Skye Blackburn-Lang: Eating Bugs for the Planet is part of the Aussie STEM Stars series that aims to provide inspiring stories of our world-leading scientists and inventors. The title is the reason I picked up this book, I mean, who would want to eat bugs? I needed to read it to find out! I was hooked from the first few sentences: Skye never wanted a Barbie doll. She was too busy collecting insects at the creek.
The creative non-fiction/ biography follows Skye as she grows up and muddles her way through a range of jobs including water taste-tester, portable butterfly house operator, entomologist and food-science specialist. Skye’s first foray into making insects appealing to the general population was with a friend’s help. Who doesn’t love lollipops? Why not stick insects in lollipops? The caption says they look delicious, but I’m not quite convinced yet! A lot of people won’t eat a cricket, or ant, or mealworm, but if you can get past the ‘Ick Factor’, they’re delicious, and very good for you. Skye sold biscuits, ice-cream and cakes all with insects and insect powder in them. And people came flocking to get more.
Skye’s work to educate everyone on entomophagy (eating insects) is still a new concept for most Australians but ground-breaking within the food industry. There are full page colour photographs and illustrations throughout, as well as a selection of recipes at the back of the book.
This book will appeal to 10-13 year-olds, or those who are interested in bugs or cooking. I’m not 100% on board with eating something that has more than four legs; I’ve only ever eaten an insect by accident! But who knows, I might just try a Choc Chip Cricket Protein Cookie, or perhaps I could start with something small and sweet, like Real Ant Candy.