It's a new month and time for a new Family Dinner Book Club! I'm really excited about this month's pick and hope you enjoy the fun summer craft that we've put together for you.
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Family Dinner Book Club is a wonderful way to connect with your kids over a great book and a great meal. Every month, we have a new kids' book for you to enjoy as a family. Then Jodie from Growing Book by Book gives you conversation starters and a service project idea while Sarah from Chef Sarah Elizabeth shares a delicious themed menu. Finally, I bring you a fun and easy table craft! This month, we are all reading a new, much buzzed about picture book - A Fine Dessert by Sophie Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
A Fine Dessert follows four families through four centuries - from 1700s England to modern day San Diego - as they each make a blackberry fool dessert to go with their dinner. The book is a perfect pick for Family Dinner Book Club as it celebrates the family meal, and how we can bond over the dinner table.
While there is much award buzz surrounding A Fine Dessert, there has been controversy as well, particularly in its depiction of slaves on a South Carolina plantation. Read more about the debate here. I strongly encourage you to check out the book for yourself (especially the Author & Illustrator Notes at the end) and draw your own conclusions.
Illustrator Sophie Blackall's note at the end of A Fine Dessert inspired our table craft for this month. She describes how she painted the book's endpapers with fresh blackberry juice - so we decided to try it out ourselves! To make your own Blackberry Juice Art, you'll need:
- Fresh Blackberries
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- White Construction or Watercolor Paper
- Green Colored Pencil (optional)
Painting with Blackberries
Start by rinsing and putting fresh blackberries into a fine mesh strainer. Place the strainer on top of a bowl and mash with a fork, capturing the juice into the bowl.
Be sure to save the mashed blackberries for later, you can use them to make your own Blackberry Fool dessert! You can even spread it on toast like blackberry jam, or fold it into your favorite basic muffin recipe.
Once you've collected enough blackberry juice (a little goes a long way, so you do not need a lot), set it out along with paintbrushes and your white construction paper. I do recommend using construction paper or another thick, textured paper for this project as the juice works better when it can be slightly absorbed by the paper.
Now start painting!
For younger kids like mine, you can make this a process art activity and allow them to paint any way they would like with the juice.
Older kids or adults can try to replicate the blackberry illustrations in A Fine Dessert by first drawing vines and leaves with a green colored pencil, then using a paint brush to dot blackberries onto each vine with the blackberry juice.
Allow your paintings to dry, and use them to decorate your table for Family Dinner Book Club! You can even laminate them (I love these self adhesive laminating sheets) and use them as placemats.
Complete your Family Dinner Book Club experience by visiting Growing Book by Book for table topics & service projects, and Chef Sarah Elizabeth for a full themed dinner menu.
And be sure to share photos of your Family Dinner Book Club on our Facebook page - we LOVE to see them!
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