told in lively and powerful verse by Seminole Nation member Kevin Noble Maillard, with vibrant art from Pura Belpre Award winner Juana Martinez-Neal.


Summer Supper


Summer Supper, by Rubin Pfeffer
From sowing seeds in spring to savoring succotash, follow the creation of a family meal from the farm to the picnic table on a warm summer evening. Told entirely in words beginning with the letter "s," this book will give children an appreciation for the process by which their food travels to the dinner table.


Children's Chapter Books

Yasmin the Chef


Yasmin the Chef, by Saadia Faruqi
Yasmin loves hosting parties! Music, friends, fun! But what she doesn't love is the spicy food her Pakistani family serves. Yasmin puts on her chef hat and plans to make her own amazing, fantastic soon as she figures out what that is!


Lights Camera Cook


Lights, Camera, Cook!, by Charise Mericle Harper
It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition.

What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on- and off-camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

Bonus: Includes real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef!


Summer of a Thousand Pies


Summer of a Thousand Pies, by Margaret Dilloway
When Cady is taken from her father's custody, she's ready for foster care again. But then her aunt Shell shows up. Over the course of a summer, she befriends members of their small town and helps Shell save her struggling pie shop. Cady shows a lot of courage and strength throughout, and her growth is realistically portrayed as she learns to open up to her new family. Her reactions reflect the journey of a child who has had to take on too much responsibility, and her story is inspiring and hopeful without oversimplifying Cady's experiences. The appended recipes for Cady's pies add a sweet touch to this tender coming-of-age story.


Doughnut King


The Doughnut King, by Jessie Jankowitz
Doesn't everyone love a good baking competition? If you or the kids in your life are into the hit show Nailed It! and if those kids have the entrepreneurial spirit, then this book is for you! When Tris tries to save his doughnut business and town by competing on a cooking show, will he have what a takes to win, or will he lose it all?

Published on July 30, 2020
Last Modified January 26, 2021