Books to Eat started in the Spring of 2013 as a fun activity in the library to encourage students to get creative in the kitchen. Friends and I had participated in a couple of Edible Books Competitions at a local Shanghai restaurant as part of their annual literary festival; we thought it would transfer well into an elementary school environment.
Nine years and over 1400 entries later, and I can say with confidence that our community refers to it as one of the highlights of the school year. Everyone can participate, everyone is a winner, and everyone enjoys seeing the amazing contributions from the youngest to the oldest of students in our community.
The criteria for the activity is broad, allowing students to think outside the box. Connect ANY food with ANY book.
Don't have an oven? No problem. Never baked before? Not to worry. Sweets aren't my thing? No problem. There is something in this for EVERY one. The event is spread out over 3-4 Mondays as that gives families the chance to create over the weekend. Students then bring in their creations on Monday morning, set them out on huge trestle tables spread down the centre of the library where we prop up their book, label their entry and take their photo. It is chaotic explosion of activity that really gets the heart started, that's for sure; 60 minutes of enthusiastic chaos while we get everything set up.
Then, all classes are invited to come through the library to look at the entries. There is lots of oohing and aahing and instructions from teachers to not touch the food! We try and get everyone to see the entries before 2 pm, as then, we need most of the final hour of the day to cut them up, which is sometime very hard, due to how wonderful they are, or how huge! As students make their way to buses and cars after school we have pieces of cake, brownies, cookies and biscuits ready for them to take home, or, eat on their way out. It is a chaotic end to a creative day.
Books to Eat Fact Sheet
Decide on dates for your Books to Eat Competition
Send announcements out with homeroom teachers and present to your community i.e. parent association, PTSA about the event.
Decide which grades you would like to go first, depending on the size of your school, this event could be over in a day, a few days, or spread out over a number of weeks.
Things to consider…
Make sure to label every child’s materials as they come in (or better still, ask for only disposable plates/trays/pans to be sent in with the entry)
To see more photos and stories of Books to Eat over the years, check out my blog. Type Books to Eat into the search function.
You can also go onto social media, like twitter and instagram where I'm The Barefoot Librarian. Many of the Books to Eat posts are tagged
#books2eat, #bookstoeat or #ediblebooks.