Amy's blog

Brothers and Sisters: They Are What They Read

A good friend of mine recently complained to me that her two children were fighting constantly. She did not know why it was happening, but she wanted it to stop. She was desperate for help. My first question for her was: What are they reading?

If you think that was a silly question, read on. In the child development book Nutureshock, authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman devote an entire chapter to sibling relationships – and directly tie the way brothers and sisters treat each other to the books they read and the media they consume.

Food Truck Nation

One of the more enjoyable eating trends in recent years has been the rise of the humble food truck from greasy purveyor of basic fare like hotdogs and cotton candy to gourmet restaurant on wheels, serving everything from curry rice omelets to cardamom-spiced doughnuts. If you love food trucks, the library has some terrific resources for you.

If you have ever dreamed of creating that street flavor at home, you are in luck, because author and food truck devotee John T. Edge has just published The Truck Food Cookbook, which is filled with delicious and easy-to-follow recipes from food trucks across the country. Make Korean short ribs (from Los Angeles) or coconut veggie chicken crepes (from Philadelphia). Satisfy your sweet tooth with sweet potato cupcakes (from Durham, NC) or Shaker lemon pie (from San Francisco).

Creator of Encyclopedia Brown Dies

Donald Sobol

All summer long, my son has been on an Encyclopedia Brown kick – reading every book about the boy detective that the library owns.  The stories about the clever kid who solves mysteries with his brains are interesting and fun, and my son loves to read them out loud – and challenge me to figure things out before Encyclopedia does.  I never do.  And so it was with great sadness that we heard that Donald Sobol, the author of this beloved series, died this week at 87.

According to the New York Times obituary, Mr. Sobol wrote 28 Encyclopedia Brown books through the years, the last one just before he died.  Fortunately, we can look forward to reading Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme this October.

Mon Dieu! Parenting Advice Crosses the Atlantic

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to raise a child in France, this is the year for you, because no fewer than three books about French parenting have been released this year.

Two of them – Bringing Up Bebe and French Kids Eat Everything – follow the same general arc. They were both written by American mothers who found themselves raising children in France. Although initially disoriented by the experience, both women found much to admire and emulate about the French way

Great Audio Books for Family Road Trips

A Year Down Yonder

A recent New York Times Book Review article sings the praises of audio books and recommends several gems for family road trips. With summer right around the corner, it’s a nice reminder that audio books are the perfect way to keep the whole family happy on long car drives.

I have three children, and when we take a road trip, we always have several audio books on hand. I find they are far superior to DVDs for making a road trip a fun family experience. Unlike videos, which only the kids can watch, audio books are something the whole family (including the driver of the car!) can enjoy. In addition, we can listen to the audio books while also looking out the window. And – really – what’s the point of a road trip if you aren’t taking in the majestic scenery rolling past?

Too Young For the Hunger Games books?

Everyone, it seems, wants to read the Hunger Games – even elementary school kids. But how young is too young? These are, after all, books that take place in a post-apocalyptic world in which teenagers are forced to kill other teenagers. Surely, they are not appropriate for younger readers.
Or are they?

Although the plot of the books is somewhat shocking, the author gives her subject matter a thoughtful and thought-provoking treatment that rises above the gruesome premise. The main character, Katniss, is a hero in the classic sense – a strong and smart survivor who makes interesting and even admirable moral choices within the immoral universe in which she finds herself.

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