Family Book Festival

An Unconventional Librarian’s Contribution to Family Book Festival

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Family Book Festival

With the winter doldrums kicking in and families getting restless from being trapped indoors, we thought this would be a perfect time to create a Family Book Festival. And what better way to create a list of books to include in our  Family Book Festival is to ask fellow writers, authors, and bloggers for their favorite childhood book favorites along with some matching activities.

So throughout the month of February, we will be enlisting the help, thoughts, and opinions from our participants on what books they remember the most from childhood, and what books are family favorites now.  My thought is that this compilation of books, favorite reads, and activities will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but a sweet walk down memory lane for parents that will last the whole month of February.

This weekend we are so happy to share the wisdom and wit of Pam Margolis, a.k.a An Unconventional Librarian. Welcome Pam!

Unconventional Librarian


From Pam: Since most of the East Coast is knee deep in snow, I thought about sharing the book A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The Snowy Day book review

I was a small child in the 70s and in those days, there were very few books featuring children of color (can you believe that??).  Fortunately, Ezra Jack Keats realized the same thing and featured an array of multiethnic characters in his stories for young children.  You can find more about Keats and his books at  When visiting the site, check out his book links, you’ll be amazed at the number of books he wrote; revisit old faves (my other fave is Peter’s Chair) and find new loves! Don’t miss the section where you can test your knowledge of Keats’ books.  Littles will be charmed by the online reading of Snowy Day found here: When I became a parent, I introduced A Snowy Day to both of my children and even those I taught. To my surprise, they loved the story as well! It seems as if the ground breaking multiethnic characters of Keats’ stories had no ill effect on modern day children. All the children saw was someone their size playing in the snow like they love to do. What child can’t relate to the happiness of discovering the first snowflake, the joy at the thought of playing outside, the thrill of learning to make snow angels, and the cozy satisfaction of a warm cup of hot chocolate?
Getting Creative With Cocoa!
And speaking of hot chocolate, no snow day play is complete without it!  I loved drinking hot chocolate as a child and loved serving it to my children and their friends even more.  I prefer, however, to serve an unconventional hot chocolate, because, why not? If you’re on a dairy restriction like I am, my Almond Milk Hot Chocolate Recipe might suit you just fine.  If you’ve always wanted to try alternatives to dairy, now’s the time; Almond Milk cooks well and adapts well with other flavors. (it plays well with others, just like me!)Making it is easy peasy lemon squeezy.Ingredients:
*Almond Milk (Vanilla flavored or unsweetened, your preference)*

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 In a small saucepan, pour approx. 1 ½ cups of Almond milk per serving and cook on med-low, stirring constantly.

While milk is cooking, prepare the hot chocolate mix.

Place 3 generous Tablespoons of hot chocolate mix (I like mine extra chocolaty) into your fave mug.  Mine happens to have famous authors on it.  My second fave is a snowman mug.  What’s yours?

Keep an eye on the milk, don’t let it boil! Stir frequently. The milk is ready when there are teeny weeny bubbles all around the edges of the liquid.  You don’t want to make the milk too hot, especially if you are serving to my little ones!  Milk temperature should be no more than 160 degrees. I prefer 140-160 for the kiddos.  Use your turkey thermometer to test the temperature if you’re unsure how hot the milk is.

Depending on your cook settings, cook time could be 5 minutes.  The lower the heat, the longer it takes.  If you have especially hungry tummies waiting, cook higher but stir constantly to avoid boiling!

When milk is the right temperature, pour into your mug, approx. ¾ full.  Stir well, getting rid of all those nasty chocolate bubbles.

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Now here’s the fun part: the add ins! I happen to love marshmallows and am never too far from them.  Here are some options:

These are the marshmallows we had in the cabinet:  Regular, minis, and chocolate mint, which I bought on a whim one day.

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·      If you’re old school, toss in the regular sized marshmallows.  That’s why you only fill the mug ¾ full, you must have adequate marshmallow room!

·      If you’re like me, you favor the mini marshymallowy goodness.

·      Adventurous? Try the chocolate mint marshmallows.

·      Got Grown ups? Add a dash of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Side note:  I served a hot chocolate bar at a party recently and offered many different toppings.  Here’s the link to that blog post:   Maybe you’ll be inspired?

I love getting books into kids hands and I’m always thrilled to learn about new multiethnic kids books. My plan is to take over the world so that all kids have a book about a main character who looks like them!  When I’m not figuring out how to put mini marshmallows in my coffee, I blog at An Unconventional Librarian ( sharing my love of kids books with the world.

And speaking of books, here’s ONE MORE book to share with you about winter.  To make a VERY long story straight, when you get a chance discover Free To Be You and Me a great collection of stories and songs about equality from the 70s.  Within the book is a delightful tale of two young African American children called Three Wishes written by Lucille Clifton  You’ll love the cheeky main character Zenobia and her steadfast friend and they discover a shiny new penny on the “new year day” and work out the intricacies of friendship.  Intrigued? Check out their Youtube channel and see if you can’t find something you’ll love

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pam m1Pam Margolis, a.k.a An Unconventional Librarian is an educator librarian who is drawn to the little ones. In her purse you’ll find a cup of coffee, a book, and her iPhone. She loves social media, writing book reviews, and curating children’s literature. She is an information specialist, maven, connector, coffee drinker. Connect with Pam on Facebook or at


6 thoughts on “An Unconventional Librarian’s Contribution to Family Book Festival

  1. Hi,Valarie 🙂 I only just recently became aware of you and your site (I think through Stanley & Katrina), and am now glad to be aware of Pam 🙂 Great stuff!

    I really enjoyed this, but what I’d REALLY like to know is—how can you carry a cup of coffee in your purse? 😉

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Donna! Stanley & Katrina is my new blog addiction. Such fun stuff there 😉

      1. Actually, I had FINALLY ordered Felicia’s (well, Stanley & Katrina’s lol) book (THE PERPETUAL PAPERS OF THE PACK OF PETS) and am about a third of the way through. It’s adorable 🙂

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