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March MOSS Kids Book Club

And our March pick is...


Memory Garden by Zohreh Ghahremani, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani


March Pick -- Memory Garden

Join us as we read a heartwarming story that celebrates the power of family and cherished memories. Follow a young girl and her Nana as they work side by side in a garden telling a much larger story of immigration & change. Written and illustrated by a loving mother-daughter duo, we're invited to enjoy the beauty of Iranian gardens & culture.


Zohreh Ghahremani is an author, speaker, and painter whose work is heavily influenced by her experiences as a Middle Eastern immigrant and her background as a poet. Zoe actually began writing as a child, completing two novels before her teens! However, she was encouraged by family to pursue a more traditional profession and so became a dentist while her passion for literature stayed in her heart. Following her graduation from London University, for two decades she ran a busy pediatric dentistry practice in the Chicago area and taught at Northwestern University’s Dental School, but kept reading and writing at any opportunity. One day, she heard the advice that “if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you should do it” – so she walked into her office, put her practice for sale, and never looked back. She now writes for both adults and children; Memory Garden is her debut picture book! Born in Iran, Zoe became a US citizen nearly fifty years ago and now lives with her husband in San Diego, where she lives this dream routine, taking breaks to participate in literary events, go antiquing (another passion!), or visit with her children and grandchildren.


Susie Ghahremani is an award-winning illustrator, an internationally exhibiting artist, entrepreneur, designer and advocate for the illustration community. In addition to illustrating for commercial and editorial clients, Susie designs and develops a whimsically illustrated stationery and gift brand titled Boygirlparty® consisting of more than 500 products, popular at independent boutiques and galleries to retailers such as ModCloth, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. She has illustrated many picture books -- WHAT WILL GROW?, SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED, LITTLE MUIR'S NIGHT& more. She is the author/illustrator of one of our family's favorite series -- STACK THE CATS & BALANCE THE BIRDS. Susie lives in San Diego, California with her husband and zillions of pets. Visit her online at boygirlparty.com.


Below you will find our monthly craft; printable activity sheets; and our community outreach activity where we will be planting seeds for growth throughout our community. For more books to read this month, don't forget to check out our gardens book list:


We really hope you enjoy this month of book club as we try to keep our nationwide book club free & accessible for all. Each book is intentionally handpicked with each activity and outreach curated to engage and enrich our youth's experiences. Through these diverse and inclusive reads, working and playing together, and giving back to their own community, we hope to instill empathy, understanding, & kindness in our kids. If you didn't receive a copy of the book, don't fret. Email us at hello@mosskidsbooks.com for a virtual storytime reading of Memory Garden, read by our co-founder, Kara Cecchi.

 

 Let's Craft: Bean mosaic flower art


Memory Garden brings to life moments of the past & creates new memories with loved ones. The beauty illustrated in Memory Garden is demonstrated through bright colors & textures associated with Persian culture -- vibrant red radishes, warm yellow saffron, crisp green mint leaves. We want to bring the floral gardens of our memories to life with our bean mosaics. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to kids about our childhood memories & to see what their favorite memories are so far in their lives. Are they with their grandparents? Are they out in nature? What beauty can they discover through our stories? Through our culture?


Materials:

  • Cardboard

  • Variety of dried beans/dried pasta

  • Ziplock bags (I used both sandwich/gallon)

  • Paint

  • Parchment paper

  • Elmer's Liquid Glue

  • Printable template (see below)

  • Hot glue (not pictured)



Floral Mosaic Template
.pdf
Download PDF • 68KB

Modifications:

With this craft, you can modify based on developmental level OR based on what skills you are working towards. We are working on our fine motor skills & pincer grasp with picking up each individual dried bean. Some children may need visual cues (demonstrating) to optimize an appropriate grasp pattern. Some children may need hand over hand assistance with squeezing the liquid Elmer's glue, however, we encourage allowing children to try to work independently as squeezing the bottle will work to develop hand strength needed to complete every day tasks independently. For our younger book club members, we encourage using dried pasta rather than beans to lower the risk of choking, however, it is important to continuously monitor children while participating in this craft.


Easy: Pre-assemble craft. Place Elmer's glue dots down for child to put beans/pasta on. May need hand-over-hand assistance.

Moderate: Allow child to begin craft independently, squeezing the glue & placing the beans. Child may need assistance to squeeze the bottle.

Hard: Allow child to create independently -- squeezing glue, placing beans. May not need to use template & can create flower independently.


Instructions:

1. Gather materials. Pre-cut cardboard to create ~5in square/rectangles.

2. If you are letting kids craft their floral mosaics independently, continue to step 7. If you are using the template, print, cut, & hot glue template to the cardboard pieces.



3. Now to pre-prep the beans/pasta. You may want to do this prior to meeting.

4. Pour beans into a ziplock. Add paint to the bag. Shake until beans are coated.

5. Pour painted beans onto parchment paper to dry. Repeat for desired colors.

6. A few tips: Paint does not adhere that well to the lima beans (larger white beans) & we ended up having to paint them twice. If you want a larger option for younger kids, we suggest dry pasta (wheels, penne, etc). Dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) look the best. when painted! Leaving beans their natural color (red lentils -- orange, split peas -- green, kidney beans -- red) adds to the beauty.

7. Once dry, allow kids to pick their beans/pasta & begin to glue to their cardboard. Squeeze a dab of glue for each spot to place a bean/pasta. If using smaller beans, make a bigger glue circle and sprinkle beans to cover glue.



8. A few tips: When glueing, our 5yo preferred to glue independently one dot at a time. Which honestly, worked well for some flowers & was tedious for others. Our 3yo preferred to glue a big spot & place all the beans at one time. So just go with the flow & allow kids to create freely with what feels good to them. Be prepared for your kids to want to make more than one!

9. Allow to dry. Display or gift to a friend!



Remember: After you are done reading the book (if you received a copy from us!) & making your crafts, please have your kids sign the library card located in the front of the book (first names only!). Let's bring back a little bit of fun from our childhood. Also, please donate your book to your local public library, to your school library, or to a little free library in your area so more kids can enjoy a new diverse & inclusive read.

 

printable activity sheets:

Illustrator Susie Ghahremani graciously gifted our book clubs with activity sheets to print and complete that go with Memory Garden. Below you will find a packet with -- a sheet to color of the young girl & her Nana; a sheet of paisley, the name of tear-drop shaped designs in Persian art, to color with bright beautiful colors; a worksheet to design your own paisley, nature-inspired art; & a worksheet to create your own Memory Garden using your favorite shapes and colors. Click below to download & print! Thank you so much Susie!!


Memory-Garden-Activity-Sheets-4up
.pdf
Download PDF • 6.08MB

 

Community Outreach: Seed libraries


This month we are spreading growth by creating (or enhancing) seed libraries throughout the community. A free seed library – also known as a seed exchange – is used to promote gardening for plants native to your local region. Seed libraries are a community resource, fostering a culture of shared sustainability and promoting the joy of gardening. Functioning much like traditional libraries, seed libraries provide a platform for individuals to acquire seeds for free, return unused seeds, or donate seeds harvested from plants grown from the original seed. Seed libraries encourage the growth of organic produce, supporting local ecosystems, and contributing to biodiversity. Seed libraries not only promote healthy activities like gardening but also play a crucial role in sustaining food sources and preserving native plant varieties. Many seed libraries prioritize heirloom and native seeds, nurturing plants that serve as vital habitats for birds and essential pollinators, while also combatting the spread of invasive species.


This does not have to be hard. This can be as simple as educating your group on what a seed library is & allowing them to pick a few seeds to start. You can keep the seed library within your group, but we suggest partnering with a space in your community -- ie your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, anywhere your community frequents & feels safe. Make sure to talk with the space first & get the okay. Most spaces are ecstatic to have kids start something for the community there! We are thrifting a recipe box to add all our seeds, with library cards as their label. The kids will write each label & draw a picture of the produce. Make sure to leave a sign leaving information about what it is. Take some seeds, leave some seeds. Leave some small envelopes for people to pinch in a few seeds in to take home. Watch your seed library grow!


Please do not skip this activity. We truly believe this outreach activity is a vital part of childhood & an opportunity to raise kind kids. Teaching our youth the importance of community. A community that can help create more empathetic, accepting kids who understand that power of coming together. To learn the importance of growing their own food & giving others the opportunity to grow their own food. The reality of food insecurity & the gift of helping others feel more secure. The importance of eating fresh produce & keeping our bodies healthy.

 

YAY! Another MOSS Kids Book Club pick, craft, printable sheet, and community outreach activity. We would love to see when you receive your books and all the beautiful flowers your kids create. You do not need to share kid's faces. Please be sure to tag us on Instagram @mosskidsbooks & use #mosskidsbookclub. Sharing about MOSS Kids Book Club is a way for your community to learn more about what MOSS Kids has to offer & for them to know where they can find the book you're donating. By doing so, we can reach & help more kids across the country. We'd also love to hear any feedback you may have, please email us at hello@mosskidsbooks.com. We appreciate you all so much for taking the initiative to bring kids together to read diverse books & hopefully learn vital life skills to help make our world a better place.


did you miss out on a chance at the book this month & want to sign up for next month?

All you need to do is fill out the google doc below & you'll be entered to win next month's book. TEN lucky winners will receive a copy for their book club to read together that month & then donate to their local school library, public library, or a little free library in their area!

 

Don't Forget: We Have Local moss kids book club locations in eastern north Carolina!!



Saturday, 3/9: MOSS Kids Book Club at Books and Beans in Rocky Mount at 10am

Sunday, 3/24: MOSS Kids Book Club at Larema Coffee House in Rocky Mount at 2pm

Monday, 3/25: MOSS Kids Book Club at Wilson County Public Library in Wilson at 430pm

we're currently working on transitioning our Tarboro location to their local library!


Other March events:

Tuesday, 3/5: Beyond the Book with Ripe for Revival at the Rocky Mount Mills at 4pm

Wednesday, 3/13: Picture Books on Tap: an adult picture book club at Larema Beverage at Rocky Mount Mills at 7pm

Saturday, 3/30: Drag Story Hour with Stormie Daie at Boxyard RTP at 10am

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