Peanut butter and jelly will be used to help educate Virginia children about agriculture.
That’s because PB&J Hooray! by Janet Nolan was selected as the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2020 Book of the Year. Volunteers will read it in classrooms across the state during the annual AITC Agriculture Literacy Week, March 9-13.
The book traces the paths of grapes, peanuts and wheat as they make their way from the field to a lunchtime favorite. Starting in the kitchen, the story works back through the shopping, delivering, producing, harvesting, farming and planting processes.
“We look for books that portray an accurate view of modern agriculture,” explained Lynn Black, Virginia AITC education coordinator. “We also take care to make sure that the book is written at an appropriate read-aloud level for our predominantly pre-K through third-grade audience.”
Virginia AITC began celebrating Agriculture Literacy Week in 2011 and is now in its 10th year. It is the program’s largest educational event, with approximately 2,000 volunteers reading to 60,000 children statewide. The week provides students with an opportunity to learn about agriculture, farming and the sources of their food.
“As generations continually become more removed from the farm, it is important to help connect children to the source of their food and fiber,” Black said. “It is Agriculture in the Classroom’s goal that during Agriculture Literacy Week children will gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the role of agriculture in their daily lives. We also benefit from connecting those in the farming community with their local schools.”
Copies of PB&J Hooray! are available for purchase at $10 each. Book order forms are located on the AITC website at AgInTheClass.org. In addition to the book, volunteers also will receive an educational toolkit containing reading tips, coloring pages and other complementary activities.
Volunteers are encouraged to share agriculture’s story by reading the book to children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.
“Each year we gain more readers and partner organizations eager to participate,” Black noted. “Because of the popularity of the program, we encourage readers to coordinate with others in their area.”
Agriculture Literacy Week volunteers include county Farm Bureau volunteers, participants in Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Women’s Program and Young Farmers Program, FFA and 4-H members, partners from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other state agencies, and members of other agricultural organizations and businesses. Colonial Farm Credit, Farm Credit of the Virginias and Southern States Cooperative Inc. have been major supporters as well.