Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sunday November 30th, 2014 Themed Cooking with Kids

Some of my best childhood memories are of spending time cooking and baking with family members. I’m not sure how helpful I actually was, but at the time I thought I was saving the day when I ran into the kitchen with my little apron, chef hat and plastic spatula. I can’t remember many cooking shows on tv but I don’t know if any could have held a candle to Pasquale’s Kitchen. I can remember my very first kid’s cookbook, My First Cookbook by Rena Coyle, and wanting to try out each recipe. Perhaps the beginning of a future culinary career, or maybe just impatient, curious and always hungry!

Kids these days have many more options when they begin to take an interest in cooking and baking; our shelves are full of fun and age appropriate cookbooks for kids of all ages. These are some of our awesome character based kids cookbooks:

C is for Cooking, Recipes from the Street by Susan McQuillan
This book is great not only for recipes like Easy Cheesy Waffles, Grover’s Chicken and Couscous with Juice-Juice and Oscar’s Quick Dip in the Mud but before you dive into the recipes there are notes about related topics such as nutrition, safety and allergies. One great feature of this book is that each recipe contains at least one highlighted task that can be done by a young child. This is not only a helping hand for parents, but it also gives kids a task they can look forward to performing. And of course I have to mention that the book is filled with everyone’s favourite Sesame Street characters.

Pinkalicious Cupcake Cookbook by Victoria Kann
Even as a trained pastry chef I had no idea you could do so many things with a cupcake! The book only has a few recipes at the beginning, but it’s these cupcakes that are used throughout the book to make star wands, castles, Christmas trees, snowmen and so many other cute confections. This book would be a fantastic foundation for a Pinkalicious themed birthday or tea party.

Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook by Georgeanna Brennan
How could any children’s book review be done without including Dr. Seuss? I’m not actually sure what to say about this book other than it’s fantastic! Of course I haven’t actually tried any of the recipes yet, but my to-make list includes Blueberry Bumplings with a side of Glunker Stew (but please hold the oysters), Cat in the Hat Tub Cake, Cindy-Lou Who-Wreaths and of course Who-Roast Beast. Each recipe is accompanied by a picture of the corresponding book and most include a quote from the book. While the recipes range from simple to more advanced each recipe has at least one small task that a child can complete on their own or with minimal adult help.

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes by Roald Dahl
This was one book that I did not browse for very long, due to rather unappetizing titles and pictures, but I’m sure most Dahl fans would disagree. They might even enjoy Snozzcumbers, Mosquitoe’s Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried, Mr. Twit’s Beard Food and Stink Bugs’ Eggs. I have to give credit where it is due and say that although the titles (and often pictures) are not the most appealing the book is very well done and does a great job of following Dahl’s characters and storylines.
These are just four of the many kids cookbooks we have waiting for you on our shelves. So next time you have a hankering for Yots in Pots, Big Bird’s Spaghetti Pie, Fresh Mud Burgers or for a Teeny Tiny Pinky Cupcake or just have a kid interested in exploring the kitchen, you know where to turn.

Chelsea Cernjul-Marsonet

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday November 23rd, 2014 Have you heard the hoopla?

Have you heard the hoopla about the library’s newest digital product? Coincidentally, it’s called hoopla!  So what is it exactly? It’s online access to thousands of movies, television, music and audiobook titles, free to you with a Thunder Bay Public Library card. You need to have an email address and set a PIN on your library card. Download the free hoopla digital mobile app on your Android or IOS device or visit on your PC, set up your account and away you go. Here are few details about the service.

Loan periods vary. You can enjoy most movie and TV content for 72 hours (3 days) after borrowing (a very small number of movie titles are available for 48 hours). Music albums are available for 7 days, and audiobooks are available for 21 days. And you don’t have to worry about fines as these items are automatically returned.

Limits exist. You can borrow 8 items per month (based on a calendar month). But the really good thing is it that there’s no waiting – access is 24/7 with no “holds” lists. Please note that returning a title early does not give you additional borrows for that month.

It’s kind of like Netflix. The look is similar but the content is different. Hoopla offers an extensive catalogue of education materials, children’s titles, foreign films and other hard-to-find content in addition to mainstream movies, TV and music. Best of all, you get same day release of popular music albums. And hoopla puts together themed collections. Right now there’s Festive Family Flicks in movies, Cozy, Contemporary Christmas in music and Holiday Stories in audiobooks.

Content changes. New material is added weekly but due to copyright limitations some titles don’t last long. Get it while it’s hot!

Downloading is temporary. Borrowed titles are only available for temporary download on mobile devices, such as iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) and supported Android phones or tablets. All titles are streamed so you do need an Internet connection, at least to start.

Help is available. There is an extensive section in hoopla itself: plus our personal technology assistant is ready to help as well. Just call Margaret at 345-8275 (extension 7251) or email to make an appointment.

No privacy worries. No one can see what titles you have borrowed.  As an added bonus, there are no ads either.

Like what you’re hearing? You can get to hoopla right from the library’s webpage ( by clicking on Online Stuff. You can also like hoopla on Facebook at, follow on Twitter at @hoopladigital, and subscribe on YouTube at I’m sure you will indeed find something you like with hoopla!

Sylvia Renaud

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sunday November 9th, 2014 And the Giller goes to...

On Monday November 10, the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize will be awarded to one of six shortlisted Canadian novels. This year’s festival will be hosted by CBC’s Rick Mercer and adjudicated by writers Shauna Singh Baldwin, Justin Cartwright, and Francine Prose.

The Giller Prize was first awarded back in 1994 to The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji, by Jack Rabinovitch in honor of his late wife Donna Giller. The award celebrates the best and innovative in Canadian literature, from both well-established and independent publishing houses. In the past, writers as diverse as Rohinton Mistry, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro and Joseph Boyden have all been awarded this prestigious prize.  

This year’s nominees for the Giller showcase an exciting array of fiction. Fortunately for all dedicated readers, all of the shortlisted titles are available at your Thunder Bay Public Library. Here is a brief synopsis on the breadth of talent competing for this year’s Giller Prize. 

All My Puny Sorrows, the latest from Miriam Toews, follows two inseparable but very different sisters, Elf and Yoli; Elf a celebrated concert pianist with a loving family, but living with a strong urge to end her life, and Yoli, a meandering freelance writer bouncing from one disastrous relationship to the next. After the death of their father by suicide, Yoli takes it upon herself to save her sister from a similar fate.

David Bezmogzis’ The Betrayers is at once a serious and comical meditation on coincidence, morality and (hence the title) betrayal. In the course of 24 hours, a former Israeli politician, after being exposed by his political opponents for betraying his wife, takes refuge in Crimea with his young mistress where he meets a former colleague who betrayed him to the KGB. Throughout the tightly wound plot, The Betrayers explores the themes of betrayal, forgiveness and reconciliation. 

Similar in narrative scope is Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao where we follow a psychologist who interviews family members who had lost loved ones in the Air India flight 182 in 1985. As Ashwin Rao conducts his research on the comparative grief of family members, we come to learn that Rao himself had family on that fatal flight. Viswanathan’s novel is itself a study of how we cope with loss and tragedy, how it can tear and unite us.

As with Viswanathan’s novel, the examination of human intricacies and behaviour continues in the latest from Francis Itani. Tell an ambitious novel set in the wake of World War I weaves interlocking stories of the inhabitants of Bay of Quinte. Through the vivid characters that Itani creates, she explores how secrets of the heart can both bind and render us.

In Heather O’Neil’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, we meet Nouschka Tremblay, along with her twin brother Nicolas, trying desperately to escape the spotlight cast on them as a result of their father Etienne, a beloved folk singer in Montreal. As Nouschka tries to gain independence and control over her life, her brother decides to take the backseat approach, waiting for a solution to come to him.

Sean Michaels second effort, Us Conductors takes on the challenging task of telling the history of the musical instrument “theremin” while incorporating the life events of its inventor Lev Terman. Michaels’ introduces us to Terman, Russian inventor, scientist and spy, sharing his life history with Clara Rockmore, love of his life and in his mind the greatest theremin player in the world.

For more information on the Scotiabank Giller prize, visit their website and stay tuned to CBC television at 9:00 pm on November 10 when the Giller prize will be awarded. Visit TBPL’s online catalogue to locate or reserve any one of these novels.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday November 2nd, 2014 TBPL and IFOA

Since its inception in 1974, The International Festival of Authors has played an important role in the cultural life of Canada. IFOA presents international novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers, and provides them with an internationally recognized forum in which to present their work.

Thunder Bay Public Library, Lakehead University, Northern Woman's Bookstore and Thunder Bay Art Gallery are pleased to host the fourth annual IFOA Ontario reading, with Lisa Laco of CBC Radio as Master of Ceremonies. Come and join authors Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Alison Pick, and Michael Winter as they read from their latest novels at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery on Thursday November 6 at 7 pm.

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is the author of the novels Perfecting and The Nettle Spinner, as well as the story collection Way Up. On Thursday Kuitenbrouwer presents All the Broken Things, a captivating novel about loyalty and acceptance and the ties that bind us together. The story follows fourteen-year-old Bo from Vietnam, who lives in a small house in a Toronto neighbourhood with his mother. He has a younger sister who is disfigured and whose future he takes upon himself to protect. It is written in a way that is both sad and hopeful. Each branch of TBPL has a copy of this book, published in 2014 by Random House of Canada in Toronto. 

Alison Pick is the author of Far to Go, named a Top 10 of 2010 Book by NOW Magazine and the Toronto Star. Pick presents a memoir entitled Between Gods, Published by Doubleday Canada in 2014. The book is a memoir of her life journey. Born in the 70’s and raised in a loving family, she discovered a secret when she reaches her teens that changed her life.  She learns that her grandparents were Jewish, had escaped from the Czechoslovakia during World War II, and that many members of her family had suffered and subsequently died in concentration camps. She struggles with this truth which takes her a lifetime journey to accept so that she can at last look forward to the future.  

Michael Winter is the author of many well-known novels, including The Architects Are Here. Recipient of the Writers' Trust Notable Author Award, Winter presents his first non-fiction book, Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead, a gripping story of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the Battle of the Somme in World War I, one hundred years ago. This extraordinary narrative follows two parallel journeys. The first is of the young men who came from Newfoundland to join the regiment that led many of them to their deaths at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916. The second journey is the author’s, taken a century later as he walks in their footsteps to discover what remains of their passage through memory. Published by Doubleday in 2014, there are two copies on order for the Thunder Bay Public Library. 

If this sounds intriguing, pick up your ticket(s) at the Waverley Library, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, or the Northern Womans’ Bookstore then head over to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery at Confederation College, 1080 Keewatin Street for 7:00 pm this coming Thursday. You can call the Waverley Library at 684-6811 for more information.  This event is made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s Ontario Touring Program. 

Caron E Naysmith