Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pizza Around the World - Worldly Wednesday Summer Project

I shared on Facebook, but didn't share the good news here:

For Mother's Day, my husband and kids built me a stone pizza oven in the back yard.  

That's right.  A stone pizza oven.  WOW!

Beginning next Wednesday I am exploring the world via pizza.  Call it Pizza Around the World, or the Summer of Pizza, perhaps.  Twelve weeks of global toppings.  But it's not all fun and games–– it's delicious research for a manuscript I'm working on!  And, I'll pair each pie with a good book.

Basically, each "Worldly Wednesday," on my blog I'll explore new toppings or styles of pizza based on ingredients from different countries around the world.  That means I'm firing up the oven once each week and eating a new kind of pizza!  From mouth-watering to maniacal, there's no topping suggestion I won't consider...we'll see what the SUMMER OF PIZZA brings!  And as I mentioned, I'm going to share a book from, about, or set in that country.  So, pizza and a book!

But I need YOUR help.
 
I've got a few ideas already from the various countries I've traveled, but need to explore new toppings or pizza styles to cover 12 weeks of summer. What do people eat on pizza where you live?  Or, what do you IMAGINE would make a great pizza?   Please email me at mirandapaulbooks [at] gmail [dot] com and I might feature your pizza + country idea...and make it in my oven!

PREVIEW

WEEK #1:  SAINT LUCIA, WEST INDIES
Next week, on my 6/6/12 Worldly Wednesday post, we'll "travel" to my husband's home island of St. Lucia via one of the most unique pizza toppings I've ever seen -- Tuna!  That's right, Tuna Pizza will be the week #1 Kickoff.  I hope you'll join us next week for Worldly Wednesday's Pizza Around the world with Tuna Pizza from Saint Lucia.

Peace, Love, and Pizza.  Comments are open!

Friday, May 18, 2012

PPBF - Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

Any one else sick of campaigning? 

Ugh. 

In my state, there's a lot of polarization and bickering going on (I was actually hired to write a summary article about some of it last year.  Wisconsin has been making political history with the governor and recall situations here -- but I'll admit, I don't feel like living here is synonymous with being involved in breathtaking historical moments.  It's just tiring sometimes.

Perhaps one of positives that is emerging from all of the elections and campaigning, however, is that people are beginning to learn about politics, voting, and civic duties earlier on in life.

And since it's an election year, I'm sharing a Perfect Picture Book that delightfully introduces American politics to kids!  Plus, when I met the illustrator, she drew (on the spot) a picture of my daughter inside as President.   My daughter was so excited that she changed the title character's name to hers and did a school project on the book.

Today's Perfect Picture Book is...


GRACE FOR PRESIDENT

Title:  Grace for President (or, if you were in my daughter's class, SOLEIL for President)

Author:  Kelly DiPucchio

Illustrator:  LeUyen Pham

Publisher:  Hyperion, 2008

Genre:  Picture Book

Ages: 6-10

Topic/Theme:  Politics, Elections, Gender Roles, Leadership

First Page:  One Monday morning in September, Mrs. Barrington rolled out a big poster with all of the presidents' pictures on it.  Grace Campbell (or, Soleil Paul) could not believe her eyes.  "Where are the GIRLS?"

Why I like it:  I've often asked the question "where are the GIRLS?" myself.  I also think that it's important that kids learn about politics and voting long before they're able to vote as well -- and this book teaches it in a way that is NOT BORING AT ALL!!

I also love it because my Grace looks a lot like my daughter.  And, to be honest, it's not easy to find picture books where the main characters look like my kids.  It's important to show them more than a single story (something I blogged about when I shared Chimamanda Adichie's TED talk awhile ago).

Resources:  Becky at 2nd Grade Rocks has an awesome comprehension guide and worksheet about Grace for President.  You can also teach your kids more about the electoral college at this website.  I'm sure you'll have no trouble coming up with even more resources by surfing the US government's website.

Here's the awesome drawing LeUyen Pham put of my daughter inside the book.  Pretty good, huh?




Friday, May 11, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Monsters Eat Whiny Children

It's been one of those weeks.  
You know, those weeks.

A cat-poop-on-the-couch, 
electricity's-out-for-two-days, 
teenager-missing-the-bus-twice, 
mom-I-forgot-my-show-and-share-toy, 
nice-rejection-from-dream-agent 
kind of week.

Today, all I want is to do is laugh.  Until I pee my pants.

So, I scoured the library for the most hilarious book I could find.  I found several funny ones, but the rip-roaring gut-buster that has become my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is...

MONSTERS EAT WHINY CHILDREN


Title:  Monsters Eat Whiny Children
Author and Illustrator: Bruce Eric Kaplan
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Year: 2010
Opening Line:  "Once there were two delightful children"
Genre:  Picture Book, Humor
Theme/Topics: Behavior, Monsters, Food/Cooking, Humor
Age:  This is a tough one.  Too young = kids might be a little afraid of the premise.  But I'd say 4+ and you're good.  But this book is probably not for every household. 

Synopsis:  Dad has warned Henry and Eve: If you whine too much, monsters will eat you.  And lo and behold, the monsters come.  Will it be a whiny child salad?  Whiny child burgers?  The hilarity of the story is not in the pictures, but in the comic text that's, at times, clearly written for adults.

Why I like it:  It's probably written more for adults than kids, so of course I enjoyed it as I laughed my head off.  The writer, Bruce Eric Kaplan, was also a screenwriter for the series Seinfeld, which is obvious in the writing style of this book.  When you get to the page about Indian food, you'll know what I'm talking about.  And, to be fair, my daughter did love it (after first almost coming to tears that I wanted to read a book where whiny children are about to be eaten).  So, it's a parent-love, children will "probably" love kind of book.  But above all, it's FUNNY.

Resources:  Inside the book, there's a great recipe for cucumber sandwiches.  But I found one online, too!  You can also visit the author's Simon & Schuster biography page here.

Laugh on, people.  It's FRIDAY!!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Worldly Wednesday: Where in the World is Phyllis?

Phyllis has landed!

Where, you ask?

In paradise, of course!

She's making new friends at the preschool in the mountainside village of Grace, on the lovely island of Saint Lucia.

Word on the street is that she's been to the beach, the bus stop, up the mango and banana trees, and inside the local rum shop (but we couldn't confirm what she was doing in there).

Now...onto the weather report.  Though a typical weather report from sunny St. Lucia would include "seeing one's shadow," the day Phyllis picked to do her shadow-spotting (yesterday), it was all clouds and rain (check out the pic below of the storm clouds)!  Though that might sound like a downer, the cozy 88-degree (F) temperature was a nice consolation prize.  And this morning, Phyllis is predicting only a few showers that the Trade Winds will quickly usher past the island so she can have plenty of fun making shadow puppets on the beach this afternoon.

Enough talk, let's see photos of Phyllis on her most relaxing leg yet of the World Tour!
Check out those storm clouds!

Phyllis headed inside the preschool in Grace to take cover!

But when the rain stopped, it was time for a mango!

And a nap on the beach - right where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea!

Phyllis is patiently waiting for these bananas to turn yellow...

Want to see more photos from Saint Lucia?  Friend Miranda Paul on Facebook to see my Saint Lucia photo albums.  I've been there nearly a dozen times!


(If you don't know what this is all about, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's Website - she'll explain all this groundhog mayhem.)

Comments are open!   Leave Phyllis a message and she'll get it in Saint Lucia.  Please note, however, she probably can't send a postcard to each and every one of you... :)
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