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Young Adult Nonfiction Cooking & Food


The Story of What We Eat

by (author) Paula Ayer

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Cooking & Food, General, Business & Economics, Environmental Science & Ecosystems
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


An indispensible guide for savvy teens to sort food myths from reality.

The everyday choices we make when it comes to food don’t just have an effect on us—they also affect other people and the planet.

Today’s teens are more attuned to what they eat and where it comes from than any generation before them. But there’s still more to know. Foodprints enables readers to do more than sort through the numerous messages they hear and read about food—they also get the big picture about food production, marketing, and its role in society. Readers will discover:

• How our food system evolved from hunter gatherers to on-line ordering
• How mega farms and factories came to produce the bulk of our current food supply
• How to work through confusing nutrition advice like good and bad carbs, as well as trendy superfoods such as kale, and fad diets
• The role of science in the modern food system, from improving safety and convenience to GMOs and artificial flavors
• Why food advertisers want teens’ attention and how they get it
• Stories about youth who are working to shape the future of food in positive ways, such as guerilla gardening and media activism.

Select photographs and amusing artwork that pops on the page complement this lively exploration which decodes the surprisingly complex subject of one of our most basic needs—the food we eat.

About the author

If you believe Paula Ayer’s parents, she was reading books by herself before she was three years old. She suspects they may be exaggerating, but she does remember spending much of her early years sitting on her favorite purple cushion next to the bookshelf, absorbed in stories of all sorts. By the time Paula was in fourth grade, she had read all the books in her elementary school library, so every week the librarian would walk her to the junior high school down the street, through crowds of intimidating teenagers, to borrow books from their library.Paula began her writing career several years later on her school newspaper, where her controversial horoscope column was the talk of the hallways. Other early writing accomplishments included a musical adaptation of Beowulf and a play about gerbils. After graduating, Paula defied expectations that she would pursue some kind of quiet, intellectual career by enrolling in the drama program at the University of Calgary. While she never fulfilled her dream of becoming a famous stage actor, her years in theater taught her the value of creative collaboration, along with helping her overcome her fear of making an idiot of herself in front of large groups of people.After receiving a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Paula moved to Vancouver and spent several years doing administrative work at a university. Sometimes her creative friends would ask her to write or edit things for their cool magazines and websites, and it eventually occurred to her that working with words might be something she could do. Without the nerve to actually try to be a professional writer, she went in the back way, taking a master’s degree in publishing at Simon Fraser University. She later worked as a freelancer—editing cookbooks and academic works, writing reviews and interviews, and crafting promotional copy to sell overpriced DVD sets—before joining the staff of Annick Press. At Annick she has been very lucky to work on a variety of books with talented illustrators, writers, and designers from across North America and the world. She has translated several children’s books from French, edited and art-directed books, contributed to revised editions, helped come up with ideas for new books, and even posed for a last-minute book cover photo.Paula’s book Ready, Set, Kindergarten! (Spring 2015) was written while her daughter was preparing to start school and was inspired by the idea that children develop the skills they need for school through play and everyday activities. Her book Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat (Spring 2015) comes out of her longstanding interest in food and the implications of what we eat, and was written to help teens make sense of the crazily confusing information they hear about food.Paula lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, daughter, and an ever-growing collection of stuffed animals.

Paula Ayer's profile page


  • Unknown, Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Unknown, Best Bets List, Top Ten, Ontario Library Association
  • Joint winner, EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards, California Reading Association
  • Short-listed, Lane Anderson Award finalist
  • Short-listed, Indiefab Book of the Year Awards finalist, Foreword Reviews
  • Short-listed, Norma Fleck Award finalist

Editorial Reviews

“Jaw-dropping fascinating and one of the best children’s non-fiction books I’ve ever read.”

Smart Books for Smart Kids, 01/28/15

“Ayer writes in a clear, open style, covering a great deal of information in easy-to-understand prose.”

VOYA, 06/15

“Timely, informative, and motivating . . . Classrooms across the country (and the world) should scoop this book up immediately.”

Foreword Reviews, 05/15

“A fun and informative approach to an essential topic.”

Booklist, 07/15/15

“A clever, must-read literary feast.”

National Reading Campaign, 07/10/15

“Accurate, absorbing, pertinent, and important: a desirable purchase.”

Kirkus Reviews, 04/15/15

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