Summer Reads and Tasty Treats
Maybe it’s the slow pace of the sticky days or the calmness of the cooler nights that makes summertime and books go together like peanut butter and jelly. Hot temperatures evoke memories of flashlights scanning pages in tents and long afternoons seeking shady places to devour another chapter.
Today, we thought we would combine these two symbols of summer to bring you the ultimate summer moment. If you live for those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, then grab your library card and tie on your apron as we take you through some classic summertime books and their perfect summer food/beverage pairings. All recipes are linked.
Books for Adults
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
The story’s title character, Jay Gatsby, is well known for his dazzling, over-the-top parties that drip in diamonds and luxury. And what food better embodies the decadence of West Egg than champagne? That’s why we thought these champagne cupcakes would be perfect to pair with the dazzling decadence of The Great Gatsby.
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.”
"You is kind, you is smart, you is important."
While the book looks at many serious topics, it’s not without its light moments. If you’ve read The Help, or watched the popular 2011 film based on the novel, you know the deeper meaning behind the word “pie”. Being set in the South, there are probably an infinite number of dishes that would work well with this book, but none quite so as iconic as Minny’s chocolate pie.
Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
“ You can always trust a dog that likes peanut butter.”
Because of Winn Dixie shares the sweet story of a young girl and her summer in a new town. Early on, the main character, Opal, adopts a scruffy dog who wrecked the local grocery store. Despite the mess he made, Opal sees something special in the dog, who she names Winn Dixie after the store in which she met him. This is a theme carried throughout the story as Opal meets more of the town locals. From a mean next door neighbor girl to a recovering alcoholic, Opal discovers that the people around her might have darkness in their past, but each one has a story and is special and valuable in their own way.
“Maybe being happy isn't having everything in your life to be perfect. Maybe it's about stringing together all the little things; making those count for more than the bad stuff.”
When we think of summer and being a teenager, pizza just seems like the perfect fit! We decided to pair this series with a sourdough pizza. Why sourdough? Well, if you’ve ever baked with sourdough, you know you need a starter. This can be made by you, or, more often, people will get some from a friend. Starter must be continually “fed”, so if you don’t share it, you end up throwing extra away. A sourdough pizza perfectly combines the connected friendships of Brashares’s series with the fun food of teenagedom.
“Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.”
What would it be like to live forever? Natalie Babbitt’s novel asks this age-old question and explores the topic through the eyes of young Winnifred Foster. Winnie’s life is regimented, regular, and, to her, suffocating--especially at the height of summer, when this book takes place. When she meets the Tucks, she is challenged to view the world around her--and even life itself--differently.
Just Grandma and Me, by Mercer Mayer
This cute picture book follows Little Critter and his grandma to the beach where Little Critter gets into all kinds of beach fun and mischief. The story celebrates some of the special parts of the beach such as swimming, digging in the sand, and finding sea shells. To go along with this book, we suggest a beach boardwalk staple--the hot dog!
The How Sweet Eats blog shares how to spice up your average hot dog and create a fun hot dog bar!
Tom Brenner’s picture book is a celebration of all things summer, from the sound of the lawnmower to the cold drip from an ice cream cone. Since the book ends with the characters camping, we paired this book with a summer and camping classic, the s’more.
If you aren't a camper, try these oven-baked s'mores from Butter With a Side of Bread.
Come On, Rain Written by Karen Hesse & illustrated by Jon J Muth
This is a sweet story that perfectly captures that height-of-the-summer feeling of time slowing down. Through captivating illustrations and artistic wording, the author manages to make readers feel like they are right there with the main characters, waiting, waiting, waiting on the rain. As you flip the pages, it’s easy to feel the sticky air, the hot pavement, and the elation that comes with that first, glorious drop.
A. Blob on A Bus and This is A. Blob, by L.A. Kefalos
As a bonus, we're throwing in a sweet treat to pair with our own Blob Series books, This is A. Blob, and A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos. The books show that there is often more to someone--even a bully--than meets the eye...much like a chocolate covered pretzel!
As children make these treats shaped like A. Blob, they will discuss why some people bully others and what they can do to help.
A. Blob is back, and this time it's on a bus! As the slimy bully pokes and pesters the children of Lincoln Elementary School, it seems like they will never be able to ride the bus in peace. That is, until one brave girl takes stand.
Can one act of bravery change everything--including A. Blob? Find out in this second installment of The Blob Series!
Before it was on a bus, A. Blob was on the playground. This first installment of The Blob Series follows the antics of A. Blob, as it wreaks havoc on the elementary school playground with its bullying ways. As the story progresses, however, readers learn that A. Blob may have more than meets the eye.
Along with its powerful illustrations and rhymed verse for early readers, this story invites children to put themselves in the shoes of another and encourages readers to consider why bullies behave the way they do – and start to consider what can be done to help.
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
For some more great reading, check out our latest release, This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. This is A. Blob is a picture book that deals with the sticky issue of bullying through an unlikely character that is a bit sticky itself! As readers follow the antics of A. Blob, they learn to put themselves in the shoes of another and discover there may be more to this bully than meets the eye…
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.
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