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Archive for the ‘may days’ Category

                       

Are you hungry, baba?

You’ve come to the right place! Let’s fire up the skillet and cook some lip-smacking, oh-so-yummy, belly-rubbing roti! 


Harry R/flickr

There’s so much more to this homey unleavened Indian flatbread than meets the eye (or the stomach). Yes, it’s perfect for scooping up curries and vegetables (love love it with dahl), but did you know it also has the power to inspire really good stories? Hunh-ji! Yes Sir!

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji (Lee & Low Books, 2011) contains all the ingredients I love most in a children’s story: food, family, and high octane fun. I can say unequivocally that it’s my favorite picture book thus far about contemporary Indian American life. How to blend the old with the new? Find an interesting way to bridge the generations? Introduce young readers to an unfamiliar culture? Lace a story with tasty specifics that tap into universal themes? Debut author F. Zia accomplishes all these things with her beautifully crafted "story within a story" that never misses a beat and is an absolute hoot to read aloud.

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Orielo/flickr


The best poems feel like they were written just for you.

I guess it’s no secret I’m a teensy bit partial to food poems that tease and tickle my literary palate with evocative sensual detail and juicy words I can roll around my tongue.

  

Last year, when Greg from GottaBook stopped by to share a poem and recipe at my Poetry Potluck, he mentioned Jorge Argueta’s new book about rice pudding. Since I loved Jorge’s Sopa de Frijoles/Bean Soup, I was anxious to taste his Arroz con Leche/Rice Pudding, another bilingual free verse Cooking Poem, this time illustrated by award-winning Brazilian artist Fernando Vilela.

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quack up!


Blurry? Is this picture blurry? Have you ever tried to photograph a quazy duck?

Quackity quack quack!

Look who waddled into town over the weekend — yes, that’s Max the Duck, star of the New York Times Bestselling picture book series with his uber-talented creator, Jackie Urbanovic!

Jackie was on the panel at the Mid Atlantic SCBWI New Member Welcome held at the Reston Regional Library, sharing her thoughts on "The Creative Life: Navigating the Peaks and Valleys of Writing and Illustrating for Children," along with Lezlie Evans, Valerie Patterson and Regional Advisor Ellen Braaf.

Though I had interviewed Jackie a couple of times for alphabet soup, we’d never met in person. When I finally introduced myself following the panel discussion, she let out a little scream, jumped out of her seat and gave me a big hug. "I can’t believe you’re here!" she kept saying. Just ducky!!

       

Such a thrill — I’ve been a Jackie fan since I discovered Duck at the Door at my public library back in 2007 — and have enjoyed each and every installment in the series: Duck Soup, Duck and Cover, and Sitting Duck. Okay, guess which one is my favorite?

HOW COULD I NOT LOVE SOMEONE WHO WRITES ABOUT SOUP?!

Anyway, I got her to sign my books, and then we quipped and quacked for a few minutes. Jackie’s positive energy is contaigious, and she’s able to convey so much joy and exuberance in her art. Zip, jump, run. Badda-bing! Quazy good (with a side of quisp).


Possibly my most favorite inscription EVER!

Her latest title, released earlier this year, is IF YOU’RE HOPPY, written by April Pulley Sayre (Greenwillow, 2011). Full of hoppy sloppy animals growling and flapping all over the place (review coming soon). Big, big dose of Happy.

      

I’m a lucky duck, no? ☺

♥ More Jackie posts here.

*skips away*

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Hey, hey! Today is Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday!!

We could celebrate by listening to 70 of our favorite Dylan songs, singing “Like a Rolling Stone” seventy times, or by letting out 70 WooHoo’s! for this brand new picture book biography, When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan (Little, Brown, 2011). (I vote for all of the above.)

Honey Babe, I was soooooooo excited when I first heard this book was coming out, but disappointed when I couldn’t get my hands on a review copy — until the ever thoughtful and generous Jules of 7-Imp offered to share hers (kiss kiss hug hug love on that beautiful woman). Now, I’m no longer a sad-eyed lady of the lowlands, because I’ve devoured Gary Golio’s wonderful words and pored over Marc Burckhardt’s crackerjack illustrations.

Though there are several middle grade Dylan biographies, and two recent picture books illuminating his song lyrics — Man Gave Names to All the Animals illustrated by Jim Arnosky (Sterling, 2010), and Forever Young illustrated by Paul Rogers (Atheneum, 2008) — Golio’s is the first trade picture book biography featuring the iconic music legend.

Even a casual fan knows there are tons of books published about Dylan (latest count: approximately 1000 titles in English), including biographies and retrospectives, songbooks, photo albums, graphic interpretations of his lyrics, collections of articles and interviews, academic analyses of his ouevre by hardcore Dylanologists, even an encyclopedia containing every bit and bob about Bob. And of course, there’s Dylan’s own critically acclaimed memoir, Chronicles, Volume One (S&S, 2005). So Mr. Golio’s task must have been quite daunting, sifting through the available resources and creating a narrative captivating enough to interest young readers who’ve probably never heard of our favorite Archbishop of Anarchy. And then there’s that little matter of Dylan fabricating parts of his life, especially his early years.

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Know what would taste really ono right about now?

A big bowl of warm, steamy, soul satisfying saimin!

At this very moment, I’m dreaming of dipping my chopsticks in hot dashi and slurping up some fresh saimin noodles — just the right firmness, a little curly — with a bit of char-siu (sweet roast pork), kamaboko (fish cake), fried egg and crunchy wonbok cabbage. See those chopped green onions nestled atop the noodles? I’m gonna scoop them up and slurp again. Mmmmm!


James Rubio/flickr

Saimin is truly "Hawai’i in a bowl," a ubiquitous snack turned main dish inspired by Japanese ramen, Chinese mein, and Filipino pancit. It always, always hits the spot. Now there’s a brand new award winning picture book called Plenty Saimin by Feng Feng Hutchins and Adriano Abatayo (Island Paradise Publishing, 2010), a tasty tale sure to satisfy the appetites of diehard saimin lovers and curious foodies.

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