Teen Librarian Toolbox
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TPIB: Kitchen Road Trippin’ – Eat (and Read) Around the Globe

If you have ever read my bio here at TLT, you know that I hate to cook. Loathe and detest it.  But – I have kids.  They insist on eating.  Several times a day actually.  They will in fact ask if they can have a snack WHILE they are eating dinner.  So, I got my hands on some cookbooks.  They seem to be easy to find where I work (wink wink).  I was particularly interested in a copy of The Mother Daughter Cookbook: Recipes to Nourish Relationships by Lynette Rohrer Shirk (Zest Books) because it said Mother & Daughter right there in the title.  So it had to be for me – right?  Well, I have yet to actually cook anything out of the book.  Or anything from another book.  But . . .

There is a section in The Mother Daughter Cookbook called Kitchen Road Trippin that is just screaming to be a TPIB.  This section calls for recipes from all over including: Hawaiian Pineapple-Ham Kabobs, Tex-Mex Corn Canoes, Georgia Pecan Peaches, Coast to Coast Pizza, and Baked Alaska Brownies.  They sound mouth watering delicious.  Especially the brownies, yum.

Pair that with this amazing Unites States of YA map put together at Epic Reads, and you have a fantastic Reading Road Trip.

Screen grab of The United State of YA, copyright of Epic Reads
Thank you Epic Reads for putting this together 
You should visit Epic Reads often

In fact, it would make an “epic” (see what I did there?) book discussion group theme.  Spend the year reading through the US and sharing foods from the various states you are reading about.  Have a little trivia contest prepared about the state in question at each meeting.  And think of some of the fun regional things you can do: make leis on the day you talk about Hawaii (Under the Blood Red Sun) and have Hawaiian Kabobs, read Divergent and have some Chicago deep dish pizza, discuss a little Julie of the Wolves while you have some baked Alaskan brownies and make sugar cube igloos.

World Reads, World Eats 
I have always wanted to do a community taste test around the world.  Get your local food places to donate food and set up an event: you would have Italian food, Chinese food, Thai food, etc.  Then everyone can come in and taste food from local businesses while you get a flare for food around the world.  And the possible tie-ins are astounding: you can have multicultural performers, crafts from around the world. 

I have read about libraries having pizza taste tests where teens come and sample pizza from local pizza places and then vote on their favorite.

I have done a version of Iron Chef at my library (documented here) and really recommend it.

As for the reading part, put together a reading booklist road trip – with a road map of course! – and turn your traditional book club to a read across the US or across the World.  You can use your good friend Google to find crafts that go along with each location (or recipes if you so choose).  

You can use the recipes in The Mother Daughter Cookbook for this reading road map:

Hawaii: Return to Me by Justina Chen with Hawaiian Pineapple Ham Kabobs

Texas: In Honor by Jessi Kirby with Tex Mex Corn Canoes (bonus, this book is actually about a road trip)

Georgia:  Hex Hall and Georgia Pecan Peaches

Alaska: Touching Spirit Bear and Baked Alaska Brownies

General Craft Note: If you don’t want to do specific crafts for each location, you can have your participants make postcards of either the location you are reading about or the journey as a whole with your book club.  You could also make scrapbooks (or mini-scrapbooks) and passports.  While doing the reading club put a large map on the wall and pin each location you “visit” with your books.

PS, for those of you who are worried about my children.  The Mr. does the cooking.  I did recently make chili in the crockpot.  They are being fed.

Coming soon: 5 multicultural crafts and a book to pair them with for an International Reading Road Trip.


  1. Yum! Is it lunch time yet?! Haha, thanks for this awesome post.

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