• Staci Hemesath, RDN, LD

Book Review: Little Sweet Potato

Just before spring break, when I realized that home schooling my children for an extended period of time was a real possibility, I went on a solo run to the local library and stocked up on books. 3 large bags full!

I have four children, 8 and under, and wanted to be intentional about the books I chose, knowing that the library would likely close to the public as the pandemic situation worsened.

Farm to ECE-themed books are always high on my list, especially this time of year when it’s easy to offer real-life connections to the stories being read. I also love books that teach character lessons because I appreciate any help I can get in that area! It seems that books have a way of reaching children better than parents can.

Little Sweet Potato was chosen without much investigation. In fact, it truly was judged by its cover! It had cute illustrations and it appeared to be about a vegetable…a likely choice by a registered dietitian mom with a passion for Farm to ECE. What a pleasant surprise of a book this turned out to be!

This story is about a young sweet potato who accidentally gets tossed out of its garden into a scary unknown world. As he rolls around into other garden patches looking for his home, he is met with rudeness from various fruits, vegetables, and flowers that don’t accept him due to his “lumpy, dumpy, bumpy” appearance. Just when he thought all hope was lost and accepted his lonely fate, he was met by a friendly voice who happened to be another sweet potato. This sweet potato brought him to a garden patch full of kind and accepting fruits, vegetables, and flowers that embrace others with differences. They welcomed him into his new home, where he finally felt happy and safe.

While readers are learning about how food and flowers are grown and what they look like, they are mostly learning about empathy and acceptance. My four-year old connected with Little Sweet Potato and felt really sad for him. He was so happy when the nice plants were kind and welcoming. This connectedness to the main character resulted in requests to read this book over and over. Each time, new observations were made in the illustrations and opportunities for real-life discussion about kindness arose.

Socio-emotional skills are some of the most important lessons we can teach in early childhood, so this book is definitely one to add to your library! Enjoy!

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