In celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to elementary students, with a focus on second grade classrooms.
This Year's Book
Tomatoes for Neela
Written by Padma Lakshmi | Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.
Author Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family’s treasured recipes and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal brings this circle of women to life with vivid detail and warmth. Tomatoes for Neela lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures and build communities through food.
How Does Agricultural Literacy Week (ALW) Work?
Adults volunteer to engage students in a paired hands-on activity related to the book to extend learning. The book will be donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and our celebration of New York Agricultural Literacy Week. In New York State, 2,300 books were donated last year while 75,000 elementary students participated in an experiential learning activity.
Start to finish the program takes approximately 40 minutes per classroom
Agricultural Literacy Week volunteers work with their county's coordinator to set up visits to local schools
Volunteers read the selected book aloud to the students.
Following the reading, volunteers conduct an activity with students and share their experiences in agriculture.
The book is donated to the school or classroom library for students to enjoy and reference throughout the school year.
All activity materials are prepared by NYAITC and schools get to keep a copy of the book for their school or classroom library.