If you’re craving engaging nonfiction to share with your kids, Orion Township Public Library has a book that will satisfy the pickiest readers: From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate by Robin Nelson. It is arguably the yummiest title in the “Start to Finish” series by Lerner (although From Milk to Ice Cream sounds pretty good, too!) Simple sentences tell how cocoa beans are made into candy. I love that each page has basic information in bold letters (“Cocoa beans grow.”) and then a few short sentences with more information (“A farmer plants many cocoa trees. Hard pods grow on each tree. Inside each pod are seeds called cocoa beans.”) So if you’re reading to the very young, or those with very short attention spans, you can read just the bold sentences, but you have enough information to share with those who are ready for longer text. Great full-page photos explain and extend the text. Informational text features like a table of contents, an index, and a glossary make this a delicious introduction to how nonfiction books work.
Read From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate with your kids, then have them help write out the steps in the cocoa-to-chocolate process on index cards. Kids can then shuffle the cards and order the steps correctly - you can even hang a clothesline for kids to pin the steps in order. Include as few or as many steps as suits your child's needs. If you have the means, get cocoa beans for your kids to see and taste (they are a bit pricey, but I found an 8-ounce bag online for less than $10). To incorporate math and graphing skills, taste-test types of chocolate (dark vs. milk, etc.) and graph your family's favorites. From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate makes informational reading sweet!
For more book recommendations and activities, please visit: kristenremenar.com.