Book Reports and Baked Bread

When I was a kid, book reports were dull, lifeless regurgitations of novels.  They lacked all creativity and excitement.  Yet how could they be anything different when we simply filled out the same dumb form for every book? 

The English teacher in my kids’ school comes up with amazing book report ideas.  Once, Eldest made a movie poster for his latest Artemis Fowl read.  Arnold Schwarzenegger played Butler.  His Book in a Bag sported snippets of all the pertinent information from Inkheart along with lively illustrations.  DD’s book jacket gave 19 Minutes a whole new look. 

Even their timelines on non-fiction are no longer the straight and boring lines with dashes slashed across the page to denote significant events.  Run Baby Run careens across DD’s poster from immigration to the mean streets to church spires.  The background is a dark sketch of a concrete jungle opening to lightness for the end of the book.  Nicky Cruze’s life was not easy.

I love how this makes kids really consider the words they read.  It connects ideas and vibrant pictures with the written word and allows them to express the impact a novel has on them.  These book reports are no longer summaries, formatted to bore children to tears.  Instead, they create a physical and intellectual connection with the reader and the novel.

They are a visual reminder that we all experience things differently.  Which, of course, is the beauty of literature.

Another book that has as many interpretations as there are readers is the Bible.  Tomorrow is DD’s confirmation, where she will stand before the church and declare her intent to walk in her faith.  I’m proud of her.  Not for memorizing Bible passages or her ability to recite the Lord’s Prayer.  Rather, I’m proud of her because she taken information, her experiences and created her faith.

I will never know exactly what that means to her.  Just as I will never know what it means to my DH, my MIL or my next door neighbor.  Faith and spirituality are sacred to everyone in their own ways.  We all believe, or disbelieve, for a reason.  There are no right answers.  There are only life experiences, hope, love, happiness and the search for personal meaning.

Today I am baking bread for DD’s celebration.  It is something I love to do.  I thoroughly enjoy shaping the bread into edible reminders of an event.  For Valentine’s Day I made hearts.  Today, I shall twist and mold the dough into crosses, hearts and doves. 

Faith, love and hope.

They symbolize my interptretation of the Bible.  They are the words that form the poem for my DD.  They are my wish for her as she steps forward tomorrow and declares the journey of her life.

If I were a teacher, I would take book reports to a whole new level.  I would ask my students to make a food that symbolizes the essense of the story. 

Think of your favorite book.  What shape would your bread take in this delicious version of a book report?

18 responses to “Book Reports and Baked Bread

  1. Hmmm. “Tigana” would be a braided loaf of sourdough with raisins, I think. Symbolizing the weaving together of plot, life, love and hatred in the book – the sweet and the sour. ;D

  2. What a great question! For today, my favourite book (there are so many!) will be Lord of the Rings. The bread would be shaped as the ring, complete with the magical inscription around it’s circumference.

  3. I have so many books I’ve loved that I cannot choose a favorite, but I read The Help recently, and would shape the bread into a toilet. I can’t say why without spoiling it, but it’s sort of a theme throughout the novel. 🙂

    • Layinda,

      Make me laugh. I can just picture a book party with a loaf of “toilet” bread. Now I must check out that book. Who could resist with a central theme of a commode? Sounds intriguing.

  4. Oh, fun…favorite book, well today it’s “Gone With the Wind”…so a loaf of bread in the shape of Tara?

    • Patricia,

      Ambitious. That might be outside my realm of ability!

      I happen to love that book and have a cloth covered 1937 edition of it. And while that sounds impressive since the book was only published in June of ’36, my copy was a member of the 39th printing. So, it was as popular then as it is now!

  5. Oh good question. I think my favorite book is The Wood Wife, so I’d probably shape the bread in to a Saguaro cactus.

    • I’ve never heard of The Wood Wife, but I do love cacti. I just might have to try shaping one the next time I bake.

      PS-If I haven’t told you enough, I love your new picture blog. It’s probably a good thing we don’t physically live in the same community. I would be one of those gushing pests who accost you every chance they get. I feel as if I’m dangerously close to stalker status with your pictures. They’re like crack. I show them to my DH and Eldest son all the time and fear they are ready to put me in treatment.

      MPA-Michelle Pics Anonymous.

      • You MUST read The Wood Wife! It is my favorite EVER. It’s beautiful and sweet and magical and . . . oh yes, you must.

        You crack me up with the picture stalking. You are, however, good for my ego, so I will only be enabling you in your stalkery. After I finish commenting I’m off to post a new picture . . .

        And if you lived near by we would be seriously dangerous, and we would have a blast.

      • I’m working on the hubster. I think we’ll have to take baby steps. Visit Oregon first, then contemplate a move. Packing the house tomorrow might be a wee bit of an over load for him!

      • Tell the hubster that it will SAVE you money, because you can BORROW all these books from me and only buy the ones you really love. that’ll sell him on it. 😀

      • Totally pitching that!

  6. Please do, Cat! That’s a book I happily recommend to everyone. The amount of raw emotion involved amazes me everytime I read it – and my first copy disintegrated long ago. ;D

    • I’m going to go broke hanging around you. You have so many awesome book recs that I can’t keep track of them all. Just today I ordered Escaping the Tiger after your review. : )

  7. Thanks for telling me! I’ll let the author know. 🙂 And don’t go broke. LOL

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