Once Upon a Time…in the Kitchen!

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Some of my earliest memories involve my dad reading to me from the Frog and Toad collection, or my mom getting me completely hooked on the Little House on the Prairie series. Bedtime stories are a tradition that I have continued with my own daughter, and we have so much fun re-reading some of my favorite classics every night (right now we are working our way through the Beatrix Potter collection; she especially loves The Tale of the Two Bad Mice!)

The Junior League of Baton Rouge, working with our community partner, the LSU AgCenter, aims to bring this same joy of books to children and parents in our community through The Little Bookshelf program. The Little Bookshelf has helped thousands of children in our community travel to exotic lands, meet fascinating characters, and embark on thrilling adventures, all without ever leaving the Parish. From Saturday morning story time to free books and art activities at various community events, The Little Bookshelf strives to turn what starts out as an evening bed time story with mom and dad into a lifelong love of reading. Since the program’s inception, The Little Bookshelf has served our community by providing 200 low-income families with in-depth literacy support and resources, an additional 400 children at child care centers with small children’s libraries, and inspiring the imaginations of over 61,500 people with storytelling, free books, and art activities at various community events.

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A childhood classic – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Keep an eye out for Junior League members on The Little Bookshelf committee at a wide variety of community events in the coming year – from Saturday story-time at the LSU AgCenter Botanical Gardens at Burden, to informational tables at Baby Grand at Woman’s Hospital, and even at the annual Louisiana Book Festival at the State Library of Louisiana! In the meantime, make your own fun at home by reading with your child daily. Make story time an even more memorable activity by pairing a favorite book with a fun craft or snack – like making your very own edible hungry caterpillars from Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Fresh Fruit “Caterpillars”

  • One strawberry (sliced)
  • One kiwi (sliced)
  • One green apple (sliced)
  • Raisins
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A strawberry, apple, kiwi, and raisin “Hungry Caterpillar.” Photo by Lauren De Witt

Alternate layering the kiwi slices and the green apple slices to make the body of the caterpillar. Use a strawberry slice to make the caterpillar’s head, and use the raisins to make feet! Get creative – use a straw to make caterpillar “bites” in other foods that The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoys – like plums, strawberries, cheese, and watermelon; or try using a variety of colorful fruits to make a fruit “butterfly!”

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