Here’s a treat for you today. Are you ready to discover a whole bunch of books on an urban theme that you might not have noticed but really should check out? Welcome to BOOK CITY, a one day, one shot tour of titles that showcase city living. The tour lineup can be found here, at Colleen’s blog. But start right here, with this book:
Can fortune cookies change a neighborhood for the better? In Lisa Greenwald’s Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes they can, and I’m volunteering to test out the concept on my street some day soon. I’d like to believe that there are cities where neighbors you just sort of recognize but don’t really know yet could show up on your doorstep with a homemade treat and you’d be delighted, rather than weirded out. While this notion might seem too-good-to-be-true for many jaded urbanites, I think kids will buy into it. Plus, I do believe cookies can bring people together, and a fortune cookie, with its extra element of surprise wisdom seems as likely a candidate for bringing people together as any cookie I can think of.
Best friends Olivia, Kate, and Georgia are seventh-graders who live on the seventh floor of the same Brooklyn apartment building. They’ve been friends forever, but lately their friendship hasn’t been as simple as it used to be. Georgia has a secret she doesn’t want to share. Kate thinks she knows what’s right for everyone and doesn’t hold back on sharing her opinions. Olivia can’t seem to break out of her role as an observer and take the first step when it comes to her longtime megacrush. A Valentine’s Day blizzard and resulting snow day leads the girls to create a plan to distribute homemade fortune cookies all through their building. They’re wondering if this simple idea will mend their friendship issues and help them to make their building more like one big home, where people choose to step out of their apartments and get to know one another.
First off, a book with a cooking focus gets immediate points for me. I like stories that explore how creating yummy food brings people together and just generally makes life better. And fortune cookies? Who doesn’t love them? (Even those stale-tasting ones you sometimes get with Chinese take-out. My sister and I used to fight tooth and nail for the last one in the bag). I admit I was really surprised not to find a recipe and instructions for do-it-yourself fortune cookies at the back of Greenwald’s book. Book club party + fortune cookie making = happiness, right? Never fear! Here is a link that will satisfy any would-be cookie makers. Continue reading