New Year Resolutions Part 5

With this installment of New Year resolution ideas, we finalize this series of posts with a reading promotion organized by the Elementary Student Council (ESC.)

In order to raise funds for an orphanage in Tianjin and to encourage reading among our students, the ESC is inviting all of our elementary students to a read-a-thon. Participating students will need to obtain adult “sponsors” who will pledge (promise) to a given amount per page read. The amount pledged per page will depend on the sponsor. A common pledge is one mao or one yuan per page.

Elementary Student Council Read-a-Thon February 2014

Armed with sponsors, students will then read, read, read. The ESC has provided packages for keeping track of pages read and money raised.

The read-a-thon starts today and will end after the Chinese New Year break on 17 February. We hope you will support the ESC and your child’s reading by donating generously. If you would like book recommendations for your child, just stop by the library to ask us.

New Year Resolutions Part 4: Get Cooking!

The IST library has a large collection of cook books. Why not take advantage of these cookbooks to help you with your resolution to eat more healthily in the year 2014? We have lots of healthy and regional cooking options for you.

Perhaps your resolution is to teach your children to cook. Many of our cookbooks are for young cooks.

Come and browse our 641.5 section and get cooking! Don’t see the type of food you’d like, let us know and we’ll try to “beef up” our collection to include your favorites.

Here are a few of our most popular cookbooks. All summaries and book covers are from the library OPAC.

Cover for Green Princess Cookbook Green Princess Cookbook, by Barbara Beery.Contains environmentally-friendly recipes for various snacks, such as hummus, cornbread, jam, cookies, and strawberry lemonade using recycled materials, renewable power, and organic, local, and homegrown ingredients. 

Cover for Twist It Up, by Jack Witherspoon

641.5 WIT

A collection of recipes from eleven-year-old chef Jack Witherspoon accompanied by color photographs and including helpful hints, information on kitchen equipment, and a table of equivalents.

641.5 DOD

641.5 DOD

 Provides nearly fifty easy-to-follow recipes for breakfast, lunch, main and side dishes, snacks, and desserts; includes general cooking tips, equipment information, and a glossary. Designed for children over the age of nine.

Cover for A Taste of China

641.5 LEE

Children will have fun preparing some of China’s typical dishes themselves! The Young Chef’s Chinese Cookbook contains a dozen easy-to-prepare recipes with step-by-step instruction and photographs, plus warnings for safety in the kitchen. A special section features the traditions, costumes, food, and fun of Chinese New Year.

Cover for A Taste of China

641.5 TAS


Includes at-a glance cook’s hints and tips throughout, with the ingredients, equipment, and techniques simply and clearly explained.

New Year Resolutions Part 3: Join a Book Club!

Another resolution which you can start to make true this Friday:  Join a book club. Ours!

The IST Library Parent Book Club meets once a month to discuss a book we have all agreed to read during the preceding month. Our discussions are very informal. We sometimes help ourselves with questions from a published guide, but most often we simply talk about what we liked and how the book resonated with us. We also often talk about other things as well: being parents, living as expats in China, our favorite movies and TV shows, and all sorts of topics. It is a lovely hour that we spend building community and fostering a love of reading.

Inferno, by Dan Brown - January 2014 IST Parent Book Club selectionOur January meeting will be on Friday, 17 January, at 9:15, after the elementary assembly. We will be discussing Dan Brown’s Inferno, his newest book. This novel follows Robert Langdon, the protagonist of The Da Vinci Code, as he races to prevent a madman’s catastrophic plans.

Join us for a lively discussion and cement your commitment to read this year.

New Year Resolutions Part 2: Share Your Reading!

Here’s another good library resolution – as if there were any bad ones!

Join a readers social network like Library ThingGoodreads, or Shelfari.

Library Thing is great if you enjoy sorting and organizing your home library. It is a cataloging service for your books using user-created tags. Because other people may assign the same tags as you, for example “fantasy” or “boarding school books” to Harry Potter, you can then see what other people are using for their categories and be inspired to read more in those categories.

Library Thing

Goodreads is more like Facebook for book lovers. You add books to your account as you finish reading them. That will show up on your status. Once you’re finished with a book, you can rate it and write a review, which your friends will read and hopefully respond to. You can also recommend books to your friends. Goodreads is maintained by Amazon, so naturally there’s links to purchasing the books featured, but they are not obtrusive. My favorite part of Goodreads is the Goodreads challenge. I read 365 books in 2013 and I’ve set myself a goal of another 365 in 2014.

2014 Goodreads Challenge

Shelfari is similar to Goodreads in that you can create lists of books you’ve read, rate books and write reviews, and recommend books. The best part of Shelfari is the beautiful bookcase on which your virtual books are displayed. I don’t have many books on Shelfari anymore because I have more friends on Goodreads now, but I do like that bookcase. Sadly, this screenshot doesn’t do it any justice, so go ahead and join Shelfari so you can see the real thing.

Shelfari bookshelf

Regardless of which of these you decide to join, you can use them to help you keep track of the books you love and inspire you to read me.

I’m fitziane on all three of these. Let me know if you join.

New Year Resolutions Part 1: Keep Up to Date with the News

Nope, it’s not too late to make your New Year Resolutions. After all, they could be resolutions for the Year of the Horse, which won’t start until January 31.

Let the library help you with your resolutions! We’ll post one resolution a day this week. Share your own resolutions with us and let’s see if we can help you keep them.

1. Stay up to date with current affairs.

The library OPAC has a series of links to children’s newspapers in the languages of our community. Navigate to the Visual tab of the OPAC, and click on “Current Events-Many Languages.” (Remember that this week, the library OPAC’s address is

Current Events button on the OPAC's Visual Tab

There you will find links to many children’s and youth newspapers in many different languages. If you do not see your mother-tongue there and you know of an appropriate online children’s newspaper, please let us know in the comments.

Children's Online Newspapers in the languages of our community

Of particular note is Our Little Earth, an online children’s newspaper published twice a month. Our Little Earth strives to include news items from lots of different countries, and is always up to date. Click here for the first issue of 2014. 

The button on our Visual tab will take you to a wiki page with links to all the issues we’ve received under our subscription. Logging in to the library OPAC with the quick log in or your own personal account will let you access the latest issue. Simply scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. You will see the link on the bottom right hand side.

Make this a family event. Keep up to date with news from your country and discuss those with your children. Have them write to relatives back home to ask questions and to get an opinion. Media outlets often exaggerate news items to create interest in their offerings. Children need to be educated in detecting bias in the media, and by discussing current events at home, they can practice the skills.