Friday, June 13, 2014

The Chocolate Book Tour

How do you choose six books in which to speak of out of a lifetime?  Sometimes you just have to break the rules and go one step farther...

If you think it is easy, you might be surprised!  I found it to be a truly difficult task. I knew I wanted to focus on children's books since promoting children's literacy is such an important cause in my life. All of the books listed are ones I read as a child, with the exception of The Giver. There is also an adult book I wanted to share. You might be surprised by that choice, but it is one that still remains in my dresser today.  

Before I delve into my choices of chocolates and books, I first want to thank author and illustrator, Nelson Suit, for asking me to join him on the tour. I am honored he wanted to include me.  Nelson is the author of Els Oot and the Mapmaker and Els Oot and the Baby Dragon.  Nelson also pens the blog On Tilley Pond and is an editor at When he is not busy writing and expanding the minds of today's youth, he is busy practicing law. I am sure you will enjoy the literary offerings and sites of this talented artist and writer.

Now on to my tasty tidbits of chocolate and literary delights...


There probably isn't any series that I enjoyed more as a youngster than the Nancy Drew mysteries. Nancy was a strong, independent force to be reckoned with and wasn't about to let anyone stand in her way or push her aside. If there was a problem, she had the solution! She was a wonderful role model for young girls, despite her knack for getting herself into dangerous situations. 

Considering all the intrigue she found herself mixed up in, there is only one chocolate that could possibly represent her:  Ghiradelli's Midnight Reverie.  It is vibrant and intense, just like like our daring sleuth! 


I would be remiss if I did not include Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. This incredibly sad story was written by a young girl who was forced to hide in an attic annex for two years in the 1940s when Germans invaded the Netherlands.  Her words will touch your very soul as you read the loneliness she endured in her young life. Caught up in a world of chaos with only a small window to give her comfort in an otherwise dismal existence, she wrote in her diary and forever left her legacy to the world.  

I chose a dark chocolate mousse with a chocolate graham cracker crumble. The dark chocolate is to represent the bitterness of the times, the silkiness of the mousse in honor of her spirit, and the crumbliness of the graham crackers to reflect how her life slipped away.    


Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage definitely had to make my list of books for children, and adults, to read.  I'm not so sure it is a popular choice in today's world, but it is one that deserves to be read. 

I liked this book because it was gritty and talked about subjects that weren't routinely discussed with children. Bravery and courage are something that need to be encouraged and nurtured. We all wonder how we will respond in a time of crisis. This book is the perfect opportunity for parents and children to discuss the inner turmoil building up in their young lives and to help create an open dialog.  

The perfect accompaniment to this book would be a Hershey's Krackle.  Just the name reminds me of the crack of gunfire that surrounded young Henry Fleming.  Again, the grittiness of the crisped rice seems appropriate because all does not go effortlessly with his inner conflict, until he takes the flag in hand and comes to terms with the true meaning of the word "courage," at which point the chocolate blends in with the roughness of the bar to bring about a smooth conclusion.  


Growing up I always loved reading about this time period. It was a harsh time in history, yet romantic to a young girl. The dynamic between the sisters kept the story captivating, and there is some relationship between the characters that everyone can relate to. I'm sure it is not a stretch of anyone's imagination to know that I found myself akin to Joe.  I loved her spirit and sass, her desire to become a writer, and her love story. 

To me, Little Women, is most like a Snickers bar.  It has the caramel goodness of joyful times, the peanuts to represent their arduous journey over symbolic rough roads, and then the creamy nougat of the homecoming that awaits them all as they come together in the end. 


I truly enjoyed reading this book when my daughter was in grammar school. For her, it was a school assignment. For me, it was just following a pattern we had gotten into. I liked reading the same books as my daughter so we could discuss them. It helped her to really think about the books and what she was reading, and I loved the insight she could provide in how she interpreted the stories from a child's perspective. 

This book is about a society where memories are forgotten--put away, and only seen and felt by one individual, "The Giver." The members of society feel no joy, nor pain. They live a life without options or choice.  Young Jonas has followed suit up until his twelfth birthday when he is set to become the new Giver. Once he starts receiving memories he realizes their world is not all that it seems, but envisions what could be.

I paired this book with Ethel M's raspberry creme in dark chocolate because it is symbolic to young Jonas' discovery that life can hold amazing richness and color when the outer protective shell is broken. 


I grew up as a rough and tumble "barn rat."  It was a term of endearment that was bestowed upon all the little kids by the adults at the stables where my pony was kept. I have so many wonderful memories of hanging out with my best friend, Maple City Man of the Hour, or just Maple for short.  I felt an instant connection and familiarity when reading Charlotte's Web. It is a timeless storybook of friendship, and ultimately, loss.  Besides, it had a talking pig and a spider that can spell! What kid wouldn't love that? I know I sure did! 

I'm not quite sure why I chose Mounds as a representation for this book. I think it is because the dark chocolate and coconut go together so well, like Wilbur and Charlotte. It just seems like a natural combination of goodness. 


Anyone that has ever read my blog will probably guess what the #1 book on my list will be.  It goes back to my early childhood and is one of my absolute favorites. You may at first wonder why until you learn the reason behind it. It is the Little Golden Book's Dumbo.

The reason this book tops my list, despite its simplicity, is because it evokes such strong emotion in me.  I was lucky enough to grow up living next to my grandmother who bestowed her love of literature onto me.  This is the first book I can recall from my early childhood, besides my big red book of nursery rhymes that weighed as much as me. Each time I spent the night at my grandparents I could count on the same bedtime routine. My grandmother would lovingly ask me what book I wanted her to read, which was always Dumbo, and afterwards as she tucked the covers snugly around me she would sing Mr. Bluebird On Your Shoulder and give me a kiss goodnight.  I ask you, how could this not be the number one book on my list?  

I would definitely say this book defines the very essence of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. The way the chocolate wraps around the peanut butter as a blanket does a small child, keeping everything safe inside.  Yes, a peanut butter cup is definitely my choice for this delightful children's book that holds so many endearing memories for me. Plus, Dumbo loves peanuts! 


As I concluded the children's section I found myself wanting to add book after book, but then this blog would never end. Even as I posted my additional must-reads above, there were so many books that I had wished I had added to it! There is such a plethora of wonderful literary options available today from timeless classics to new treasured tales. I hope that with everything that is available in today's marketplace that you will help your child find a book that is their "perfect fit" and read with them today! 


Let's shake things up a bit and talk about an adult book, although I firmly believe that children's books aren't just for children! I want to set the record straight on that one. 

I received this book as a gift. I guess I should explain. I work as an office manager for a busy commercial real estate office. One day, years ago, a client came in carrying three books. Typically this client was all-business with a "lets get to it" mentality. Although always pleasant, he was a busy man with a hectic schedule. So his composure that day took me a little by surprise. He had dropped his business facade and stood before me almost humbled. He then held out a book to me, The Ultimate Gift, by Jim Stovall. He explained that he had received it as a gift himself, and after reading it, he promptly bought copies for all of his employees and business associates because it had greatly moved him. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, this book must be awesome."  That night I sat down and read it cover-to-cover. I have to say, I agreed with him. There was something about this book that moved me as well. I loved the morality of it, the message it contained, and the heart within this book.  I will admit, I bought a dozen copies of the book myself and handed them out that year to loved ones.

The premise of the book is about a young man, Jason Stevens, who expects to inherit millions of dollars from a deceased relative. Unfortunately for him, or so he thinks, before he can collect those funds he must learn several "Life Lessons." The book goes on to teach these lessons in story form. It is very well crafted so that you don't feel like you are being preached at while you read the book.

I knew instantaneously what I would pair with this book because it seemed so obvious: This book could only be a cup of soul-soothing, hot chocolate.  It warms you from the inside out. This is a book to be read by all, in my humble opinion.  You may be surprised at what you learn from it, and about yourself. 


C.L. Murphy is an award winning author and illustrator of the children's picture book series THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO. She says she's having the time of her life creating, sharing and being apart of the kid lit world. What a PACK of peeps they are, where everyday is an adventure! blog link:

Jamie Stevens is an author, illustrator and developer of Peep’s Spring Surprise, an interactive preschool storybook app. Peep is a bird of few words. Actually just one word, “Peep.” That doesn’t stop Peep, along with his friends, Piper and Penny, as they jump with the rabbits, hug huge fluffy sheep and find hidden eggs. Jamie is currently working on the second storybook app in her Peep and Friends series and also plans on offering the preschool series in print.  Jamie can most often be found on her Facebook account, so you can find her Chocolate Book Blog post at:

Cat Michaels started writing stories in fourth grade and hasn’t stopped since.  After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential.  She also worked in the private sector and managed communication and staff development programs for an international high-tech firm.  However, she returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities. 

Cat builds on her teaching experiences to write illustrated chapter books for young readers of all abilities to develop imagination and critical thinking skills.  Watercolor illustrations by Irene A. Jahns help bring the stories to life.  Cat's books, Sweet T and the North Wind and Finding Fuzzy: a You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friendcan be found on Amazon and ordered from local bookstores.

To connect with Cat, please visit her website:

Last, but certainly not least, is my friend Geena Bean. Geena graduated from Rutgers University in 2003 with a degree in English. Over the past ten years, she has been working within the nanny industry while trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a full-time children's author. Her first picture book, Come Back Dear Sun, was published in January, 2013. Since then, she has been writing other children's literature stories, visiting elementary schools and independent bookstores throughout New Jersey, and further establishing herself with the children's book industry. Her second picture book will be released in the winter of 2015. Please visit Geena's blog at:  Geena Bean, Children's Book Author.

Thank you for joining me on the tour.  Before I go, I would like to encourage you to be a mentor--read to a child and make a difference in their life!  

Wishing you all a little adventure,

K.  Lamb


  1. Wonderful post, K! Wonderful pairings!

  2. Kristen, thank you so much for including me in on this wonderful blog tour! I absolutely loved your book choices.. especially Little Women and Dumbo. Both of these stories are very near and dear to my heart. They remind me of my childhood with my mother and sister.
    This will be the first blog post in a very long time on my Geena Bean website but here goes!

  3. I love your book choices and chocolate pairings here, Kristen, and was nicely surprised to find Red Badge of Courage mentioned. I'd read that book several years ago ~ one of those I'd picked to read without being asked to read for class.

  4. Thank you all for your lovely messages and for taking the time to read my blog and comment!

    Claudine, I read the Red Badge of Courage in 7th grade, oh so many years ago, and I remember being completely drawn into it. I loved the book and it has stayed with me all these years! I'm glad you enjoyed it as well.

    Geena, how am I not surprised that Dumbo has touched your life as well? I look forward to reading your chocolate book blog!

    Cathy, I can't wait to see what pairings you have come up with and your favorite books!

  5. I love the book selections AND the chocolate! What a wonderful idea for a post/reading challenge. Thank you! Glad to have found your site. I would start with exploring your posts some more, getting some chocolate myself (can't help it after reading this) and grabbing a book!

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate it, Maria. Books and chocolate! What more could we possible ask for? Whatever YOUR pairing, I hope you lose yourself within the pages of a treasured book today.