Kids’ Book Corner: A Spring Bouquet of Books for Mother’s Day

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Here are books that will enrich the experience of motherhood and will be rewarding and fun to share with kids. I wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all who nurture children.

DownloadedFile-4I wish I’d had Jen Altman’s Photographing Your Children: A Handbook of Style and Instruction when my children were little. It is full of valuable advice and encouragement:   “. . .children don’t always have to smile, they don’t always have to look at [you], they don’t always have to be ‘camera ready’.” No matter your skill-level, this book will help you “photograph your … children in ways that you will regard as fine art . . .” Altman covers cameras–including phone and disposable cameras––light, indoor and out; composition, color and balance; photo “stories,” photographing infants, toddlers and young children; and ideas for projects. Makes a fine gift for new parents.

DownloadedFile-5The Tassajara Cookbook: Lunches, Picnics and Appetizers by Karla Oliveira shares recipes from the famous “Bag Lunches” offered at the Tassajara Zen center and Buddhist Monastery in northern California: “In addition to three delicious vegetarian meals a day, there is an option to take the Tassajara Bag Lunch . . .[allowing] guests the freedom to hike, to go to the swimming pool, creek or to just relax in the garden. The Bag Lunch offers a gastronomical picnic feast along with a very beautiful visual experience. Each day the Bag Lunch provides as many as twenty different colorful spreads, several roasted vegetables, salad, marinated tofu, cheeses, fresh baked bread, olives, pickles, chutneys and . . . desserts…” These fresh, simple and lovely spreads, fillings, salads, and sweets will move you to cook more mindfully and freely and perhaps to begin a Bag Lunch tradition in your own home.  Just browsing through the photographs of the food and the Tassajara center will inspire and restore you.

DownloadedFile-2Cooking with Flowers: Savory and Sweet Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher is a fabulous and practical collection of recipes organized around a particular flowers. Each chapter includes the flower’s history, botanical name, seasonality, culinary uses and meaning in the Victorian “language of flowers.” The recipes are varied and extensive, elegant and rustic––violet sorbet, dandelion wine, calendula ravioli, herb flower pesto––offering beautiful cookies, cakes, pancakes, popsicles, pickled petals, martinis, lemonade, and infusions, jams and teas. I want to try the corn and black beans with nasturtiums and the nasturtium pizza –nasturtiums are not only on top, but in the dough. Mianu Jun’s photographs are gorgeous.

DownloadedFile-1Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening with Kids by April Pulley Sayre will help you and your children connect to the natural world around you and create sustainable, natural homes for butterflies, hummingbirds lizards, and other animals in your back yard, patio, or window box. I especially like Sayre’s emphasis on looking, listening to, recording and experiencing wildlife–in rain and sunshine, morning and dusk.  This is a thorough guide that you can rely on for ideas or for planning a backyard overhaul.

DownloadedFile-3The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures & Connect Kids to Nature by Helen Olsson is a simple, extensive and charming guide to experiencing the outdoors with your children. Olsson’s aim is to allow you to “just be with your children,” free from the tasks and preoccupations of everyday life, and to feel the joy of using one’s body—walking, lifting, climbing, pumping water. The guide provides information and very handy checklists that will help you decide where to camp, what to eat, and what to do, how to do it-–whether it’s erecting a tent, picking a campground, storing food, or keeping clean-–and includes great ideas for outdoor activities and crafts, and first aid information.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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