Tweens

Ginger

Did you know that ginger is not only fun to bake with, but a healthy spice as well? Ginger is good for digestion, used to treat nausea and motion sickness, and has anti-inflammatory properties. And of course, it's a great time of year to make some creative gingerbread houses, and yummy cookies. There's also ginger tea, ginger ale and lots of recipes you can use ginger in. Some may even remember this name on Gilligan's Island.

Love Video Games?

Have you ever considered a career in video games? Maybe writing game scripts is your calling. 26 year old Jeffrey Yohalem talks about being the head writer for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood in this article. When Yohalem approached Jordan Mechner (writer for The Prince of Persia) about what classes to take to pursue a career in game script writing, he suggested screen writing and architecture. Who would have guessed?!

National Book Award Winners 2010

Lord of misrule: a novel by Jaimy Gordon

Just kids: from Brooklyn to the Chelsea Hotel : a life of art and friendship by Patti Smith

Lighthead by Terrance Hayes

Mockingbird: (mok'ing-bûrd) by Kathryn Erskine

You can watch the 2010 National Book Awards ceremony on the National Book Foundation's website.

Holiday Handiwork

Wondering what gifts to buy for this gift-giving season? Well, why not make your own gifts like some celebrants of Kwanzaa do. You could make ornaments, dolls, treasure boxes or candle out of old jewelry, marbles, yarn, string or other small pieces you already have around. Here are some craft books to help you along.

All new crafts for Kwanzaa by Kathy Ross; illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm

Chinese New Year crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe

Hanukkah crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe; crafts prepared and illustrated by June Ponte

Christmas crafts by Fay Robinson; crafts prepared and illustrated by Margaret Frase

Steampunk?

Steampunk appears to be gaining steam… but what exactly is it? Well, here is a definition from Wikipedia: "Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such as Charles Babbage's Analytical engine); these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality." While many of the books are for teens or adults, Steampunk is now coming out for tween-age readers. It is one of those 'happenings' that crosses sexes, ages, and formats. No official subject heading exists yet for this genre, but here are a few titles to whet your appetite, pique your curiousity...whatever:

El Dia de los Muertos

Celebrate Day of the Dead with crafts! Make paper marigolds, a skull mask or an Aztec animal decoration with Paper Crafts for Day of the Dead. Make your own Q-tip skeleton with these instructions. To get you in the holiday spirit, read Clatter Bash!: a Day of the Dead Celebration by Richard Cleminson Keep and Ghost Wings by Barbara M. Joosse.

Pumpkin Chapters

It's pumpkin time! And there are some great stories about them beyond the picture book collection. Pick one of these pumpkin plots:

Me and the pumpkin queen by Marlane Kennedy

Ninjas don't bake pumpkin pies by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones; illustrated by John Steven Gurney

The squampkin patch: a Nasselrogt adventure by J.T. Petty

Who stole Grandma's million-dollar pumpkin pie? by Martha Freeman

Some great pumpkin carving ideas and other pumpkin crafts are a click away at this Disney FamilyFun website.

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