Saturday, April 16, 2022

Cartoon Saturday-- Yummy: A History of Desserts

When I am not obsessively reading, I am usually sewing obnoxious clothing for myself, quilting, knitting, or doing needlepoint! I love crafts, and very much enjoyed reading Lisa Papademetriou's Heart and Crafts! Here's a short Q & A with this fun middle grade author. 

Latest from Bestselling Author, Lisa Papademetriou

(Confectionately Yours, Middle School: Big, Fat Liar)

Mackenzie Miller loves a project. In addition to making candle holders and friendship bracelets, there's the Mom Project (finding her a boyfriend -- even if she says she's not interested), the Friend Project (win back the BFFs who dumped her and make a new friend), and the Band Project (so what if she's never planned a fundraiser? How hard can it be?).

But life doesn’t come with a set of instructions. The harder Mackenzie works to craft the perfect school year, the more she feels like she's failing. She can do it all…can't she?

This fast, funny novel is the Ted Lasso of kids’ books: full of nice people trying their best and not always living up to their own expectations. Comes with craft directions for making one of Mackenzie’s signature bracelets!

Lisa Papademetriou (Papa-Dim-Meet-Ree-Yoo) is the author of numerous novels for tween and teen readers, including the new series Hearts and Crafts; A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic (a South Asia Book Award Highly Commended Title); the New York Times-bestselling novel Middle School: Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), and the Confectionately Yours series (almost 1,000,000 books in print). Her books have appeared on many prestigious lists, including Bank Street Best Books of the Year, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List and have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, and Japanese. A former editor at Scholastic, Disney Press, and HarperCollins, Lisa is also the founder of, the premier creativity and productivity tool for writers.

What inspired this book? Especially--"interweaving" crafts/making into the story?

The past few years have been really rough ones for me, personally, and for a lot of people I knew. My daughter is in middle school, and I saw how tough it is to manage all of her shifting friendships. I felt like I wanted to write a feel-good book—a story that was full of nice people and funny situations. I felt like we all needed a laugh; I knew I did. I've always loved crafting, and so does my daughter. It's the perfect thing to do when you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed—just make something pretty. So I thought that would be perfect for the character of Mackenzie.

How has your daughter affected your story telling? Or this story?

Watching my daughter grow up is a good reminder of how hard it is to be a tween. Grown-ups often tell kids that they don't have "real" problems. But figuring out how to deal with other people—including friends, parents/caregivers, siblings, and teachers—and your own emotions is tough work. And those problems are very real when you're going through them. Breaking up with a friend as a tween can feel as hard as breaking up with a spouse as an adult. It's intense. It's emotional. In my work, I always try to honor these everyday sorts of problems.

Are you a maker? (crafty one?) If yes, what are your favorite materials to work with?

I love crafting! My favorite craft is quilting, but it's a bit cumbersome, so I tend to work with yarn more often. I knit a bit and love to crochet. My daughter is terrific with painting and hand-lettering. Calligraphy is one thing I'd love to learn. I also love to make fun, simple crafts. I even have a monthly author newsletter, where I send readers a new, easy craft each month along with a creative writing idea!

Elliott, Victoria Grace.  Yummy: A History of Desserts
November 30th 2021 by Random House Graphic
Public library copy

With the help of a sprite named Peri and her friends Fee and Fada, we get a graphic overview of the history of desserts, from pie to cake to gummy candy. In addition to the history and development of different desserts, including information about the effects of colonization on people and supply chains, we see the science of different baking techniques. I learned a LOT about how eggs were used in cake baking (I am never beating anything for an hour!) as well as the chemistry of baking soda and baking powder, although I already knew how pie crust works. Also covered are ice cream, cookies (including Mrs. Wakefield's contribution), brownies, and doughnuts. There is a ton of history (ancient to modern), "interviews" with famous dessert inventors, and a wealth of information about variations on the themes. The illustrations are colorful and have an ice cream parlor feel to them. 

I bought this one without reading it first, and somehow was surprised that it was in graphic format. There is a huge amount of information in the book, and I almost think it would have worked better with a heavily illustrated traditional nonfiction layout. Having a table of contents and more space for all of the facts would have been helpful. I also might have saved the gummies chapter for another whole book on candy. 

Curious to see how my students react to this one.
 Ms. Yingling

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