Students at Morton Middle School (Fayette County) have a new hunger for reading thanks to library media specialist Alaine Carpenter.
Carpenter facilitates the Breakfast Book Club, a group of 100 to 140 students who meet before school occasionally to share their favorite books and discuss them with each other. The group recently hosted its second annual Edible Books Contest in the school’s library media center.
Morton 8th-grader Shelby Lynch received a first-place award this year for her entry, a cake decorated to depict a scene from Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
“When Charlie walked in, everything was edible and pretty and colorful. Every time I read the book or watch the movie, it always gives me a really good image, so I wanted to make a cake about that,” said Lynch, who has experience baking with her grandmother. “It helped me learn how to express my creativity in different ways.”
Judges for the event include staff from the school, as well as members of the Breakfast Book Club. About three dozen entries, on display in the library, were evaluated on visual presentation, creativity, connection to the book and relevance to the finished product. At least 50 percent of the entry had to be edible.
Ethan Goecke was runner-up with “The Capture,” and Iza Gaworski took third place with “Something to Sing About.” The top three competitors received prizes along with an English/Language Arts extra credit for all qualifying participants.
“We try all year long to do things to get them excited about reading, so this is another chance to highlight the sharing of books,” said literacy specialist Karen Ziegler. “We can tell them to read a book, but if they think another student is excited about it, they’re much more likely to read it.”
For the Edible Books Contest, which was open to the entire school, students could choose any book – even one they enjoyed at a much younger age. They had to write a paragraph explaining how their presentation of food connected to the story and why they selected that particular scene to illustrate. Most students opted to make a cake or cupcakes, while at least one student used graham crackers and another one went with fresh fruit. The key was for their entry to make clever, insightful connections to the book with visual impact.
“You pull in readers, but you also pull in students who might not necessarily be as avid a reader but they like the creative process,” Carpenter said.
The contest originated locally with the Lexington Public Library.
“We loved it so much and our kids really responded to it, so we’re willing to make this an annual tradition,” Carpenter said. “It’s a festive celebration of books!”
Tammy Lane is district webmaster for the Fayette County Public Schools.