Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Cookies

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It’s Valentine’s Day! So let’s celebrate love. Here’s some books to help with that.

Love You more by Susan MusgraveQuiz Queens by K.L. DenmanAt the Edge of the Wrold by Kari Jones

Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast

 









Love You More

by Susan Musgrave and illustrated by Experanca Melo

I love you more than the stars so high
Winking and dancing in the January sky.

Spanning one full calendar year, this rhyming board book celebrates the deep love between parent and child. Rendered in couplets, the verses weave expressions of affection with vivid imagery from the natural world, making it ideal for teaching young ones about the seasons and the beauty of nature.

With vibrant, heartwarming illustrations, this is a perfect read-aloud to foster warmth and closeness with baby.

Quiz Queens

by K.L. Denman

Jane has no interest in boys. Her mom, Sherry, has brought home so many creeps over the years that Jane has decided to focus for the next five years on her studies. Her best friend, the boy-crazy Kiara, is obsessed with online quizzes and convinces Jane to help her create a questionnaire that will determine whether muscular Liam or Omar with the cute eyes is her true soul mate. Their friendship is tested when the answers come back with a surprising third option, the quiet and awkward Javier. Jane fails to reveal the results, which leads to some heated words being exchanged and long-held resentments (and possible secret crushes) being revealed. One of the besties will have to swallow her pride to make the first move and try to repair the damage.

 

At the Edge of the World

by Kari Jones

Maddie and Ivan have been friends forever. They go to school together, surf, party, and hang out all the time. Ivan eats at Maddie’s house almost every day. But all is not well in Ivan’s world, and as control of his life slips farther away from him, Maddie agonises over her role in his life. Ivan fears the fallout if the people in his community discover what he’s been hiding, but Maddie thinks telling his secret will help him. As Maddie struggles to figure out her own post-high-school path, she worries about how to deal with the things she knows about Ivan’s life. Is she a keeper of his secrets? Should she help him hide what’s going on in his family? Or should she tell someone and get help? What does betrayal look like when your best friend is in trouble?

 

Audacious

by Gabrielle Prendergast

Sixteen-year-old Raphaelle says the wrong thing, antagonizes the wrong people and has the wrong attitude. She can’t do anything right except draw, but she draws the wrong pictures. When her father moves the family to a small prairie city, Raphaelle wants to make a new start. Reborn as “Ella,” she tries to fit in at her new school. She’s drawn to Samir, a Muslim boy in her art class, and expresses her confused feelings in explicit art. When a classmate texts a photo of Ella’s art to a younger friend, the fallout spreads throughout Ella’s life, threatening to destroy her already-fragile family. Told entirely in verse, Audacious is a brave, funny and hard-hitting portrait of a girl who embodies the word audacity.

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And a cookie recipe to bake in preparation for the perfect reading scenario (a book, milk, and warm cookies)…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water (or brewed coffee, if you have it)
  • 2 tablespoons special dark (or regular) cocoa powder
  • 1 box (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate, chocolate fudge, or special dark pudding mix (not sugar-free)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Valentine M&Ms, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup Valentine sprinkles, plus more for topping

Directions:

Note: this dough requires chilling.

  1. Grease the cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Cream butter and both sugars. Mix in vanilla, egg, and water (or coffee). Add cocoa powder and pudding mix (the powder) and mix until smooth.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the M&Ms and sprinkles.
  4. Scoop 2 tablespoon sized balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Press a few M&Ms and sprinkles on the top of each cookie ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the cookies for at least 1 hour.
  5. After they have chilled, press each cookie dough ball down slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until they just start to lose their glossy sheen. Rotate the cookie sheet in the oven halfway through for even baking.
  6. Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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