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Kids and Teen Blog

Mom Minute- Holding on to Those Last Minutes of Summer

by Crystal
Craft + Excerpts + Food & Drink + Kids + Parenting / August 31, 2011

The last days of summer are upon us, and this mommy is doing everything she can to make the most of every last moment. From buying flats of blueberries to make freezer jam, to visiting the water park and spending lazy afternoons eating PB&J in the shade of a big oak tree and running through the spray, to visiting the farmers stand every weekend to buy the freshest, local produce that money can buy. 

To help you hold onto these last, lazy days of summer here are two summertime recipes that you can make with the help of your little one. 

What's summer without spending at least one afternoon setting up a lemonade stand? No lemonade stand is complete without a sweet treat to go with your lemonade. When flipping through a copy of Cutie Pies for Kids recently these Beach-Style Lemonade Pies looked like they would be a fun summertime treat. 


Beach- Style Lemonade Pies

For Crust:

-2 cups Nilla wafer crumbs

-4 tablespoons butter, melted


For Pie:

-1 can (21 ounces) lemon pie filling

-2 cups whipped cream

-Thin lemon slices


To make crust, combine wafer crumbs and butter in a medium bowl. Press into the bottoms and sides of 12 minie pie pans or paper cupcake liners and chill for at least 2 hours before filling.

In a large bowl, fold together lemon pie filling and whipped cream. Spoon creamy lemon filling into prepared mini pie pans. Garnish with lemons slices. 

Makes 12 mini pies


Beach Style Lemonade:
Photograph by Zac Williams from Cutie Pies for Kids by Jennifer Adams.  Reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith.

My daughter and I love taking trips to the farmer's stand together. She helps me pick what fresh, local produce she would like to try. She loves peaches, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, apples-- basically if it's fruite she loves it, wish I could say the same for vegetables. 

When I cracked open my copy of Cake Mix Cooking For Kids this morning the Mini Cupcake Kabobs recipe immediately caught my eye. The recipe calls for strawberries, pineapple and bananas but really I think you could substitue any fresh fruit you have available. I bought a mini cupcake pan at the beginning of this summer with the intention of making mini muffins with my little girl. I think this weekend might be the perfect opportunity to give it a test run with the below recipe. 

Mini Cupcake Kabobs


-1 Strawberry or pineapple cake mix

-Ingredients listed on back of box

-20 hulled strawberries

-1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks

-2 to 3 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks

-20 wooden skewer sticks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mis according to package directions. Prepare mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 tablespoon batter into each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden around edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack where the cupcakes can completely cool. Repeat process with remaining batter. You will have 80-84 mini cupcakes when you are done.

On each wooden skewer, thread cupcake, banana chunk, cupcake, strawberry, cupcake, pineapple chunk, and a final cupcake.

Makes 20 kabobs


Mini Cupcake Kabobs- Photograph by Zac Williams from Cake Mix Cooking for Kids by Stephanie Ashcraft. Reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith.

I hope you, and your kiddos enjoy these recipes. If there are any specific ideas you would like to see in my Mom Minute posts or my Notes From A Children's Book Publicist posts please let me know through our comment form.

Also don't forget to enter our contest to win the fantastic new card game Quallop!

Happy (last days of) Summer!

Beastly Books!

by Kendal (Owlkids)
Kids / August 26, 2011

One of the things that sets Owlkids apart from other children’s book publishers is our ability to really talk to our readers through our three magazines, Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL. They write to us with all their questions and comments, and we write back (and listen to what they have to say)! Well, we have yet to hear from a kid who does not absolutely love our Beastly Book series. (In fact, I have yet to meet an adult who does not love these books, too!) 

Beastly Book
These doodle books are so much fun. Every drawing scenario is just a little bit ridiculous (okay, sometimes a lot ridiculous) and really encourages artistic creativity. And the best news is we’ve just added two more titles to the series this summer. My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales is a twisted take on childhood favourites (think “Draw the baby of the Little Mermaid and Captain Hook”) and My Beastly Book of Hilarious Heroes is all about not-so-super heroes (think “The Human Stone has fallen overboard. Draw him underwater.”)
Beastly Book 2
Want to try out some of these scribbling activities yourself? We have free downloads from all four books on our website and an activity kit for teachers, booksellers, and librarians, too! 

Mom Minute- Read Em And Weep! Win the new card game Quallop!

by Crystal
Contests + Kids + Parenting / August 24, 2011

When I was a kid, especially during summer break, my days were filled with a lot of card playing. My mom loves cards, my grandpa loved cards and that was passed along to my sister and I. 

One of our favorite things to do, as we played our winning hand was to shout out "Read em and weep!" Is this a regular card saying? I have no idea. In my family it is. 

When my husband and I first got together we played a lot of cards as well. Whenever we took a plane or ferry, went on vacation, or had a tv-less night the decks of cards would always come out. Once we had our daughter, sadly, the card playing ended. I'm looking forward to playing cards with her as she gets a bit older. Some of my favorite memories of my Popa were of playing cards with him. 

I think the cards may be coming out again at the Allen household sooner than expected thanks to Chronicle Books new game Quallop. Created by Forrest-Pruzan Creative (the creators of the best boardgame ever- Cranium) this is the most fun, addictive, card game I've played in awhile. 

This morning my good publicist buddy Danielle and I cracked open a pack of Quallop and tried our hand at this fun new game. 

The game is a bit like Tic-Tac-Toe or Connect Four but in card version. Kids as young as the age of 6 should be able to understand the concept but adults will have equally as much fun playing. This would be the perfect game to take to the cabin, on a road trip or on an Earth Hour night by candle light. 

Here are photos of Dani and I playing Quallop. 

1. Take shrink wrap off package. Take out cards. Read instructions. Players decide if they want to be circles or squares. (I chose circle because aqua is my favorite colour.)

2. Shuffle deck. 

3. Open up game board (which also doubles as a handy package to store the cards in). Deal each player one card. Figure out who's birthday is next, that player goes first.

4. Take turns laying a card on the gameboard. Once a space is filled with a shape it can only be covered by that same shape or by a card with a blank space on it like the one that Dani is holding. The goal is to get 4 of your shape in a row either horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

5. Sometimes that happens super fast like this time when Dani won.

6. And other times it takes almost every single card in the deck like this time that I won. (Incidentally if you do play every single card it's a tie and you start over again.)

So now the really fun part! Want to win a set of Quallop of your very own? There are 3 ways to win.

1. Tweet: "@raincoastbooks and I <3 Quollop, the addictive new card game. I want to win a set! Do you? http://ow.ly/6c3Oq" Then come back here and tell us you tweeted.

2. Like Raincoast Books on Facebook and post on our page "I <3 Quallop, the addictive new card game." Then come back here and tell us you like Raincoast on Facebook.

3. Post here the phrase that you yell out when you win a hand of cards.

 Contest closes in two weeks on September 7, 2011.

Read em and weep. wink

Insanewiches; 101 Ways to Think Outside the Lunchbox

by Danielle
Food & Drink / August 19, 2011

Are you bored with lame ol'sandwiches? Well there's this new book out from St. Martin's Press that will have you excited for lunch again. Filled with fun, quirky and easy to make recipes Insanewiches; 101 Ways to Think Outside the Lunchbox will help you rekindle your love for the luncheon meal that everyone loves to hate. The book came from a wickedly popular blog insanewiches.com. The creator of the site, Adrian Fiorino, was born into food culture and raised on a steady diet of offbeat humor. He draws inspiration from the most unexpected sources: cell phones, puzzles, power drills, and even sports cars.

Some recipes that included are:
-The Rubix Cubewich---the sandwich that started it all
-The Pancake Popwich---an irresistible breakfast on a stick
-The Sumo Sandwich---a heavyweight that’s overstuffed with steak, chicken, salmon, and assorted mushrooms, radish and scallions
-The Pumpkin Cheeseburger and Along Came a Spider---kooky concoctions the kids will love,

-Cosmo Martini Sandwich---made with a cranberry muffin and orange slices, just for the girls.

So take a stroll to your local bookshop and pick up a copy, then go to your grocer and grab some ingredients to construct some of these outrageous concoctions!

Oh and of course ENJOY!!

The Vole Brothers

by Kendal (Owlkids)
Picture Books / August 12, 2011

One of the best things about being an Owlkids Books staffer is the complimentary issues of Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL that land on my desk every month. Even better — I'm not supposed to take them home for my nieces and nephews — I'm supposed to read them! And, no, just in case you're wondering, there's nothing wrong with loving a magazine meant for preschoolers.

I always flip right to The Vole Brothers comic as soon as the newest Chirp arrives. They are so funny and cute! I mean, just take a look at this comic from our "Hairy" (hair-themed) issue:

The Vole Brothers

Luckily, our readers love them, too. So much, in fact, that this September The Vole Brothers are getting their very first picture book! Taking the voles from a monthly, 8-panel comic strip all the way to a 32-page picture book was an adventure for our editorial, design, and production teams, and, most of all, for creator Roslyn Schwartz!

Actually, it was such an adventure — arm-wrestling and many, many storyboards were involved — that we decided to put a short video about the process together. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of a great picture book by watching the trailer below!


Notes From A Children’s Book Publicist- Volume Eight

by Crystal
Kids + Vancouver + YA Fiction / August 10, 2011

One of the weirdest things about the publishing world is how far in advance you work on books. Our national accounts manager and sales manager were at Chronicle Books a month ago learning about books being published Spring 2012 already, books that I am sure have been in the works for awhile.

Here in Publicity Land we are right in the thick of fall and getting ready for winter. Every day more and more of the fall books are arriving in our warehouse (see below) and landing on our publicity mailout tables.

The person who delivers our books tells us how bad he feels for us, saying that it feels like we can never make a dent in the books piling up on our table. Other collegues just make comments, saying things like "We have guests coming into the building this week, you really should clean your tables off." Oh, little do they know the life of a publicist. LOL. Our work tables are a constant rotation of new, fascinating titles. So I thought I would give you a little tour of what is down their right now.

Down The Mysterly River. Not only is there a copy of this on my mailout table, there is also a copy on my nightstand. Yes, this is the book that I am currently reading. Just a few chapters in and I know this book will be one that I talk about for months to come. It is about a boyscout who wakes up in the woods with no inkling of where he is or how he got there. He sets out on a journey to try to solve the mystery and soon finds that he can understand what the animals in the forest are saying. Is he dreaming? Is he dead? Heck if I know. Hopefully I'll have time to really delve into this book this weekend.  The book in this photo is the last sample I have here at work. I did a huge mailout earlier this week. I always try to keep one around in case there is someone who I missed. This is also the first book that I have worked on with the folks from Tor (who are really fantastic.)


The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure Mars and The Worst-Case Scenario Survive-o-pedia. One of my favorite series of books as a kid were the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I read them over and over  trying to get new storylines each time I read. Worst-Case Scenario has taken that concept and created their Ultimate Adventure Series (which started out with Ultimate Adventure Everest this summer). Worst-Case Scenario is always pushing the boundries and creating new concepts. They also have their new Survive-o-pedia format coming out this fall, it is so much fun and you will learn new things every time you read (and re-read) it.

It's A Little Book. I am prone to squealing, and there was definitely some squealing happening this afternoon when I went downstairs and saw that the fabulous Lane Smith's new book, It's A Little Book, had arrived. So cute and the perfect companion to Lane's previous picture book It's A Book. Make sure you check out the trailer's for Lane's two Fall 2011 books that I posted on the blog a few weeks ago. 

Darker Still and Cinder. These were the last two novels that I read (I'm on a bit of a YA kick right now). Both are the first books in new fiction series for teens. Darker Still is about a mute teenager living in New York in 1882. Her father works for the museum and one day she discovers that their is life within one of the paintings. Cinder is a futuristic Cinderella story in which Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Beijing. I have a feeling that this series will be the next "big thing".  Both were so good and impossible to put down. I can't wait for the next books in the series. 

One Love. Last but not least. Last week I told you all about Cedella Marley's fabulous book One Love and now the finished books have arrived! Such a feel good story based on an equally feel good song. Make sure to check out the trailer in last week's blog post.

That's it for now! What have you all been reading this summer?

Happy Reading!

Notes From A Children’s Book Publicist- Volume Seven- One Love

by Crystal
Kids + Vancouver / August 04, 2011

Growing up my Dad had an incredible collection of vinyl records. My memories of childhood include waking up Sunday mornings to the smell of blueberry pancakes cooking and the sounds of Bob Marley, Crosby Still and Nash, Paul Simon, Bill Withers, Van Morrison and other great artists playing on the record player. 

I was one of the lucky few to attend the Fall 2011 Launch at Chronicle Books in January. My buddy Pete who attended with me can attest that I squealed a little bit when One Love by Cedella Marley was announced.

The presenters played a video that Cedella had created for us telling her story of growing up with Bob Marley as a father. She said as a child she and her brother's and sisters didn't realize that their father was famous. They thought that their dad wrote the music for them and they each had their own songs that their dad sang to them. One of Cedella's songs was One Love. It wasn't until she got a bit older that she realized that her father was a famous musician.

One Love is Cedella's adaptation of her father's song of love. Here is a sneek peak. I hope that you are excited about it as I am! 

Notes From A Children’s Book Publicist- Volume Six

by Crystal
Kids + News + Picture Books + Vancouver + YA Fiction / July 13, 2011


If you haven't already been able to guess, I'm crazy about my job. I love, love, love kid lit and to be able to work with such a variety of incredible children's publishers is a dream come true. I am passionate about kids books.
My job just recently got even better with the announcement that Raincoast is the new Canadian Distributor for Macmillan. 
While looking through their list I was struck by the fact that they had books from authors that I was crazy about as a kid (Madeleine L'Engle, Ann M. Martin, Francine Pascal), books that my husband read over and over again as a kid and continues to read as an adult (Orson Scott Card, Robert Jordan & Lloyd Alexander) and books that my two year old reads over and over again (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, My Friend Rabbit & anything by Roger Priddy). I have become a fan of many of Macmillans books and authors (Sara Varon, Tatiana De Rosnay, Gabrielle Zevin, Derek Kirk Kim, Karen Katz... really the list could go on and on and on) over my 12 years in the book industry and I am so excited to be working on the list. 
While reading the Macmillan Kids Enewsletter recently I found some of their incredible kid's trailers so here are two from one of my favorite children's authors/illustrators- Lane Smith.
It's A Little Book

Grandpa Green


Happy Reading!


Goodnight, Goodnight and Good Luck

by Brian
Film + Kids / July 05, 2011

Let me start this blog by first stating that, “I am against the exploitation of children in the work place.”

Now that that’s out of the way…

My nephew just turned two and I thought — what could be a better gift for a two year old than the gift of literacy? And in my search for the perfect book I had to look no further than Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld.


Here are a couple pictures of him with his newest and most prized possession.

This is his "Blue-Steel, get away from my book" pose.

And this is his "Le Tigre — Someone read this to me NOW!" pose.

Zoolander beware — My nephew's ready for his Walk-Off... after his nap.

Sunshine and Dystopia

by Siobhan
YA Fiction / July 05, 2011

I just saw this in today's Macmillan Kids Extra! eNewsletter and wanted to share.... Macmillan has put together a Dystopic Summer Reading List. Yes, dystopic.

It's perfect to keep you busy while you wait for The Hunger Games movie... or if all this bright, happy, sunny weather is bringing you down. Bring on the post-apocalyptic beach reads!


You can sign up for the Macmillan Kids Extra! eNewsletter here and sign up for Raincoast's own eNewsletters here.

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