The Kids' Book Club Book - Reading Ideas, Recipes, Activities, and Smart Tips for Organizing Terrific Kids' Book Clubs

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Sample Recipes & Activities

A Taste of The Kids' Book Club Book

Have you ever wondered what Turkish Delight – the confection that bewitched Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – tastes like?  Would your book club enjoy making locker pockets out of jeans when you discuss The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?  How about trying your hand at soap carvings like the ones left in the knothole of a tree in To Kill a Mockingbird?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on!  The Kids’ Book Club Book is chock-full of recipes and activities paired with top book club titles.  To whet your appetite, here’s a sampling.


Sample Recipe

Kachumber (Tomato and Cucumber Salad)
paired with Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (Harper Collins, 2000)

While researching Homeless Bird, Gloria Whelan came upon this recipe for Kachumber, a tangy Indian relish, and it has since become one of her favorites.  Whelan enjoys Kachumber as a cooling accompaniment to spicy curry dishes, but it also makes a delicious salad on its own.

Notes:   Adjust the amount of chiles to the taste of the group. 

Wear plastic or rubber gloves while handling the chiles to protect skin from the oil in them.  Avoid direct contact with eyes, and wash hands thoroughly after handling.

2 tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3 scallions, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and diced (see note)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Cilantro leaves, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, adding cilantro leaves and salt to taste.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Yield:  4 servings as a salad, 6-8 servings as a relish


Sample Activity #1

Egg Babies
Paired with The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (Simon & Schuster, 2003)

When considering an activity to connect with the parenting theme in The First Part Last for her middle school book club at the Southwest County Library in Boca Raton, Florida, Karyn Dombrosky recalled the egg babies she made as a child.  “I wanted the teens to gain an understanding of the life Bobby chose, and I felt making egg babies, which are so delicate and must be named and protected, would allow them to connect a little with Bobby’s situation,” says Dombrosky.
Dombrosky found instructions for making egg babies on the Internet.  First, she “blew out” eighteen eggs.  Then she dipped them in a vinegar solution to clean them and remove any odors and set them back in their cartons to drain and dry. Dombrosky started four or five days in advance of the meeting to check the stability of the eggs over time, but she says the process could be done the day before the meeting, as long as the eggs are completely drained out and dry.  At the meeting, she set out decorating supplies, including markers, sequins, and bows, and participants drew faces on and decorated their “babies.” 

To make carriers for the babies, Dombrosky found small plastic containers, but she says other objects, such as small empty berry cartons, could be used.  Participants made handles for the carriers by punching holes in the sides of the containers and threading pipe cleaners through.  As a finishing touch, kids made “blankets” for their babies out of pieces of felt.  Dombrosky says the project was a big success.  “Even several days after the program, I saw teens carrying their egg babies with them.  I was happy to see that no one regarded it as just a silly egg but as something to take care of,” she says.

Bring the eggs to room temperature so the insides liquefy and will be easier to blow out.   Prepare the eggs at least one day in advance of your meeting so they have time to dry. 

Raw eggs, one per person (see note)
Large sewing needle or safety pin
2 mixing bowls
Googly eyes
Decorations (ribbons, lace, buttons, sequins, cotton balls, macaroni, feathers, glitter, fabric, yarn, or jewelry)
Small containers (optional)
Pipe cleaners (optional)
Felt (optional)

To prepare the eggs:

  1. Wash and dry the egg.  Use the needle or pin to puncture a small hole at the small end of the egg.
  2. Puncture another hole at the large end of the egg, and use the needle or pin to enlarge the hole to about 1/8 inch in diameter.  Try to puncture the egg yolk by swirling the needle or pin around in the hole.
  3. Hold the egg gently over a mixing bowl with the large hole facing down, and blow firmly on the other hole until the insides have all come out.
  4. In another mixing bowl, make a solution of half vinegar and half water.  Immerse egg completely in the solution, and allow the inside to fill partway.  Shake the vinegar solution around in the egg, and blow it out. (Vinegar will fade brown eggs.  If you’d like to lighten the color of your eggs, let them sit in the vinegar solution for a few minutes.  Make sure to completely immerse the egg in the solution or you will end up with rings on the egg where the air and the mixture meet.)
  5. Set the egg back in the egg carton with the large hole facing down.  Allow to drain and dry for one day.  Repeat steps 1-5 for all eggs.

To make the “babies”:

  1. Set out markers, glue, and art supplies.  Allow participants to decorate their “babies.”
  2.  If desired, make baby carriers out of small containers, attach pipe cleaners for handles, and cut “blankets” out of pieces of felt.


Sample Activity #2

Test Your Memory
Paired with Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Macmillan, 1987)

Cynthia Richey put the observation and memory skills of her Just for Guys Book Club to the test at the Mt. Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Public Library when the group discussed Hatchet.  “Brian survived by being observant,” explains Richey.  “It’s important to observe carefully, and to see things you might not recognize, and to remember what you’ve seen.”

Richey placed about twenty-five objects of varying sizes on a large tray, including dice, a pen, a mitten, a paperweight, a plastic action figure, a leaf, an acorn, a screwdriver, and a clay pot.  She placed the tray in the center of a table and asked participants to observe the tray for one minute and try to remember what they saw.  She then removed the tray, handed out paper, and asked participants to write down everything on the tray.   “Everything came from the library, and one dad’s strategy for remembering was to think about what objects one would find in a library,” says Richey. “The boys did a little better than the dads, which tells you something about the aging memory!” 

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