Book Info: The Story of Samson

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, June 2008,

Age group: 7-10

Jacket illustration: Alex Farquharson.

Genre: Historical Ficction

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Book Club Ideas:

The Story of Samson

Ideas for book clubs


VENUE: Why not outfit your own home into a scrapbooking wonderland? Like Grandpa had done, have your book clubbers bring in a scrapbook and materials to create a memory map of their own lives. What would they put in it? What would be important to them?

FOOD: The Samson visited the Caribbean many times as it made its voyage to haul molasses back to Nova Scotia. So why not serve food from the islands? Here are some recipes you might like to try.

Caribbean Lime Chicken

* 2-2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces (breasts, thighs and drumsticks)
* 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
* 1/4 cup lime juice
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon basil, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.
  3. Place chicken pieces on broiler pan.
  4. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, stir remaining ingredients together.
  6. Brush chicken with mixture on both sides.
  7. Broil for another 5 – 15 minutes, until no longer pink.
  8. Brush with mixture often during last 5 minutes of cooking.
  9. Note: Watch carefully after brushing mixture on chicken!

Simple Caribbean Jerk Chicken

* 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces


  1. Mix all ingredients except chicken in bowl.
  2. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and marinate 1 hour or over night in fridge.
  4. GRILL it!
  5. Enjoy!

Caribbean Onion Rings with Spicy Dipping Sauce

* 1 large sweet onion
* 3/4 cup flour
* 1/4 cup cornmeal
* 1 teaspoon lime zest
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1 cup buttermilk
* oil (for frying)

Lime Dipping Sauce

* 2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 tablespoons lime juice
* 1 teaspoon horseradish


  1. Peel onion and cut into 1/4-inch slices, separating rings.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, lime zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk and stir. Add the flour mixture, and whisk until blended.
  4. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy fry pan until temperature reaches 375°F.
  5. Dip onion rings into batter and carefully put into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning after one minute. Remove with fork and place on paper towels to absorb oil. Serve with Lime Dipping Sauce.
  6. Lime Dipping Sauce: Blend ingredients well. Make at least 30 minutes before serving.

Coconut Flan

Flan is a favorite treat throughout the islands and there are many versions. Here is a simple recipe for coconut flan.
Prep Time: 00:20
Cook Time: 01:00

* 1 cup sugar (divided into 1/2 cup portions)
* 2 tablespoons water
* 5 eggs
* 1 14-oz can coconut milk
* 1 cup milk
* shredded coconut or pineapple chunks for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit and get the baking pans ready. You will need an 8-inch square baking pan and a large roasting pan.
  2. Put 1/2 cup of sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, swirling pan until sugar melts. Boil for approximately 3 minutes or until syrup turns an amber color.
  3. Immediately pour into square baking pan. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom completely. It is all right if the syrup hardens.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs and coconut milk until well blended.
  5. Beat in remaining sugar and the milk then pour the mix into baking pan.
  6. Place the square baking pan inside the roasting pan.
  7. Add hot water to roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of smaller pan.
  8. Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the square pan from the water and let cool completely.
  10. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  11. When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges of custard.
  12. Place an inverted rimmed serving plate over pan. Holding plate and pan together, carefully turn both over.
  13. Lift the pan and let they syrup run onto plate.
  14. Garnish with coconut and/or pineapple.


SPECIAL GUESTS: There are many modern day explorers out there today. One of them is Benedict Allen. Here is his website: He answers a lot of cool questions about being an explorer today. He also makes public appearances. Why not invite one of these modern day explorers and see if they would be willing to skype with your book club for 10-15 minutes in a question and answer format? Make sure to have great questions ready for them.