Monthly Archives: June 2011

Taste Eurasia: Teen Summer Reading Program 2

When I heard our theme for the teen Summer Reading Club would be about traveling the world, I knew I wanted to feature a program about foods of the world. Teens love programs where we have real food and not just snacks, and last year we had a huge turn out for our healthy snack program. So this summer we are doing another cooking/food program. I was going to do the whole world, but was required to narrow it down to one area by the main children’s department. Eurasia is both Europe and Asia, so a lot of food options. It took a while to think of foods that would work–where we would have enough time to show the teens how to make it as well as be able to make enough ahead of time so that teens can have samples. I’m hoping the recipes I selected will work for the teens, and that we have a good turn out, but not so much that we run out of food!

Our menu is composed of four recipes from different parts of the world. We’ll be tasting two European dishes and two Asian dishes, two savory and two sweet. Besides making and eating the food, teens will also get the recipes and be encouraged to try these at home.

The first recipe is a spicy carrot salad, typical of Russian summer salads it is sort of a coleslaw type salad. I plan on grating the carrots the day before and mixing the dressing into the salad that morning. We’ll make up a batch at the program, but it really needs to sit so the flavors can set for about 4 hours. I have a fellow staff member who also has a food handler’s permit so he can dish this out, and I bought portion cups from Costco to serve this in. This is VERY easy to make.

Next we’ll be making our second savory dish, Onigiri. This rice balls are a little daunting to make for a group like this, I made a bunch for myself and found it to be very labor intensive and they don’t keep well. But I really wanted to include this as a very typical dish. So I’m going to get two rice cookers and prepare rice and have the teens help make them. Using the portion cups, a little plastic wrap, and spritz bottles, teens will shape their own onigiri. It is pretty easy to make, cut out a piece of plastic wrap, fit into the bottom of the cup, spritz with water, shake off excess, shake a little salt on, shake off excess. Then put a scoop of rice in the bottom, stick in a little filling (we have chopped olives, pickles, or a little tuna salad) and put more rice in. Then twist the top of the plastic closed, getting out all the air, squeeze the ball into shape. Add a little nori to wrap, and eat!

Staying in Asia, we’ll have our first dessert. Mango Kulfi is a traditional frozen treat from India. I found an easier recipe, and will make a TON in ice cube trays, so each teen can have some. We’ll mix up a batch at the event, even though it wont freeze in time to eat, just so we can learn how to make it.

Our final dish is crepes. I’ve got a hot plate, a crepe pan, and a good recipe for batter. Add nutella and bananas and you could be eating from a vendor in Paris! I’m going to do this last so teens can sample the other things we’ve made while I make enough crepes for the participants, though we plan on dividing them so folks can try a bit.


Doggie Senses

Meya’s cloudy eyes can hardly see, but she uses all of her other senses to figure out what is going on. Here she is smelling something going on in a neighbor’s yard:

Listening to what is going on:

After this we played fetch, she sniffed out the toys–though sometimes it took a LONG time for her to find it.

Away We Go!

Traveling is something I enjoy in principle, though the logistics and finances of getting out the door can be tricky. It should be a fun theme for a program.

We’ll open with welcoming the participants and asking them if they’ve signed up for the Summer Reading Program, if they’ve been doing their reading, and if they’ve claimed their prizes if they’ve been reading. It is amazing how many kids come to programs, but haven’t signed up yet. I also like to remind kids when the next activity will be, since they are alternating weeks.

After making announcements, I want to plug a few books on the topic, to encourage kids to keep reading and learning. Travels with My Family, Safari Journal: The Adventures in Africa of Carey Monroe (Aspca Henry Bergh Children's Book Awards (Awards))

Following these book talks, we’ll send the toddlers and younger kids off for their own storytime. The older kids will stay and we’ll start our adventure!

We’re planning a trip around the world, and all the kids are invited. Taking Trains, Plains, and automobiles, we are going to see the world. While encouraging kids to think of their own adventures, I’m going to share some details of a world adventure I went on as an example.

First we have to decide where we’re going to go–what stops should we make, what we should see there, how long we should stay, and how we are going to get there. It is possible to circle the globe in many ways, stopping at lots of different countries, or just a few.

On my world wide trip, I stopped in Boston, USA; Milan, Italy; St. Petersburg, Russia; Moscow, Russia; Ekaterinburg; Russia, Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia; Beijing, China; and San Francisco, USA. When planning your trip, you need to know how long it will take to get from one stop to the next, as well as how long you want to stay in each place. For instance it is a 7 hour flight from Milan to St. Petersburg, traveling 1318 miles and a two day train ride from Moscow to Ekaterinburg covering 879 miles. You might get there faster by plane, but on the train you can see the countryside, meet people, and go to places where flights are not as easy to come by!

Photobucket View from the train.

After we’ve determined where to go, we need to make reservations at hotels, tickets for trains, planes, and ships. Should we stay at a fancy resort, a bed and breakfast, a hostel, or even with a local family.

Photobucket Staying in a ger in Mongolia.

Photobucket Inside the ger.

Next we’ve got to pack. What should we bring? Will we need swimsuits, parkas, hiking gear? How much should we bring? Can we carry everything we need?

Photobucket This is the actual bag all packed for my trip–we were gone for a month and I fit all I needed in it.

Once we’ve got the plan in place, we can head off on our adventures! Of course we’ll want to create a journal to remember our travels, so we can show people where we’ve been and what we’ve done.

After we go through our travel plans, we have a couple of activities and crafts to continue our plans. Children will put together travel plan books, where they can create their own itinerary, record places they want to see and things they want to do, create packing lists, and have pages to describe their adventures. Each of these things will be on a different station and will go along with an activity–

  •   A globe, maps, and travel books to create the itinerary.
  • Packing lists will be handed out as kids attempt to pack all they need in a suitcase in a suitcase relay.
  • National Geographics will be on hand for kids to cut out pictures of places they want to see and go. I’m also going to get some travel magazines from my mother to use. Kids can also draw pictures of where they want to go–books will be provided for inspiration.
  • Kids will learn useful phrases in foreign languages, and add this and pages to record their adventures.

All the pages will be three hole punched, and kids can tie them with yarn to make their own books. I’m hoping to borrow the scrapbook I made for my mom of the trip we took around the world. Then kids can get some ideas for their own crafts.

You are here: Self

Last week was our first teen Summer Reading Program. Teen programming always makes me nervous, because it is more unpredictable. I never have a good idea how many people will come, if what we planned will appeal to a wide range of people. During the school year, we get very low attendance at teen programs, but during the summer more kids show up. But how many?

Our first program focused on discovering self before we go out into the world to explore. I suppose it is a good place to start the program, but not our most popular one, which would have been nice to start on a high point.

We did some book talks, which I posted earlier. All of the books we talked up got checked out, which is always a good sign!

Our main activity was Yoga, and we were SO lucky to have one of our regulars, who has a teenaged daughter, teach the class. She teaches yoga locally, and she did the short program for us for FREE. It was AMAZING. She had a great connection with the kids, and the room was full of 35-40 teens, both boys and girls, relaxing and putting themselves into the exercise.

After that we did some Origami, and Zentangles. We had a number of boys who came just for these last two activities. It was a lot of fun and we had about 45 teens.

Booktalks You are Here: Self

For each of our programs we want to include book talks, so that teens and kids know there is more they can learn and have fun with what we’ve talked about. This first teen SRC program was about finding yourself and being true to who you are. Many, many teen books are about discovering who you are, but like an idiot, at least a busy idiot, I didn’t start this until about 7 p.m. the night before, so I was limited on what books I could get.

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1) Dairy Queen Catherine Gilbert Murdock, What do you do if you love football, know everything about it, and think you might just be good at it? Try out for the team, of course! But what if you are a girl, and responsible for your brother, have to take care of the farm since your dad can’t work, and maybe more since your mom is working two jobs? D.J. has some decisions to make, should she be true to herself, even if it means finding out things about her family that may be hidden?

Ten Things I Hate about Me Ten Things I Hate About Me Randa Abdel-Fattah, My assistant booktalked this one, and used the booktalk from scholastic here. We had two copies of this check out, since this was on our Teen SRC recommended reading list.

Incantation Incantation, Alice Hoffman. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, especially Estrella, who discovers something important about her past, something that transforms her life and changes her life forever.

Summer Slowdown

It would be nice to say that my slower posting has been because I’m enjoying warm summer days at the beach. But to be honest the only slow thing this summer is this blog. Summer is the season all the kids come to the library, which is AWESOME, but means I spend most days helping kids and doing programs. Time at home, when I usually work on the blog, is now spent preparing for programs, ordering books, and planning. So I may be more sporadically posting during the remainder of June and July, but will be back in August after the Summer Reading program is over!

Meya Monday

Origami Round Up

Origami is very popular around here, or at least books on how to do Origami. We made paper cranes in Anime Club once, and we’ll do some Origami again this week as part of the You are Here Self theme.

I’m not a paper folding pro, so I rely on good instructions to tell me what to do. A while back I wanted to learn how to fold a paper lily, and looked through many instructions and videos until I could figure out all the folds.

A good origami book combines shapes kids want to do, with instructions they can actually follow. Many times there is a fold or turn that isn’t included that means the difference between success and frustration.

Not-Quite-So-Easy Origami (Snap) This series goes from very easy through moderate and to difficult. I like that the book covers projects of a lot of different difficulties.

Origami on the Go: 40 Paper-Folding Projects for Kids Who Love to Travel Origami on the Go: 40 Paper-Folding Projects for Kids Who Love to Travel

The Stories We Tell

For the first official week of the Summer Reading Program, we have a special guest presenter from the local Center for the Performing and Cultural Arts. She will be performing Native American Stories and teaching about Native American cultures. Because this was organized by the staff at the Main Library, I’m not completely clear on what this will involve, but I am planning some activities around the performer. They haven’t told us yet if she will speak to all ages, or just the older kids. We get birth to 11 years old participants, I’ll have my assistant plan a storytime/craft for the toddlers just in case.Some of these will be similar for each week, as we go over the same information.

We’ll open with welcoming the participants and asking them if they’ve signed up for the Summer Reading Program, if they’ve been doing their reading, and if they’ve claimed their prizes if they’ve been reading. It is amazing how many kids come to programs, but haven’t signed up yet. I also like to remind kids when the next activity will be, since they are alternating weeks.

After making announcements, I want to plug a few books on the topic, to encourage kids to keep reading and learning. When Turtle Grew Feathers: A Tale from the Choctaw Nation Muskrat Will Be Swimming The First Strawberries

Following this short book talk, we’ll send the toddlers over to the storytime cove for their stories, and then I’ll introduce our guest performers. I’m not sure how long they plan on taking, but probably no more then 30-45 min.

Depending on what exactly our guest performers plan, we’ll wrap up with a craft for the older kids in the auditorium, while the younger kids are outside finishing their craft. Right now I’m saving cardboard to make simple flannel boards. Kids will select a cardboard square, and glue flannel on one side. Then they can color card stock story pieces, we’ll have contact paper and velcro to allow kids to take home their own tools to tell a story on their own.

Wordless Wednesday