July 2017 - Between the Pages: Cooking with Kids & The Adventures of Spike & Jeremiah


This cookbook is for adults and kids who cook together and learn together. The NM organization Cooking With Kids, founded in Santa Fe, produced a wonderful book that celebrates over two decades of educating school kids about growing and cooking healthful food. The authors have put their cumulative knowledge and souls into this book—a true gift to us all.

As a bookseller, I once sold children’s cookbooks—this one take the “cake”. The spiral spine opens flat and can turn back on itself to save space, and the pages are sturdy enough to wipe clean. My grand-daughter Kate (10) who cooks enjoys the illustrations drawn by her peers. Our favorite is the banana hugging a carrot. There is a helpful glossary of cooking words and an exceptional index. Many recipes are from around the world, replete with histories of recipe origins.

This cookbook is also a how-to guide, from planting seeds to harvest time. What to plant? Purple potatoes or purple carrots? Cook with legumes, fruits, and grains? There is a recipe for them all. The cookbook also provides creative space to write a poem using recipe names, as well as coloring pages. Kate especially likes the clear ingredient lists and directions. And how she and her grand-dad can plant a new summer garden with the book’s mantra—together. - Ruth E. Francis and Kate Hella

Cooking With Kids

Sally Walters and Jane Stacey With Gabrielle Gonzales

UNM Press 2016

Spiral bound hardback: $24.95

176 pages & 5 color photos

National Winner of the 2017 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Children Category

The Adventures of Spike & Jeremiah celebrates children’s power of imagination. The book highlights the relationship between a young boy and his reptile as they discover the wonders of the world by incorporating art, friendship, and wonder. Native author Magdelena Thomas looked close to home for the characters of the book. “The story was inspired by my sons and the fact that there were no books that highlighted a bearded dragon.” Bearded dragons are frequently favored as excellent reptilian pets for children.

Reader response to the book has been favorable—it is nearly out of stock on Amazon. Thomas has been happy with the support. “The response has been great but slow because I am an independent, self-published author. It is up to me, and my vision, to knock on doors and continually talk to people about my passion for my son and Spike [the bearded dragon] so they can join the adventure!”

The book is truly a family affair, with Thomas giving her sons the opportunity to take part in the process. “My oldest son, Matthew, also gets involved in the setup of book signings and picture approval. We encourage each other every day to be the best version of us. I am a huge advocate [of] allowing your children to flourish under guidance and encouragement.” The Adventures of Spike & Jeremiah will be having a book reading on Friday, July 28, from 11:00am to 12:30pm at Bookworks in Albuquerque. The reading will be followed by a signing with the star of the book, Jeremiah, and a #SpiketheBeardedDragon mascot. - Teresa Ewers

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