Halloween Grab Bag!

Hi bookies! We threw together a “grab bag” of Halloween treats for you for today’s blog entry. Some tricks, some treats, some spooky and some sweet! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter and Instagram! Post your best book related Halloween costume or project and you never know…you just might get a shout out from us!

1) Our favorite “bookie” Halloween costume for 2016 – Max and a Wild Thing from Maurice Sendak’s, Where the Wild Things Are (photo courtesy of tellloveandparty.com). Get some inspiration from the book – buy it here now!

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2) Our favorite SPoOkY treat – Peanut Butter Spider Cookies from Allrecipes.com! You can also find an even spookier recipe book, Halloween Treats by Annie Rigg on our site OR concoct your own magical potion for the occasion! Post a picture of your Halloween treats to our social media pages!

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3) Our favorite (harmless) Halloween Trick from www.parents.com! – A Spooktacular Mystery Guessing Game…EWWWW! Find more tricks that are sure to please on Halloween in Deborah Harding’s, Tricks & Treats – The Ultimate Halloween Book. Available on our website now!

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Want more ideas?! There are plenty more where these came from and tons of books for the occasion too! CLICK HERE to see our top Halloween picks that are sure to be a hit with your friends and family.

Happy Halloween!!!

October 18th is National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Well, you guessed it – Today is national chocolate cupcake day!! We love chocolate cupcakes and we bet you do to, right?!

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In honor of the occasion, we have posted our ABSOLUTE favorite chocolate cupcake recipe below from Betty Crocker. And when we say you have to try it, we mean that you HAVE to try it -they’re so delicious!

We honestly can’t think of a better comfort food at the moment to curl up with and read a good book. So today, you can bake your heart out, choose your favorite book, sink down into the couch and get lost in the story…and a chocolatey treat!

One of our favorites right now is, A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. Buy it here now!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Reynolds™ Baking Cups
  • Tablespoons dark chocolate chips (1 oz)

Frosting:

  • 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1) In small microwavable bowl, microwave 2 tablespoons chocolate chips uncovered on High 1 minute, until melted, stirring once halfway through heating. Pour chocolate onto 12 x10-inch sheet of waxed paper; spread in thin layer, forming 3 x3-inch square. Place second 12 x10-inch sheet of waxed paper over chocolate square; press to release air bubbles. Roll waxed paper tightly into a cylinder. Regenerate until set.

2) In medium heat- place 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter. In small microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream on High about 1 minute or until cream just begins to simmer. Pour cream over chips and butter; beat with whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and shiny. Refrigerate 30 to 45 minutes until completely cooled, stirring occasionally.

3) Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place Reynolds Baking Cups in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside. In small bowl, mix boiling water and cocoa until dissolved.

4) In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Beat 2 more minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg until blended. On low, alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture, beating just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling racks. Cool completely.

5) Beat frosting with electric mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds (Do not overheat.) Fit decorating bag with large star tip. Fill bag with frosting. Pipe frosting in circular top of each cupcake and mounding frosting slightly in center.

6) Unroll waxed paper cylinder, causing chocolate to crack creating shards. Garnish each cupcake with chocolate shards. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Top 5 Reasons to Host a Discover Books Collection Box

A popular question that we get here at Discover books is, “Where do all of the books come from?” Well, the answer is simple! We work with thousands of small business owners, retail stores, early learning centers, libraries, fire stations, schools (there are way too many to list them all here but you get the idea!) to collect books from within the communities that we serve. These partners help us collect books very easily by hosting one of our outdoor book collection boxes!

When the boxes are full, we retrieve the books and process them our in warehouses across the country. The books are then repurposed for new readers to enjoy. Books from these collection boxes are distributed in a number of ways, including donations (this is our favorite way!) to local non-profits, schools, etc. We couldn’t do half of these donations without the help and support of our collection box hosts. So we want to say THANK YOU to everyone who currently hosts a box and give you the

Top 5 Reasons that you should consider hosting a box too!

1) Increased Business for Hosts – Hundreds of retail location hosts tell us that they receive increased store traffic due to having a collection box on site! Think about it…if someone is stopping by to drop off books, the chances that they will run in to grab a quick snack or coffee is pretty high. Gas stations especially receive extra business because donors can drop off their books and fill up all in the same trip!

2) Enabling Donations – The majority of children’s books that are donated to these boxes are filtered out through our process and donated back to local organizations that need them. You can rest assured that your help hosting a box means that thousands of children will receive free books that they never would have had access to before.

3) Keeping Books Out of the Landfill – Every book that ends up in a donation box means that is one less book that could possibly end up in the landfill. People are WAY more inclined to donate if they can do it easily and efficiently.  That is where you come in! Hosting a box means that you are encouraging the community to participate in giving books a chance at a new life.

4) Increasing Literacy – We strive to make literacy a priority in the communities we serve. Illiteracy is a devastating barrier to success — and it’s an issue we care about — so we leverage our resources to help. You can host a box and be a contributing factor to the increased literacy and education in your local community.

5) Positive Visibility & Community Feedback – Lastly, you can expect plenty of positive feedback from the community for helping to facilitate book donations. Patrons will notice and want to help be part of the cause as well. We love recognizing our local partners/hosts for their help in collecting unwanted books and helping the stories to live on. Who knows, you might end up on our blog one day! Better keep an eye out!

If you think you or anyone you know would be interested in hosting a collection box, you can learn more by calling 1-888-402-BOOK and selecting the option for your region! We hope to work with you soon!

Pets Need Love & Books Too!

Whether you’re a dog lover, a crazy cat person, a reptile enthusiast or even all of the above, you can’t deny that coming home to your pet at the end of a long day is one of the best feelings in the world.

We recently came across this heartfelt article from earlier this year which made us feel super warm and fuzzy inside. The Humane Society of Missouri has a program where children can read to shelter dogs in order to provide companionship for them before they are adopted. The shelter says,

“The idea is simple: train kids to read to dogs as a way of readying them for forever homes, all while instilling a greater sense of empathy in the youngsters, too.”

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And on top of that, the children are working on their literacy skills so it is obviously a win, win situation. Click here to read more. (Photo Credit: The Humane Society of Missouri)

This got us thinking…the shelter dogs are in need of love and affection and they are definitely benefiting from this program. So why can’t our furry friends at home benefit too, right?! We have put together a list of the top 5 books on our website that we think any shelter animal awaiting adoption or or any pet with a current home would enjoy. Take a quick look and see which book you think your fur-baby would like!

1) 97 Ways to Make a Cat Like You, Carol Kaufmann – a must read because we all know that felines sometimes have quite strong personalities!

2) 97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile, Jenny Lengbehn – making a dog smile sounds like a perfect Saturday night to me!

3) The Bedtime Book for Dogs, Bruce Littlefield – reading this to our rambunctious furry friends should make getting them ready for bed a breeze at the end of a long day.

4) Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog, Sara Swan – this title says it all – the pups will love it!

5) Watership Down, Richard Adams – this heartfelt read for any pet, about a rabbit’s journey to find a new home, touches on how human actions can affect the complex ecosystems around us.

We hope you, your family & your furry friends will enjoy these! Feel free to check out www.DiscoverBooks.com for even more titles that are sure to please your non-human BFFs!