Archive | July, 2014

On the Spectrum

30 Jul

What do composer Wolfgang Mozart, actress Daryl Hannah, comedian Dan Aykroyd, director Tim Burton, artist Andy Warhol, and animal scientist Temple Grandin all have in common?  All of these creative and famous people have been identified as being on the autism spectrum.   In the United States, 1 in 68 children are identified as having autism.  The disorder is 4 to 5 times more common in boys than in girls.

As with any disability, a child with autism is not an island unto themselves.  Parents, siblings, and extended family members are all involved when a diagnosis of autism is given.  It is for this reason that the majority of children’s books about people with autism are aimed at family members, especially siblings.  Any sibling of a child with disabilities has different expectations placed upon them.  They are asked to be patient, mature beyond their years, and understanding, not just of their sibling’s limitations, but also of the extra attention that a sibling with special needs demands.  It’s a significant burden for any child and any family.  The following books are aimed at helping family members deal with the needs of a family member with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder):

Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism, by Laurie Lears.


Although having a brother like Ian is challenging to his sister, she loves him and is very concerned when Ian gets lost in the park.  (Picture book)

My Brother Charlie: A Sister’s Story of Autism, by Holly Robinson Peete.


Author Peete is an actress and television personality who has also become a strong advocate for autism awareness.  This book, co-written with her daughter whose twin has autism, describes what it’s like to love a brother who can’t always verbalize that he loves her back.  The book describes Charlie’s strengths and the barriers he faces, every day, and how his sister tries hard to help him. (Picture book)

Owen Has Burgers and Drum: Helping to Understand and Befriend Kids with Asperger’s Syndrome, by Christine M. Sheils.


Calvin has a new classmate.  His name is Owen and Calvin overhears his teacher say that Owen has something called “burgers and drum.”  Calvin is puzzled because he doesn’t see a drum or a burger in Owen’s backpack.  Owen acts differently than Calvin’s other friends and, while Calvin wants to be friends, Owen’s peculiar behavior makes it difficult.  Then, in an emergency situation, Owen’s ability to focus on rules makes him a hero and Calvin better understands what makes his friend special. (Ages 4 to 7)

Russell’s World: A Story for Kids About Autism, by Charles Amenta.


This book was first published in 1992.  It has been updated to show how Russell has grown and changed.  The book is illustrated with photos, collage, and appropriately child-like artwork.  The author describes some of the behaviors associated with autism, however he relates it to Russell rather than making broad generalizations.  Back matter offers help to parents as to where to find services that can benefit a child on the autism spectrum.   (Ages 5 and above)

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and Their Parents), by Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve.


Two mothers of children with ASD combine their knowledge on how to deal with family situations when a sibling has autism.  The book is colorful, engaging, and represents a range of ethnicities supporting the fact that autism occurs across the spectrum.  The book is actually meant to be used by a parent to share with a child, and is helpful in showing the child how to accept themselves and help families explain the disorder to other people.  The authors skillfully weave biographical entries about different children with different degrees of autism to show how the disorder presents in different cases.  (Ages 8 to 13)

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World, by Sy Montgomery.


Grandin, for many, has become the face of autism and how high-functioning people with autism can become successful. Grandin worked within the barriers of her disorder and used her uncanny focus and ability to identify with cows to make major changes in the way penned animals were handled more humanely.  Grandin also managed to overcome gender barriers to become a professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University.  A remarkable life and career, and an outstanding biography for children. (Ages 9 to 12)

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome, by Clarabelle Van Niekirk and Liezl Venter.


Sam is a giggling, happy boy who can’t deal well with change, is afraid of loud noises, and has trouble making friends.  When he is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, his parents assemble a team of teachers and therapists to help Sam make progress and discover his musical talent, as well.  Bright pictures and helpful tips for kids who have a friend with Asperger’s Syndrome.  (Ages 5 to 7)

Waiting for Benjamin: A Story About Autism, by Alexandra Jessup Altman.


Alexander, a young boy, talks about his two-year-old brother’s diagnosis of ASD.  At first, he is embarrassed by his sibling, and jealous of the extra attention that he gets from two itinerant teachers who visit to help Benjamin learn.  But as his brother acquires language skills and is better able to play with him, Alexander becomes more accepting of his brother’s disability.  (Ages 7 to 9)

These books are all available from The Hoboken Public Library.  The staff will be happy to help you locate these and other titles through the BCCLS Library system.

-Written by Lois Rubin Gross, Senior Children’s Librarian

Foodie Magazines and Ruth Reichl’s Delicious!

23 Jul

As it becomes easy to simply type into Google and run a search on any recipe you feel like making that day, the need to spend money on cooking magazines may seem unnecessary.  Many magazines have gone extinct in their paper forms; a few years ago I mourned one of my favorites, Gourmet’s monthly print edition’s demise.  There is something enjoyable about flipping through pages (whether real or virtual) and viewing the delicious full color images of meals you may not have considered trying otherwise.  The library has a variety of foodie magazines that you can borrow.  We keep the current and previous year, and all but the latest issues of the magazines circulate.  And for those who prefer to view their periodicals on tablets or ereaders HPL/BCCLS offers digital magazines as well for download from our Zinio service.  You can also check out Gourmet’s former editor Ruth Reichl’s new novel, Delicious!, set at a food magazine.

Bon Appetit always reminded me of Gourmet’s hipper, younger brother.  It has plenty of recipes that will impress for a dinner date at home or a summer party.   In July’s issue learn about Adam Sachs’s clever creation of smoker for salmon and mozzarella made out of a filing cabinet and read a quirky interview of Community/The Soup’s Joel McHale.  Learn how to make Shrimp and Fresh Corn Grits, discover recipes perfect for a Moroccan inspired feast, and concoct frozen cocktails made with fresh fruit!   If you enjoy Bon Appetit, you might also like to check out Saveur available through Zinio.  It is a feast for foodies with stories of traveling to world cuisine destinations, food trends, and quality recipes.  If on the other hand you are looking for simpler home cooking download instead Taste of Home, which has easy recipes with pantry staples, often provided by the magazine’s readers.

Pairing wine with food can make a good meal even more special, but for many wine can be an intimidating topic. HPL has two print magazines that can help you whether you are a connoisseur or a wine newbie.  Wine Enthusiast magazine gives you a buying guide of wines from a variety of countries and at diverse price points for every budget.  Beyond wine it also gives some coverage of beer and each month has a featured cocktail–August’s is an updated version of the Peruvian libation Pisco Punch.  Also check out Food and Wine; the August issue features everything from an article on Native American Cuisine, a primer on Rose Wines, to even a short interview with Tori Amos.

Even when you are watching your waistline food can still be enjoyable.  Cooking Light has delicious recipes that are also good for you.  Always interesting is the recipe makeover, which shows how you can take an unhealthy dish and reduce the calories, fat, salt, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients, but still create something flavorful and delicious.  This July’s issue, available in print from HPL, includes an articles on the hot topic of going Gluten-Free.  Enjoy recipes for luscious peaches, tangy pickles, summer salsas, grilled meats, and more. You can also find some great easy and healthy recipes in Eating Well and diabetics can check out Diabetic Living available online for download from Zinio.

Whether you are a vegetarian or are trying to reduce your meat consumption for health reasons, Vegetarian Times has great recipes that will have even carnivores not missing the meat.  June’s issue includes some clever veggie tacos, home brewed sodas, and an article on Vegetarians Chefs in the United Kingdom.  It along with another vegetarian magazine, VegNews are also available online through Zinio.

Of course the library has a variety of other print magazines that include recipes as well that suit a variety of readers needs and lifestyles including Weight Watchers, Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, and Real Simple (all but Real Simple are also available from Zinio).  Also from Zinio you can download Every Day with Rachael Ray and Food Network Magazine for fans of the food channel’s programming and recipes.


Though Gourmet is no longer published, Ruth Reichl, who was the magazine’s editor for ten years, is still leaving her mark on the food world.  Delicious! is Ruth Reichl’s first novel, but those who have read her nonfiction works will be familiar with her beautiful prose and mouthwatering descriptions of the food.  The book’s protagonist Billie Breslin has dropped out of college and traveled across the country to New York to work at Delicious! (described as an iconic food magazine, one would presume it was inspired by her time at Gourmet).  But then when Delicious! is suddenly shut down, Billie is the only staff member left behind answering reader complaints and questions from the magazine’s readers in the old converted mansion used as the Delicious! former base.  When she discovers letters written by a twelve year old girl to James Beard during World War II, she finds not only a mystery, but also understanding about some of her own life’s dilemmas.  Although some of the situations seem implausible, the quirky cast of characters and yummy food writing will make this a quick summer snack.  I devoured it in two nights before bed, but it seems like it would also be a great beach read.  I’m looking forward to trying to bake up Billie’s signature Gingerbread recipe, which is included and sounds scrumptious.

Stop by the library or click on Zinio link on our homepage to read about and cook up something new today!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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