Top Books For Farm Kids

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

There was an article in the Farm Futures magazine, March 2012 that listed some great books for kids.  After reading several of the notes and reviews about the books I would have to agree that they are very informational.  However, the age range on all of these books are not the same.  There are a few that are for the very small child filled with pictures and great drawings.  There are then the ones that talk about death and processing that might be reserved for the older of the siblings depending on how you raised your kids to understand life, death, and meaning of livestock.  These are some great books and a fairly decent price aside from the jaw dropping $80 for Pig05049.  I have not had the opportunity to read any of these books but I will probably start trolling around to see whats available for Google Books to download maybe a little cheaper. All the links provided for these books takes you to the Barnes & Noble pages since they were the only ones that I was able to find all the books at to keep things a little simpler and easier to purchase if you were to order more than one.

I hope the time and effort in putting this together was worth it to at least one person.  Reading an article in a magazine without an easy to click on link in today’s world is getting harder to remember later in the day, by putting this together, everything you need to know is right here.

If for some reason, any of the links don’t work or don’t take you to the book stated, please feel free to comment or shoot me an email and I will fix the problem as soon as I can.

Thanks again to everyone for stopping by, hope you have a great day!


The Beef Princess of Practical County – 3.65/5 stars – Paperback – 240 pages

After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan’s turn to shine at the Practical County Fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad pick out two calves for her to raise on her family’s cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father’s advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be auctioned off. After a few months of preparing for the Practical County Fair, Libby finds that she is growing closer to her steers with each passing day, and the pressure to win Grand Champion is mounting.

Luckily, Libby can count on her best friend to get her through most of the county fair chaos. Yet once reality sets in and she realizes that her steers will soon be sold to the highest bidder, the chaos in Libby’s heart becomes
too much to bear.

Oh Say Can You Seed? – 3.93/5 stars – Paperback – 48 pages

With the able assistance of Thing 1 and Thing 2 — and a fleet of Rube Goldbergian vehicles — the Cat in the Hat examines the various parts of plants, seeds, and flowers; basic photosynthesis and pollination; and
seed dispersal.

Pig05049 (info unknown) – After reading the brief description, I’m sure as a parent you might want to pick your own age range for your child on this one depending on where they fall in the understanding of life and death of an animal.  It sounds like a great book if the child understands what happens to livestock after their time is done.  A little on the pricey side as well… Starts at $81.96 @ Barnes&Noble

Christien Meindertsma has spent three years researching all the products made from a single pig. Amongst some of the more unexpected results were: Ammunition, medicine, photo paper, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain, cosmetics, cigarettes, conditioner and even bio diesel.

Meindertsma makes the subject more approachable by reducing everything to the scale of one animal. After it’s death, Pig number 05049 was shipped in parts throughout the world. Some products remain close to their original form and function while others diverge dramatically. In an almost surgical way a pig is dissected in the pages of the book – resulting in a startling photo book where all the products are shown at their true scale (1:1)

Farmer George Plants a Nation – 4.11/5 stars – Paperback – 40 pages

Besides being a general and the first president of the United States, George Washington was also a farmer. His efforts to create a self-sufficient farm at Mount Vernon, Virginia, mirrored his struggle to form a new nation. Excerpts from Washington’s writings are featured throughout the book, which also includes a timeline, resource section, as well as essays on Washington at Mount Vernon and his thoughts on slavery.

Soybeans: An A to Z Book – 0.00/5 stars – Paperback – 32 pages

Description of the book is not given, it just states that it is Awesome Agriculture for Kids!

Little Joe – 3.5/5 stars – 192 pages

It’s a cold December night and Fancy, the Stegner family’s cow, is about to give birth. Out pops Little Joe, a huge bull calf, and with him comes nine-year-old Eli’s first chance to raise an animal to show at next fall’s county fair. Over the next ten months, Eli, and Little Joe, learn some hard lessons about growing up and what it means to take on bigger responsibilities, especially when it comes to taking care of another living thing. But one thing Eli is trying not to think about is what will happen to Little Joe after the fair: it’s auction time, and he’ll have to sell Little Joe!

In this appealing and heartwarming story that’s reminiscent of James Herriot’s books, Eli comes to terms with some of the realities of life on his family’s farm, and in the outside world, as he raises his first bull calf for competition. Told in a straightforward and appealing text, brimming with lush details about the natural world of the farm, and with characters that are sure to appeal to readers, Eli’s story is one that may not be familiar to every kid, but the themes of growing up and learning some difficult lessons will appeal to kids and adults alike.

Who Grew My Soup? – 5/5 stars, 32 pages

Young Phineas Quinn is suspicious of the vegetable soup his mom serves for lunch. Phin declares he won’t slup a single spoonful until he knows where his soup comes from! Much to Phin’s surprise, a man in a flying tomato balloon shows up to answer this stirring question!

The Super Soybean – 3.00/5 stars – 40 pages

If there is any such thing as a “super” plant, that plant is the soybean. Used for an amazing variety of things—plastics, fuel, soap, and medicine—soybeans are also a healthy food source for animals and people.


   – I know a lot more than I thought I would ever learn about soybeans. I could have done without the section dealing with bugs that feed on the pods. Now I may never enjoy a soybean pod covered in salt again. This is a book for older children, probably fifth and sixth graders on up.

     – kids book about soybeans. Did you know that soybean plastics are both renewable and biodegradable.

Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More – 3.00/5 stars – 32 pages


 Farming has always been a mainstay of children’s books. Traditionally, agriculture has presented itself in the fantasy Old MacDonald’s Farm-style of picture books such asCow—even as small farming faded from the landscape. However, frequent exposes of factory farming practices and community battles over the construction of megafarms has made it much more difficult for the food industry to hide behind a rosy image. Thus, we have a troubling new trend exemplified by materials such as Clarabelle: children’s stories that whitewash the CAFO and attempt to persuade them that animals are thrilled to be kept in these highly artificial environments. 

This glossy picture book follows Cow #3557, given the amusing name of “Clarabelle” for the story. She is one of 1,200 cows on a mega-dairy farm. The text dwells on the pastoral fields that surround the dairy, but the aerial photo makes clear: this is a CAFO and the cows do not graze. The silage that the crowded animals eat instead of grass is called a “daily feast”. The text indicates that the cattle eat corn, which offers dense nutrients but also plays havoc with a cow’s digestive system. 

The story begins with Clarabelle and other cows giving birth. Not surprising, as the cycle of pregnancy and birth is central to a dairy cow’s life. However, it’s also not a coincidence that the calf is never again mentioned after two pages. If it’s a female, she’ll be raised in a hutch separate from the adult cows. If it’s a male, he will be sent to a vealer. Either way, Clarabelle won’t get to raise her offspring. 

CAFOs have been taking heat over environmental pollution as of late, so it’s probably not a coincidence that the authors chose a farm that comes with an anaerobic digester that turns manure into electricity. Presumably, this will lessen the chances of a devastating wastewater spill as documented in the recent book Animal Factory . At the same time, one can clearly spot a vast open manure lagoon near the digester—partially cropped out in a corner of the photo. 

So what’s right? Depicting fantasy farms as the source of our food supply, or heavily-whitewashed factory farms in an effort to gain support for a highly controversial method of farming? Ideally, educational materials would tell the facts without an agenda, and allow people—including kids—to make up their own minds.

The Hungry Planet – 4.52/5 stars – 288 pages

On the banks of Mali’s Niger River, Soumana Natomo and his family gather for a communal dinner of millet porridge with tamarind juice. In the USA, the Ronayne-Caven family enjoys corndogs-on-a-stick with a tossed green salad. This age-old practice of sitting down to a family meal is undergoing unprecedented change as rising world affluence and trade, along with the spread of global food conglomerates, transform diets worldwide. In HUNGRY PLANET, the creative team behind the best-selling Material World, Women in the Material World, and MAN EATING BUGS presents a photographic study of families from around the world, revealing what people eat during the course of one week. Each family’s profile includes a detailed description.


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