Sunday, October 23, 2016

Books and Recipes for Teens What a Great Combination

I love starting new book clubs for teens! They encourage teens to read something new and provide great enrichment by asking them to examine what they've read. Then the teens soak up new vocabulary words, figure out the storyline, and learn about the characters in the story.

I am also a firm believer that book clubs help teens build leadership skills and gain confidence. Joining a book club give teens a chance to speak up in a group and respectfully share their ideas and opinions, particularly since so many YA books delve into controversial topics. Teens that take the lead in book discussions will gain an extra edge that will help them in school and social settings.

Most of my teen book clubs have focused on a theme. I think having a theme adds a bit more excitement to the club and also offers you, as the facilitator, a chance to be creative and find great books for your teens to read. One of my first teen book clubs was called “Muggles and Magic,” and all the teens wanted to do was read "Harry Potter" over and over again. It was fun — and tricky — to find other books after we were done with the "Harry Potter" series, but my imagination took over, and I found quite a few books that blend magic and mystery for teens. We also played games like "'Harry Potter' Jeopardy" and dressed up as our favorite characters from the book at the end of the school year.

This book club was a great way to figure out how to get teens to read and discuss books. It also gave me the back-up I needed when I started working in a public library to continue to host book clubs. I am always looking for ideas to start a new book club, and since I have just recently started at a new library, I think it could be a great way to get to know the teens in my new community. 

I read a great article about pairing books with desserts on Shari's Berries, and it totally gave me a great idea! It gave me a chance to explore the world of fiction and the food that is taken from the pages of some of my favorite books. You can find all kinds of recipe ideas in books. Many fandoms have created special web pages just for recipes and ideas. I’ve also seen blogs with resourceful recipes inspired by "Twilight," "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter."

So, what do you think about planning a book club that focuses entirely on reading YA fiction books and making the food that is mentioned in the book?  Sounds fun, right?  It's also a great way to promote reading.  Not only will the teens be reading, they will also be testing their cooking skills. It's so easy to do.  Choose a book every month and have each member pick a treat to make and bring to the discussion meeting? I bet there will be some creative cooking happening! Check out some of these recipes that book club readers could easily recreate for a fun and interactive book discussion group. 
  • The Selection by Keira Cass: "May, don't these strawberry tarts just make you want to cry?" America's Strawberry Nutella Tart
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner: “Beds were assigned, clothes and bathroom things were passed out, dinner was served. Pizza. Real, bona fide, greasy-fingers pizza.” Maze Runner - Tablespoon Pizza Rolls
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: "Layla's crazy fry eating ritual will leave you wanting to test out the mystery blend method after completing your own french frey gathering trifecta."  Layla - Homemade French Fry Seasoning Blend
  • Splintered series by A.G. Howard: "I need to get to that tea party and wake up the guests ... and how are you supposed to do that? Give a magical kiss to the half-baked hatmaker?"  Allysa -  Edible Tea Cups - YUM!
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: "I only came for cake." Tobias Eaton  - Dauntless Cake recipe
  • Check out my Pinterest board, "Tasty YA Book Recipes," for more fun ideas on pairing YA books and yummy treats!

    Tune in next month for more tips and ideas for tween and teen programming from Mrs. Librarian Lady.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Teen Summer Challenge Extended!

Hello everyone!  I know it's been a while since I have checked in here.  I've been busy writing for the Programming Librarian blog and was working on a great piece called the Teen Summer Challenge.  I didn't get a chance to finish up on the PL blog, so I was thinking that since summer isn't officially over until September 22nd that I would post the rest of my summer challenge ideas here.  My plan is to post about projects that teens will love to do at the library during the summer. I’ve got ideas for refreshing summer recipes, creative crafts, and even some outdoor activities. If you are a teen librarian or school librarian you can join the challenge by duplicating these engaging ideas at your library. Here's a sneak preview of some of the projects on my summer list that are still left to do:

  • Yarn bowls
  • Games 101
  • Leaf art
  • Kaleidoscopes
  • Plant pals
  • Sock puppets
  • Mastering the jump rope
  • Waterproofing the jump rope
  • Custom crayons
  • Lazy summer day playlist
Here are some crafts and activities that I already tried at my library!

Summer Fun with Adorable Tape and Dancing

More Summer Fun with Dream Catchers and Playing in the Dirt

May the Fourth of July Be With You

Feel free to try these crafts and activities out any time of the year!

Love your library!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Introducing YA Book n Craft Mashup! Six of Crows

Hey everyone out there!  I have an interesting new idea to pair up YA fiction books with fun crafts and yummy recipes.  It's basically a mashup of craft ideas that go with the awesome YA books I read. I will pick a book and then give a description and then list all of the crafts and/or recipes that apply.  I think it will be fun to see how many of these I can come up with.  Let me know if there is a YA book that you would like me to pair up with a craft or recipe!

My first Book n Craft Mashup will be Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  Six of Crows is a Teens' Top Ten winner for 2016.  In this awesome YA book, a team of convicts, runaways, and thieves set out to smuggle an imprisoned scientist from an impenetrable fortress.  With their mastermind thief Kaz and spy Inej on the forefront, will their plan work?  

"The Ice Court had been built to withstand an onslaught of armies, assassins, Grisha, and spies.  When Inej said as much to Kaz he simply replied, "But it hasn't been built to keep us out." Kez has been offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams... But he can't pull it off alone."

YA Book n Craft Mashup for Six of Crows:

Spy Party - Here's a great idea for a super sleuth party that may inspire teens.

Secret Decoder - All spies need a way to send secret messages. Use this printable decoder to send cryptic messages to your partners in crime.

Hollowed Out Book - Everyone needs a good place to hide their secrets.  This sneaky diversion could help you with your mastermind plan!

Operation Incognito - Disguises are important so here's an awesome Youtube tutorial on how to make an origami mustache!  

Fingerpaint Recipe - Teens can get their hands dirty with the cool recipe created in Rome by Ruth Shaw.  Time to get crafty and creative!

Tune in next time for another YA Book n Craft Mashup!

Mrs. Librarian Lady!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day & Beyond

Earth Day is coming up this Friday, April 22nd! There are many ways to celebrate and show respect for our planet. You can use a sustainable mode of transportation for your commute to work. Riding the bus or helps take more cars off the road, which reduces congestion and helps improve environmental air quality, especially on hot days! Biking or walking are also great eco-friendly transportation modes that can help you avoid traffic and give you a workout on your way to work. Did you know that you take action all year long? Check out Billion Acts of Green, a worldwide environmental movement that is helping to protect the Earth for future generations. Why not celebrate Earth Day this year by creating some very cute and eco-friendly crafts? These fun crafts will inspire teens to learn more about Earth Day and will also help connect them to their environment.

photo from Craftionary blog

Bottle Cap Art - This is a great way to help save the planet, keep all bottle caps and make cute art!

Earth Day Slime - Who doesn't like playing with wiggly jiggly slime? Grab the glue, starch, and food coloring and you are all set!

photo by Amber's Averie Lane Blog

Herb Mason Jar Planters - Brighten up your Earth Day celebration with these adorable herbs planted in decorated mason jars.

Clay Leaf Impressions - These clay leaf prints air dry easily and are not only fun, but also very educational!

photo by Handmade by Kelly's blog

Recycled Bird Feeder - This beautiful bird feeder will attract birds and maybe even squirrels too. They also make a great Earth Day gift for friends and family.

Water Pollution Exploration - This is a creative way to teach teens about water pollution by using a sponge shaped like a fish!

Tune in next month for more craft ideas for tweens and teens from Mrs. Librarian Lady!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Playful Craft Ideas for Teens

It's January and you know what that means? It means that the end of the school year is approaching faster than we think. You know once spring hits there's an edgy and spirited feeling in the air for teens, but really, they can't get too distracted because they still have class assignments, backpacks full of textbooks, and their teachers keep loading them up with homework!

Speaking of being playful, I saw this article “How to Bring Playfulness to High School Students” that really inspired me to think about how we can introduce more fun and playfulness since teens have to deal with so much stress in school. The article talks about the pressure that teens are experiencing with school and how teens need to find time to be creative and have fun in spirte of their daily pressures.

I was lucky enough to see this awesome quote "Never lose your sense of wonder" and I feel like I can identify with this quote so much. If we lose our sense of wonder then we are going to be losing out on having fun and all of the amazing possibilities out there in the world. With the ideas of bringing out playfulness and keeping the wonder in teens lives here are a few ideas for some activities that could bring a bit of playfulness in either a library or after school club for teens.

DIY Embellished Animal Ears - Make these adorable animal ear combs and all you will be all set to look super cute in them!

Eye Magnets - These eye magnets will be an awesome addition to any area in your house or even your locker at school. The eyes have it on this fun craft.

Ultimate Guide to Sharpie Mugs - This guide will help you to make a super cool Sharpie mug! We just made these over the holidays and it was so much fun to draw your own characters and add in your own sayings. You don't need to be an artist, just have fun with it.

7 Layer Sculpey Cake - This darling seven layer cake is so much fun to make. You can make a rainbow colored cake, or choose your own favorite colors of Sculpey polymer clay.

Here are two of my Pinterest boards that have tons of great craft ideas for teens:

Crafty & Fun

Cheap Crafts for Teens

Tune in next time for more great teen programming and activity ideas!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

I have been so busy with my Programming Librarian blog and contributing to the YALSA Hub twice a month, I haven't had much time to work on my own blog, so I have decided to try something new this year! I've been thinking about what I really like to do and the idea of pairing books with crafts and program ideas is one of my most favorite things to do. I usually create a Pinterest board to go with my book pairing ideas so I would love to add a link to my boards when I add book pairings. To start the new year and kick off January, I was thinking of starting with recipes that can be found in YA books. The idea of exploring fantasy worlds through their food has been talked about for a long time, sharing recipes taken from the pages of our favorite teen books is truly a fun experience. If you know where to look, you can find instructions for making butterbeer, Dauntless Chocolate Cake, and even Selection Tarts. Fans of Harry Potter have ventured into the world of magic to create recipes for a multitude of treats that are mentioned in the 7 book series. If you are devoted to fictional feasting, you are in luck because major efforts have been made to bring cooking, community, and literature together in one place. Check out a few recipes and fictional recipe lovers websites I have listed below. Here is my Pinterest board :) Tasty YA Book/Films Recipes

"The Selection" by Keira Cass: "May, don't these strawberry tarts just make you want to cry?" America's Strawberry Nutella Tart

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth: "I only came for cake." Tobias Eaton - Dauntless Cake recipe

"Saint Anything" by Sarah Dessen: "Layla's crazy fry eating ritual will leave you wanting to test out the mystery blend method after completing your own french fry gathering trifecta." Layla - Homemade French Fry Seasoning Blend

Epic Reads YA Inspired Recipes This is a great article from Epic Reads that has some really fun YA book recipes.

Harry Potter Recipes
You will find so many cool recipes from the Harry Potter series here!

Fictional Food has a ton of foods and recipes from Hunger Games, Twilight, Willy Wonka, and Game of Thrones

Food in Literature
has recipes from Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, and Sherlock Holmes!

Monday, June 22, 2015


She Was Forged From Iron - Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

A new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black. Start reading now at

I love Holly Black and am a total fan of faeries. This is why I read everything that Black writes! The Darkest Part of the Forest was an interesting read for me because it is centered in the town of Fairfold, which is a place full of magic and horror. I have studied faeries almost my whole life and am ever so intrigued by the history and fanfare around them. While faeries have been known to humans as the fair ones, it seems that the magical inhabitants that live near Fairfold are not all sweet and adorable like the ones we see in the movies. These faeries are the bad boys of magic and there seems to be some kind of faerie family feud going on that no one can stop. I love the magic and the mystery of the book. Way out there in the middle of the forest lies a beautiful boy and he's in a glass coffin that no one can break. He's mysterious and obviously very hot because everyone is in love with him, boys, girls, moms, basically whoever gazes upon him. I like Ben because he has the magic of music inside him and that comes out when he most needs it for survival. I like Hazel because she's tough and can wield a sword like a medieval warrior. Severin is an interesting character because he's in the glass coffin for most of the book, but when he gets out he's got Hazel and Ben on his side to look out for him. Black weaves in what I would call her magic, which is her expertise in the land of the faerie and her clever way of mixing it in with the human world, which I always love. I had a feeling that The Darkest Part of the Forest might become a series, but it seems like it had a pretty good solid ending. I won't tell you if it was a happily ever after one or not, you have to read it for yourself!

Happy Reading to you!

Mrs. Librarian Lady