Nourishing Literacy | Books and Cooks: Strong Rocks

By Shayna M. RSS Fri, September 17, 2021

Books and Cooks, a collaboration between the Parkway Central Library Children’s Department and the Culinary Literacy Center’s Nourishing Literacy team, offers an afterschool series of story read-alouds, cooking ideas, wellness prompts, and creative art activities for school-aged youth, inspired by the theme of natural wonders.

Strong Rocks was the focus of our closing program for the 2020/2021 school year series, celebrating how strong we all are and reminding us to tap into that strength on the days when we need it the most.

What practices, foods, and books help you to feel strong? Here are some resources we put together that show how nature, wellness, and self-care ROCKS!

Scientific Strength

There is so much that can be explored when thinking about rocks, and the library is such a great place to do this! To start our thinking process about bold and unique rocks, our friend and librarian Ellen Wang in Parkway Central Library’s Science and Wellness Department recommend the following books from our catalog, selected with intergenerational audiences in mind. If you are looking for more resources along these lines, please reach out to Ellen and her colleagues!


Grounded in the Kitchen

Rocks can be a source of inspiration for food and cooking. Sometimes beans and root vegetables can look a lot like rocks and pebbles! What foods can you think of that look like rocks to you? 

Beans and root vegetables can help us to feel very strong. The bright colors in these foods signal the range of nutrients that they contain. Beans are available canned, frozen, fresh, and dried, among other forms. Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and radishes don’t just grow under the ground—they can also be very grounding, helping us to feel steady and calm. 

Try making a bean-root vegetable quesadilla for a strong snack or meal! You can use any ingredients that sound good to you. Here is a suggested flexible recipe. 

Bean-Root Vegetable Quesadilla


  • Tortillas
  • Black beans or any bean, canned, drained, and rinsed or cooked from scratch
  • Sweet potatoes or carrots, cooked and mashed or raw and shredded
  • Cheese, shredded or sliced
  • Chile powder or favorite seasonings
  • Oil or butter (for cooking on stovetop)


  1. Place a tortilla on a plate or board that is microwave-safe (if microwaving), or can be used to transfer the quesadilla into the pan by gently sliding.
  2. Place beans, sweet potatoes or carrots, cheese, and seasonings on a tortilla. Cover the filling with another tortilla.
  3. Microwave or cook on the stovetop. 

Read and watch our Nourishing Literacy How Have You Bean? content for more about wonderful beans! We Root For Sweet Potatoes! is another Nourishing Literacy video celebrating the sweet root vegetable of sweet potatoes.  


Rock Out with Yoga

Our friend, librarian, and Head of the Parkway Central Library Children’s Department and Field Teen Center, Ms. Becky, enjoys yoga as a way to feel strong. She recommends the Be Strong & Brave yoga and mindfulness playlist created by her friend, kids’ yoga expert, and recording artist, Bari Koral.

Strong Expression

Nourishing Literacy team member Toni enjoys writing poetry as a way to be creative and expressive. Here is a poem that Toni wrote and shared, inspired by the theme of Strong Rocks. Try to create a poem using this theme as a starting place!

Whose rock is that? I think I know.

Its owner is quite happy though.

Full of joy like a rock along the side of the road. 


They give their rock a shake,

And laughs until their belly aches.

The only sound that break, is laughter 


The rock is strong, light and deep,

But promises are meant to keep,

Sweet dreams come to them. 


They rise from their gentle bed,

With thoughts of strong rocks in their head, as they prepare for the day ahead.


Watch the video below to see Toni share another one of her poems and some poetry-writing ideas.

You can also check out these great resources to support the poetry writing process:

Books such as Write Your Own Haiku: See The World Through "Haiku Eyes" by Patricia Donegan for youth readers and The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty-Four Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry edited by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs for advanced readers. For more recommendations tailored to you, your interests, and reading and writing levels, the Parkway Central Children’s Department, Field Teen Center, and Literature Department librarians can help you!

Healing Verse Philly is a poetry line created by Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson. Every Monday a new poem is available to listen to by dialing 1-855-POEMRX2 (763-6792).


Rock & Roll with Reading!

Ms. Becky loves to share wonderful books. Here is her Strong Rocks-themed reading list for youth of all ages. For more resources and ideas, please contact Ms. Becky at ShaknovichR @—she would love to hear from you!

Board Books:

Picture Books:

Chapter Books & Series:

Middle-Grade Fiction:


You can also view Children's Librarian Miss Liz reads one of the above books, Lights on Wonder Rock, from a virtual storytime from earlier this year.


Rock On!

We wish you a creative and connecting beginning to the school year! 

Please follow the Parkway Central Children's Department and the Culinary Literacy Center for information about upcoming Books & Cooks programs. Ms. Becky will join members of the Nourishing Literacy team on Friday, September 22nd for a watch-along, cook-along Facebook Live event, Talking About Tomatoes!

Additionally, if interested in your child or family participating in a school classroom visit or family program with the Nourishing Literacy team this school year, please reach out to kitchen @!

Nourishing Literacy offers food, literacy, wellness, and life skills activities and events to community members, with our core audience being children, youth, teachers, and caregivers. Nourishing Literacy is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation.

To learn more about the Culinary Literacy Center, please visit our website or connect with us through Instagram and Facebook.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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