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Mouth-watering inspiration for families to read and experience books together

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'Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas' Sproutings', written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López, is a book about many edible things, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a lunchbox staple in cafeterias far and wide - but did you know that peanuts are not actually nuts at all? They are legumes, like beans and peas.

Did you know that peanuts are believed to be of South American origin, and that, here in the United States, we eat six hundred million pounds of peanuts and seven hundred million pounds of peanut butter every year?

And while we are at it, did you know that the starch from corn kernels is used to hold crayons and chalk together? Did you know that potatoes were the first vegetable to be grown in outer space? Or that pumpkin was once believed to remove freckles and cure snakebite?

Peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more - all these native foods of the Americas are celebrated in this luscious book, a collection of haiku. Brimming with imagination and fun, these poems capture the tasty essence of foods that have delighted, united and enriched our lives for centuries. Interesting tidbits about the food accompany each poem, and exuberant illustrations bring to life the delicious spirit of the haiku, making 'Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!' an eye-popping, mouth-watering treat.

And right now, this delectable book can be yours - simply by signing up for 'Every Family Reads', and pledging to spend some time each week reading together. The program runs throughout March and April 2008, and books and materials are most appropriate for children in grades K-5.

The Multnomah County Library staff created 'Every Family Reads' to motivate families to read and experience books together. The 2008 program celebrates bilingual literacy. We encourage your family to participate by reading and discussing the featured book, 'Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas' Sproutings', by Pat Mora. This special edition paperback provides the text in both English and Spanish. Look at the book one way, it's in English; flip it over, it's in Spanish. Author Pat Mora has won numerous awards for her many children's books, and her work as a literacy advocate.

To enhance your reading experience, the library will offer programs related to the book and bilingual literacy, such as the Childsplay National Tour theatrical presentation of Tomás and the Library Lady, a visit from Pat Mora, bilingual celebrations, and workshops involving poetry, crafts and food. Regardless of your family's cultural background, we hope you will embrace this opportunity to learn about language and culture together.

One of the most important things parents can do to boost the educational success of their children is to read to them. We hope this program will inspire you to set aside some time to read together, talk about books in your home, and visit your neighborhood library. We look forward to hearing about your reading adventures!