A Plate of Christmas Cookies, Kind Of…

My sweet neighbor sent over a plate of Christmas cookies the other day, via her 8-year old son, Henry (who is maybe a foot taller than the last time I talked with him in September as school opened) and her 5-year old daughter, Thea (ditto.) The kids, of course, are even more of a treat than the cookies.

I’m going to offer up my own little plate of “cookies” on Books Around the Table today – links to delicious articles I’ve read in the past month that I want to share. Think of them as gingerbread men, peppermint bark, Mexican wedding cookies, shortbread, chocolate chips, little reindeer and Santas and mittens – sugar cookies with red and green frosting and white piping. Enjoy!


Have you seen the New York Times announcement of “Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2022”? I like a lot of them this year — they seem kid-oriented, lots of fun. I went immediately to my library to check them out – and a couple of them are so popular right now that I’m on a waiting list to get them. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? My favorites of the books I found on the shelf and brought home were Yellow Dog Blues, written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Chris Raschka, and Telling Stories Wrong by Gianni Rodari, illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna. The latter will make kids hoot with laughter. I’d love to be at a read-aloud of that with kids in stitches. Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/10/books/review/the-2022-new-york-times-new-york-public-library-best-illustrated-childrens-books.html

from Telling Stories Wrong
Cover of Yellow Dog Blues

“An Awe Walk Might Do Wonders for Your Well-Being” – nothing better than fresh air to get you out of the doldrums, clear your head, remind you there’s a lovely world out there, make you feel creative. Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/well/move/an-awe-walk-might-do-wonders-for-your-well-being.html


Do you know the work of the South Korean author-illustrator Baek Heena? She won the 2020 Astrid Lingdgren Award but her prize ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic. The citation about her work says, “With exquisite feeling for materials, looks and gestures, Baek Heena’s filmic picture books stage stories about solitude and solidarity. In her evocative miniature worlds, cloud bread and sorbet moons, animals, bath fairies and people converge. Her work is a doorway to the marvelous: sensuous, dizzying, and sharp.” If your local library doesn’t have any of her books, urge them to purchase a few. Here’s the link to the announcement about her prize: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/82868-baek-heena-wins-2020-astrid-lindgren-award.html

And here is the general Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award page, with the 2021 and 2022 winners – Jean-Claude Mourlevat and Eva Lindstrom: https://alma.se/en/

Baek Heena with some of the figures she uses to illustrate her picture books.

“A Fast-Growing Network of Conservative Groups Is Fueling a Surge in Book Bans” – disturbing news. Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/12/books/book-bans-libraries.html


Tsundoku: That’s the Japanese word for a stack(s) of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. It comes from the words  tsunde-oku (letting things pile up) and dukosho (reading books). I have a few stacks, to say the least. And here is a wonderful article from Big Think about how important these stacks are when it comes to reminding us that we don’t know everything! https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/do-i-own-too-many-books/

Here is what Maria Popova at Brain Pickings has to say about Umberto Eco’s definition of the “anti-library”: (actually, it’s a review of the book Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, about Eco’s idea.) https://www.themarginalian.org/2015/03/24/umberto-eco-antilibrary/

If you want to read about more “untranslatable words” like “tsundoku,” take a look at Lost in Translation: An Iluustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders.


That’s it for my little plate of holiday “cookies.” Hope you’ve found them delicious, too. Wishing you all the joys of the season!

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