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The Start of Summer Reading

Author John Cech
Air Date 6/16/2003

The Start of Summer Reading Transcript

If you’re looking for books for young people that will help to fill the long summer days that are already with us, you might try a series of activity books for elementary school age children from Kids Can Press that are good for rain or shine.

Even though it’s a bit late in the year, the Jumbo Book of Gardening by Karyn Morris is a still a good investment and a fine, easy-to-use, reference guide to have around for next spring when the planning for that first, young person’s garden can begin at the beginning — with a full-scale Three Sisters Garden based on the Iroquois principle of a “life support” planting of the three necessary vegetables: corn, pole beans, and squash. But there’s still plenty a young gardener can do from June on — especially if one buys already started plants — so that there can be a fall harvest. Any time of the year, a garden will teach children many things about the natural world, and the larger environments and communities that we all inhabit.

The Jumbo Book of Music by Deborah Dunleavy is full of ideas about how to make whole orchestras of instruments, both familiar and far-away, from everyday materials — pennywhistles and snorkel kazoos, popsicle-stick kalimbas and corn-stalk fiddles. There are tips on yodeling and getting the best sound out of your didgeridoo, and there are even instructions on “Cool Body Jive” — how to turn your body into it’s own musical instrument so that you can merrily bibble, pop, drum with your feet, and learn the basics of hand-jive rhythms that began in Africa millennia ago. Along with her guides to making these instruments or developing these techniques, Dunleavy also provides folk songs from around the world to try out these new-found talents.

And then there’s The Kids Can Press Jumbo Cookbook by Judi Gillies, with cooking advice and recipes that cover a spectrum of culinary skills and tastes — from a beginner’s “Toad in the Hole” (an egg that’s cooked in a circle that’s been cut out of a piece of bread) to an advanced dish like Thai Veggie Rice Noodles. Gillies introduces young people to many of the basic concepts, vocabulary, and methods of cooking, as well as to sensible information about good nutrition and the many tasty alternatives to the burgers, fries, and pizzas that tend to dominate kids’ eating habits. This book also nurtures every parent’s secret wish, that their child might get so turned on to cooking that they will want to make all the meals! You might get more lasagna roll-ups than you bargained for — but then again, you might also get some of that intriguing vegetable curry every once in awhile.

Posted in Literature