"My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read."
~ Abraham Lincoln
Sushil Prakash, a 7-Eleven convenience store owner in Fresno, California, has started a small library inside his store and he is giving out a free Slurpee (a frozen, fruit-flavored drink) for every book children read. To get the free Slurpee, kids simply borrow a book, read it and then write a report.
The store owner's son has contributed to the library by donating a lot of his own books. The little library has been so successful, nearby schools have also helped by donating reading material.
"It's a wonderful feeling. I have so many good stories of kids that were going the wrong way and now they try to spend time at home reading," said Prakash, who started the library in order to help keep neighborhood kids out of trouble.
According to researchers at Emory University, Mr. Prakash may be giving the kids much more than a free icy treat.
The recent University study, published in the journal Brain Connectivity
, showed that reading an absorbing book results in heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, a region of the brain linked to language and sensory motor skills. 21 students took part in the study, with all participants reading the same book: Pompeii
, by Robert Harris, a historical thriller which was chosen for its page-turning plot.
Over a period of 19 days, the students read a portion of the book in the evening and then had fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans in the morning. Once the students had finished reading the book, their brains were scanned for five more days. The researchers found that reading a powerful story has the
ability to create "muscle memory" in the brain in the same way as if the
events had actually happened to the reader and trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least 5 days after reading.
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.
~ Strickland Gillilan, The Reading Mother
Making a batch of Orange Flower Ice Cream (no ice cream maker required) is a novel way to enjoy winter citrus fruits. Here in California and similar climates, many citrus trees produce fruit in the winter. You can find orange flower water at gourmet stores or in the Middle Eastern foods section of your supermarket. Orange flower or orange blossom water is a product of steam distillation used to obtain an essential oil made from the leaves, pulp, seeds and bark of the tree. The oil produced is known as neroli essential oil and the flower hydrosol that remains after the oil is separated out is orange flower water.Orange Flower Ice CreamFresh orange juice and a touch of orange flower water combine to make this refreshing and elegant ice cream. No ice cream maker is required - only a spoon and four hours in your freezer.
2 cups organic whole milk
2 cups organic cream
2 cups organic sugar
Grated zest of 1 large or 2 small oranges
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange flower water
In a large bowl, combine milk, cream and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves (be patient; this takes about 5 full minutes of stirring).
Add zest and juice and orange flower water. Stir to combine (mixture will thicken).
Pour mixture into a shallow pan (non-metal). Cover surface of ice cream with plastic wrap, then cover pan tightly with foil. Freeze until firm (about 4 hours or overnight).
Makes over 3 cups