After the horrors of World War I and the resulting social trauma, young men and women who survived came to be known as The Lost Generation because they never recovered from all of their losses and suffering. To deal with their pain, many of them lived by the adage, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” The Roaring Twenties, also known as the Jazz Age, was born.
Whether you consider it a melting pot or salad bowl, America’s culinary culture is rich with spices, both savory and sweet. Caraway seeds add piquancy to Jewish rye breads. Paprika, hot or mild, gives Hungarian stews and meats warmth and subtlety. Vanilla, theoretically the blandest of flavors, is intrinsic to many beloved forms of chocolate, cookies, cakes and even tea and coffee.
Indian spice blends, named curries when made up for Europeans, vary from district to district, from mellow to fiery. In Ethiopia, a berbere spice combination may take a dozen different ingredients—typically including chiles, allspice, cardamom, and fenugreek—to create unforgettable flavor.
If you are interested in exploring new types of cuisine or want to learn more about these ingredients’ place in world history, books about spice can brighten your summer.
Rosie the Riveter is an icon, well-known for representing the scores of women who worked in munitions factories during World War II. Andrea Beaty gives a subtle nod to the original Rosie—and the powerful women she represents—in Rosie Revere, Engineer, her follow-up to Iggy Peck, Architect. Rosie Revere is a born engineer who loves creating intricate and unusual machines using parts she has salvaged from the trash. Her inventing has been a secret, though, ever since the day her Uncle Fred laughed at her snake repellant hat.
Twenty-five teen girls get to experience the wonder of a week at Camp So-and-So. The brochure says will be horseback riding, archery, boating, crafts, rock climbing, and performing Shakespeare under the stars. It’s all free, courtesy of a very rich philanthropist.
But this year, things have changed. As the only returning camper, Kadie was a little shocked at how much they seem to have changed. Instead of prime rib for the welcome supper, there are gray, greasy hot dogs. Everything seems rundown and kind of wrong. But, some things never change—such as The All-Camp Sport and Follies, where Camp So-and-So’s charity cases take on the rich kids at the posh camp nearby. If only Kadie can get the other dreamy, unfocused, or sarcastic girls in Cabin 1 psyched up for the competition!
In the wake of the Nazi invasion of Amsterdam, Hanneke Baker tries to attract as little attention as possible. She is one of the best black market smugglers in the city, able to charm shopkeepers and soldiers alike while keeping the true nature of her work a secret from her concerned parents.
DK Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to create a fascinating book for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by the world around them. The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table makes what could be a dull subject very shiny indeed.
Sure, you have your basic periodic table for quick reference. But every element gets its spotlight, with truly interesting facts and many intriguing photos. Take iridium. It’s a shiny black metal that’s 22 times as dense as water. That’s heavy. You can find it in meteorites, compasses, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
Some people find faith in a blinding flash, like Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus. For others, this can be a lifelong journey. Share the various roads followed (and destinations found!) on the these spiritual journeys of finding and losing faith, returning to church, searching for meaning or experiencing profound spirituality outside of organized religion in the updated booklist, Soul Searching.
The Owl and the pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl and the Pussycat is a funny sort of poem indeed and only one of Mr. Lear's many nonsense verses. Anyone who would travel along with a Pobble who has no toes or take a sail in a sieve with the blue-handed Jumblies is welcome to be a friend of Mr. Lear.
If you love comics and want to be entertained, you really need to check out Christopher Irving’s (words) and Seth Kushner’s (pictures) Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics. It’s a bright and brilliant introduction to the people who brought stories of brave deeds to American audiences through their work. Here’s a snippet from his sketch on Will Eisner (The Spirit):
Officially, May Day is the 1st of May, but really anytime during this splendid spring month is a perfect opportunity to share small gifts of the season with everyone: teachers; friends; neighbors; and family. You can do that with May baskets—a wonderful, old-fashioned tradition.