Shannon Pappert of Guilford is the heroine of the chicken- nuggets-and-macaroni set. When her little boy was a baby, she discovered something that’s almost miraculous in the swing-set crowd: little children–“boddlers,” she calls them, the cross between a baby and a toddler–don’t have to be consigned to eating–well, yucky junk food that’s loaded with fats and sugars. Turns out, that when food is prepared in a fun, delicious way, kids like all the things that regular, big people like: even things like beets and kale and eggplant!
Shannon wrote a cookbook that’s as different from a regular cookbook as broccoli is from pizza. It’s a flip book, a recipe guide, a grocery store companion, and something that little children love to look at. It’s gotten lots of attention and love out there in the parenting/nutrition world, and has even inspired some heavy-hitters like Whole Foods market to think about children’s nutrition classes.
And now Shannon will be speaking at R. J. Julia Booksellers on Aug. 20th at 6:30 p.m. about how to feed your child good, fun, wholesome, happy-kid foods even when they’re back at school.
Call (203) 245-3059 to make reservations. Tickets are $5, which can be used toward the purchase of the book. And here’s Shannon to talk about her revelatory moment…and her wonderful flip book.
Tell us about your book.
Millions of parents struggle with the dilemma of “breast to bottle to baby food–and now what?”
Boddler Bites Food in a Flash, The ABC’s of Feeding your Boddler (older baby + younger toddler), is a flashcard flip book that solves the problem of what to feed young children after baby food that is both quick and nutritious. Children can learn the alphabet and find wholesome foods they’re eager to eat while parents are given 100+ recipe ideas to quickly prepare these healthy foods for their boddler age children.
Where did the germ of the story come from? How did you first know you were going to write this story?
The seed for Boddler Bites was planted while I was feeding my 5 month old son bananas from a baby food jar and glanced at my fruit bowl and saw a whole, yellow banana staring at me. Why was I feeding him something from a jar when there was real food right there? My passion for feeding my son the healthiest foods turned into countless hours of research and writing down my simple food ideas, for foods that he gobbled up. This continued past the baby food stage, when most busy parents fall in to the trap of buying and feeding their kids highly processed, prepackaged kid foods. When I saw my mom friends constantly asking for my recipe ideas,I knew I could help so many other frustrated parents.
What did you most want to get across to readers that they might not have known about before you wrote this book?
Children can love healthy foods including vegetables! Parents need to introduce these wholesome foods at the earliest age possible, so it becomes their normal “kid-food” and they’ll see that their kids are excited to eat quinoa, edamame, cauliflower and pumpkin pancakes, and lots of other things. A key component is that parents also need to be the role models and eat these foods with their children. That makes a huge impact on the child’s food choices.
Did this book come to you easily, or did you have to wrestle it to the ground once or twice? Did you ever give up on it?
The idea of a cookbook came very easily to me. However, if you are not a celebrity or married to one, cookbooks are very difficult to sell. I had to think outside the box. But I truly knew that parents as much as children needed to be taught the basics on nutrition and given a practical, non-intimidating food guide that was quick and easy. That’s when I thought of Food in a Flash, and how perfect the flash card format would complement this goal.
Was the research fairly easy to come by, or did you have trouble finding the sources you needed?
The research was easy because I was excited to continue to learn about the best foods I could offer my growing baby. Most of my research was done via the internet, nutrition books, wellness and trade magazines.
What has been the most satisfying thing about compiling this information and getting the book written?
All the “thank yous” I have received and hearing phrases like “My daughter now eats beets!” and “My kids are actually drinking kale!” I love it, knowing I had a hand in their developing healthy lifestyle.
What has happened since this book has been published? What kinds of reactions have you gotten?
I’ve had tremendous responses from national magazines and industry experts. Parents and Parenting Magazines both said Boddler Bites was absolutely “genius”, “a true service to parents” and Babytalk Editors said, “If we were Oprah, this would be one of our favorite things.” Even Rachael Ray hand-selected Boddler Bites as a Fave in her Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray! There’s been numerous television and radio interviews, blog write-ups and newspaper articles. Several Whole Foods stores have also started selling the flash cards and are even giving children’s nutrition classes based on Boddler Bites.
What’s next for you? Will there be a follow-up?
I’m not sure what’s around the corner, but I have a lot of ideas!