The Everything Kids’ Cookbook by Sandra K. Nissenberg

Hi everyone! Sorry for being away for so long. Almost done with this semester of school and I’ve been working hard trying to get everything caught up and a bunch of research done! Although this is late for Thanksgiving (sorry again!) I still wanted to post about a couple of cookbooks for kids that I have discovered. The first one is The Everything Kids’ Cookbook 2nd Edition by Sandra K. Nissenberg, M.S., R.D.

The Everything Kids’ Cookbook 2nd Edition by Sandra K. Nissenberg

One of the great things about this cookbook is that it introduces kids to cooking; safety tips, terminology (different directions found in recipes, ways to manipulate food, how to measure ingredients, etc.), and nutrition information (food pyramid, how to read a nutrition label, etc.).

Another great feature throughout this book are the games and activities for kids to do. Word “Scrambles,” fill in the blanks, etc. This may be a book you will want to either a) photocopy pages out of or b) purchase in order for a child to fill in the blanks themselves.

The recipes include difficulty levels, pictures of instruments needed to create the recipe (with their corresponding definitions, if it is not obvious, found in the first chapter), tips, vocab words to know (from cooking terms to foreign words having to do with cooking and eating), as well as fun facts and food trivia. Recipes include fun breakfast foods (like Poppin’ Popovers), lunches (like Mini Pizza in a Flash), snacks (for example, Parmesan Pita Chips), dinner recipes (like fettuccine alfredo with chicken (or not!)), sides (like sweetened baby carrots), deserts (like graham ice cream sandwiches), drinks (like grape ice delight), and some seasonal dishes (like Halloween spider bites). It has a little bit of everything for even the pickiest eater.

The recipes, also, are very basic. This is not a cookbook for adults for children: most adults will find the recipes very simple and obvious. It is literally meant for kids to use (with adult supervision, of course). The author has given the most basic recipes for kids to get their “cooking feet” under them and become masters of some very fun and easy recipes that everyone will enjoy eating.

The only negative I have found with this book is the listing of tools with each recipe. 1) Not all tools are always listed. 2) You often forget what the symbols are and must refer back to the glossary at the beginning of the book to remind yourself that this particular symbol is a dry measuring cup or a mixing bowl, etc. Not a huge deal (and most kids will probably know what the symbols mean better than parents), but it can get a bit irritating. It really does teach you, though, to prepare everything before you begin cooking. Other than that, I wish this book was in a hardcover format, but the soft cover makes it more affordable. I just am a believer that cookbooks should be in the most durable form out there :-D.

A fun book for those novice chefs in your life, it will help them build their recipe box and their confidence in their cooking skills.

Quick Facts:

Author: Sandra K. Nissenberg, M.S., R.D.

Series: “The Everything…” series includes many titles geared towards children in topics not only about cooking. Other cookbooks, though, include “The Everything Kids’ Gross Cookbook” and “The Everything Kids’ Cookbook 1st Edition.”

Publisher: F+W Publications, Inc. Avon, Massachusetts.

Youth Services Meeting and Last Day Blues

Hey all, sorry for being so tardy on posts. This end of the semester is kicking my behind! I promise to get up information about some awesome kids cookbooks I have found, but they may not be individual entries like before.

So just wanted to blog quickly about a great experience Jen and Kori exposed me to today; they invited me to sit in on the county-wide (I think) Youth Services meeting. It was a very interesting experience.

Kori and Jen presented on the Every Child Ready to Read program/system that they have invested in and done some “workshops” with parents on. I’ve known about this program since they received it at the end of the Summer, I’ve kind of “lived” it with them, but I didn’t really know that much about its history nor about its overall use to the OCPL system. I just thought this was something new they were trying out. It was awesome to be able to see them present to their peers, hear the questions asked of them, their responses, etc.

I then was fortunate to hear the entire group discuss the OCPL Five year Plan of Service that is about to be instituted in the county. Some of the points the group talked about, I thought, were not overly important (felt like it was nit-picky), other points however were extremely interesting. I won’t go into detail here (yet), because this plan of service hasn’t been approved yet, and issues discussed may be moot once the State gets its hands on the plan. However, the group dynamic is what really stood out to me.

There appeared to be a “click” of people with extremely positive attitude, those that were willing to be flexible and to look ahead. Then there were those that were extremely negative. Their body language alone spoke of their resistance to this plan and its was of measuring outcomes. Everytime someone spoke I would either overhear them or they would speak out something negative about an idea. Yes, we are all aware that there is no budget, yes we are aware that the state/county is asking a lot out of you. But does it kill you to try to find solutions to the problems? If the state is asking for outrageous demands wouldn’t it be better to show them that you are trying instead of sitting back on your heels and saying “nothing I can do?”

To be able to sit in a room of “professional” children’s librarians/youth services librarians and hear them discuss points and argue over ways of going about doing things was so fantastic! I would’ve never thought being in a meeting could be so enthralling. It’s how I know I’ve chosen the right profession, when I get excited to just be in a room full of people like that.

Tomorrow is, technically, my last day of internship. I still have some stuff to work on for my project that I’m going to do from home, but my hours are up. I am so sad to be “leaving” the children’s circulation desk. But, I’m so honored to have had this experience. It has been fantastic working with Kori and Jen and everyone here at the Manlius Library. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have taught me and all the opportunities they have given me. I’ve done a storytime, created a cultural pathfinder, worked on genre labels, gone on a school visit, participated in meetings, and have loved every minute of it. I will continue on with my paging duties so I will at least be continuing with an aspect of the library, but I will miss interacting with these kids on an almost daily basis. I’m hoping that the New Year will bring some great news, but I know that the library can’t just create money out of nowhere. Until then, at least I get to come a couple of days a week to this fantastic and awesome place!

The Best Halloween Ever – FINAL BOOK IN THE HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN!!

The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson

Even though I am a week late, I wanted to finish up the Halloween Countdown! I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween! I know I did! As with every year, nothing ever goes as planned, but I always have the time of my life!

The final book for this countdown is a classic, one that is fun to read-a-loud. The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson.

THE HERDMAN’S ARE BACK! Fans of Robinson’s other works will find this addition just as good as the rest! After a very Herdman-chaos filled summer, the final straw is when the juvenile delinquent family somehow traps eight kids into the revolving door of the local bank. A chain reaction occurs with the town’s elders, and they decide to cancel Halloween. Just as the children are preparing themselves for the worst Halloween ever, with no trick-or-treating, an “event” held at the school, and the embarrassment of their parents running around school dressed up as monsters and spooks, the Herdman’s have a surprise for the town and the kids that will turn this into the Best Halloween Ever!

This story is told through the eyes of Beth, the eldest daughter in a family of four. Her younger brother, Charlie, seems to be under the sway of the Herdman’s as he always ends up stuck in a revolving door, wallpapered to a wall, or in the boiler room. Beth’s tone is that of a fourth grader, with her insights often including past information on the Herdman’s exploits that really shows how horrible this family can be. Beth’s view of her peers vs. that of her parents is always refreshing. The parents are seen to be embarrassing (Beth is very worried her mother will somehow end up traipsing around th school dressed as a witch), know-it-all-ish, and very uncaring of what the kids want. The kids, on the other hand, are seen as intelligent and useful sources of information. Beth, clearly, trusts her friends more than her parents.

As always, it’s the antics of the Herdman’s that will draw readers in. They will wonder what they will do next, what they could be possibly planning to do at the Halloween party? The best twist, at the end, is that these kids do have a heart of gold. Though they are more concerned with getting back at the adults for attempting to make Halloween “Herdman-free,” they go about it in a way that will benefit the kids and make them really remember how great this Halloween ended up being.

I hope you have found some great reads during this spook holiday season with the help of his blog! Look for more posts in the upcoming weeks. I’m going to look at Children’s Cookbooks in honor of the food loving holiday of Thanksgiving that is just a few weeks away! Hope you’ll stop back in!

Quick Facts:

Author: Barbara Robinson

Ages: 1st-7th (younger kids will enjoy this being read-a-loud to them, while older kids will enjoy the images that this prose paints for them in their imagination).

Series: The Herdman’s and the folks of this quaint suburban town can be found in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever  and The Best School Year Ever.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher, New York, New York

NYLA Day #2 – Kids ROCK Your Library!

My second day at NYLA was much more low-key, but possibly better than the first day!

Myself and my two fellow librarians-to-be went to the 8am session of “Kids ROCK Your Library!” The Weedsport Junior Friends of the Library presented. Both the co-advisors and three of the junior officers (all sixth graders) were fantastic. I loved when the kids talked about their experiences, you could really feel how attached they were to not only their library, but to the group as a whole.

The Weedsport Junior Friends of the Library is quite a success story. Started about 10 years (give or take) ago, this group has expanded wildly. The group travels to the Washington D.C. National Book Festival every year (the kids even get to go to the press tent and interview authors), they’ve gone on trips to NYC to Scholastic and the New York Public Library, they’ve had many author visits, they’ve fundraised, helped keep their library clean, and even put on plays for the Red Hat Society (perhaps my favorite part of this story).

This is all accomplished by the kids. The advisors are literally that, advisors. They aren’t the organizers, the ones out stomping the streets, they show the kids how to do things and then let them out in the world. These kids raise all their own money ($350) to go to the National Book Fest, they do community service throughout their area to help not only their library but anyone who may call upon them, and they do this all of their own accord.

This group gave me so many good ideas that I hope to use some day. I mean, putting the power into a group of 3rd-8th graders may seem risky, but the Junior Friends are very realistic about what they expect out of each kid, and what happens if that kid cannot meet their expectations. That is, seemingly, the key to their success. I can’t wait to talk to Kori (Manlius Children’s Librarian) and give her the information I received from this session. Hopefully we may be able to use some of it to the benefit of the Manlius Children’s Library.

We then checked out the Saratoga Springs Public Library (seemed appropriate). They have a beautifully constructed Children’s and Teen Space. I loved their bookshelves and wished I could run out of their with about a dozen of them. They had taken some magazine bookshelves and used them to display their new picture books. I loved, also, how they had books on top of their shelves so that kids could see the pictures on the book covers, not just the spines.

I, also, “worked” the SU booth. I had a lot of fun talking to fellow students and those who organized SU’s presence at NYLA this year. I love how, whenever you are with SU personnel, you really do feel like you are accepted no matter who you are. The iSchool has a terrific group of people working for it to the benefit of both students and alumni.

Before we left I was able to do some minor sightseeing of Saratoga Springs as well. Myself and another of my fellow librarians-in-training took a windy walk through the Central Park and checked out the Carousel and the park in general. I wish that I felt safe doing that through parts of Syracuse, because there are so many parks that I would love to revisit and see again, but I would never dare walk alone in them or even in them period.

After another 2 1/2 hour journey home, I was so happy to see Megan. But, I have to say, I can’t wait for my next Conference. I learned so much from this experience and I can’t tell you how much I feel honored to be in a profession with the people who I met at NYLA 2011.

NYLA Day #1 – Sonia Manzano, Dave Lankes, and Great Food!

So with the help of an amazing professor and the accompaniment of two new fantastic librarians-in-training like myself, I’ve made it to my first conference. AND IT’S AWESOME!

So, today, woke up at 5:15am, showered and picked up my two fellow librarians-in-training. We proceeded to drive the 2 1/2 hours (give or take 1/2 an hour) to Saratoga Springs, NY to the 2011 NYLA Conference.

We were able to check-in, orient ourselves a bit, and then I got to go see Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street) talk at the Keynote Luncheon. It was very empowering and moving to hear her talk about early childhood education. It really reinforced my love of children and my passion to be a children’s librarian.

Sonia’s main message (at least to me) is that kids are resilient and adaptable and that they want to learn. That’s what makes them so fantastic! Their curiosity and compulsion of “why? why? why?” may be annoying to parents, but to an educator this is music to our ears. As people who often help shape young lives, it is up to us to not push these questions off and to not blow these kids aside. We shouldn’t pigeon-hole or label kids just because it is easy. We should always test ourselves to show them the world in new ways.

Sonia also talked about testing and how this creates problems for educators. As someone who does not deal with testing from an educator stand point but who hates tests vehemently (ADHD sufferers please stand up!) I could have stood up and applauded when she brought this up. Sonia said “testing is putting teachers in a bad position because they cannot see children as individuals.” HOW TRUE! Teachers care more about the tests than they do about the knowledge. It shouldn’t matter whether or not a child can take a test. It should only matter that this child has LEARNED something. The take away and life long knowledge is what is important. Not what they can spew out in thirty-five minutes on a sheet of multiple choice questions. Numbers are not knowledge, conversation and debate and critical thinking are.

The other great point that Sonia disscussed was the joy of children first learning to read. What I loved was that she highlighted not the struggle to read; the sounding out of letters and words, understanding the combinations. She highlighted that moment when it all “clicks.” When a child understands there is INFORMATION behind the words. Sonia said “learning to read is like when a string of Christmas tree lights turns on when you finally find the bulb that was burnt out.” I loved how she put this. How absolutely positively true. I don’t know if we are all blessed with remembrance of that moment when our string of Christmas lights turned on (mine was “Beauty and the Beast,” it suddenly all clicked one night when I was reading to my mom). But most of us either yearn for that moment with children or have had the joy of experiencing it with children. As someone who strives to be an innovative children’s librarian this is definitely a speech I will carry with me for a long time.

After Sonia I was able to hang out in the Trade Show. With my minor connections to the Manlius Library (particularly the children’s room) I really felt more comfortable at the Trade Show than I thought I would. First off, I only felt the need to approach vendors that I may be able to take information back to the children’s library with. Second off, many of the vendors knew of the Manlius Library and/or Kori and were happy to talk to me about pretty much anything I wanted to talk about. It was easier to converse with them by having some background and some grounds on which to talk. If I was just coming at them as a student who didn’t really want anything other than to chat about them because that I was supposed to do, I don’t feel my time spent at the Trade Show would have been as useful. I took much “swag” away with me after having many fun conversations and learning lots of new things about fun innovations that I could implement in a children’s library some day. Oh to dream big on that one!

After checking in to our hotel down the street, thinking we had time to get settled, and realizing it was 3:45pm and we needed to be back at the Conference if we wanted to hear Dave Lanke’s awesome speech (we already knew it would be awesome) we quickly headed back down the street.

Dave Lankes, as always, was Daveheart. I haven’t had the privilege of one of his talks in a long time, and as always, I left feeling empowered and that I have picked the proper profession.

Dave’s message, at least I felt, was some of his “same old” in that we are not in the “stuff” business but in the knowledge business. However, even though I’ve heard him talk on this before, his emphasis on community involvement really hit a chord with me, perhaps it’s because I’ve become more involved since the last I heard him talk. “You must work with your community in transformative social engagement” Dave implored us. Even though I haven’t thought about what I’m doing as that, HOW TRUE! One of the goals of librarianship is to make our communities better places, but how do we do that without involving our communities more? Librarians, in the past, have always decided what their communities needed. Slowly we have turned our backs to the crowd (loved that metaphor, stealing it from Dave) and not realizing that what we need is not in front of us (the “stuff”) but behind us (the “community.”) We need to turn back around and not only take from the community, but give back based on what we are taking from that community. We need to help give them what they are giving us. Even though it may not be what the library is “supposed” to be, doesn’t necessarily mean that the community isn’t craving this escape from the norm. In other words, rethinking the library should start with the community it is aimed at, not at what we think it should be.

Quite possibly my greatest take away from Dave’s speech was “…we don’t need collection development, we need connection development.” We need to stop thinking of our collection’s as our life source, as our means for existence. We need to think of the people and the space and atmosphere we provide to our people, our communities, as our top priority. Coming from a children’s library this is harder for me to wrap my mind around. Mostly because, the “stuff” is what the kids crave. But, I feel that at the Manlius Children’s Library, we have also been able to take the pulse of our kids and find out what they are craving. Is it picture books? Graphic novels? Computers? A coloring table? That, I believe, is why I love the Manlius Library. They are constantly taking the pulse of their community and trying to make the smallest improvements to make their space better for what their community wants.

To end our busy day me and my two fellow librarians-in-training went to this fabulous restaurant called Olde Bryan Inn. It was terrific food! Anyone looking for somewhere to eat, I highly recommend it. I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and it wasn’t at all like I expected and it was fantastic!

Now, exhausted, we all sit with our faces in our laptops, waiting for the appropriate time to go to bed. Tomorrow is another busy day. Going to another speech, working at the iSchool SU Booth (come visit), and then 2 1/2 hours to home! I do miss my Megan (who now has a signed copy of “Maria’s” picture book for Christmas) and Mom right now! But I’m so happy I came. I’m learning and gaining so much out of this experience.

One more thing, school and getting ready for NYLA have completely swamped me. I will be putting my last Halloween Countdown book up this weekend, I absolutely promise! I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween and are getting ready for Thanksgiving (not yet Christmas, no matter how much music they’ve started to play on the radio!).