What’s the best way to honor two beloved British icons with 90th birthdays this year?
Feature them both in a beary good story, of course.
Mr Cornelius is convinced 2016 is extra special and that 90 is a magic number. On January 13, much to the delight of the 50-something resident Paddingtons, Michael Bond turned 90. On April 21, HRH Queen Elizabeth turned 90 (with her official birthday celebration taking place just over a week ago), and this coming October marks the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh’s first book.
Goodness. This is like a golden trifecta for us anglophiles who are mad for Brits, books and bears! Just so happens that Her Majesty loved the Pooh books when she was little, and the year she was born, Mr. Milne dedicated his Teddy Bear and Other Songs (1926) to her.
Earlier this year, Mr Bond was asked to write an address for the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. His “Reflection on the Passing of Years” was read aloud at the service by Sir David Attenborough (and yes, he turned 90, too, on May 8). This piece, a special gift for the Queen, described the experience of life for those born in 1926. Is there any better gift than the gift of words?
So we could say that in effect Paddington has “met” the Queen, but until this new story Pooh had not.
☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: My day starts with a hot cup of coffee, which I drink while reading the morning paper. When I was a little boy growing up in rural Louisiana, I was awakened each morning by the aroma of coffee brewing. For me, it signaled a new day. I would watch my Dad sitting at the table, drinking his cup of coffee while reading the morning paper. I was too young to join him then, but I continue my father’s tradition now. A second cup normally follows my wake-me-up cup of coffee, and after a quick breakfast, I am ready for the new day.
I am a native of Louisiana. And I love the wide variety of cuisine found in the state. The northern part of the state is more known for its southern Soul, rural-influenced cuisine. The southern section, especially New Orleans, is characterized by the Mississippi River and other bodies of water, is famous for its Creole, Cajun, and seafood-centered cuisine. Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street spotlights the tradition of youngsters’ tap dancing in the French Quarter using bottle caps stamped and ground in the soles of their shoes instead of taps. This delightful book captures the flavor of the Crescent City and introduces some of the famous dishes and food it is known for such as jambalaya, beignet, po’boys and red beans and rice. Let’s eat y’all!
☕ COMING SOON FROM JUST US BOOKS/MARIMBA BOOKS:
AFRO-BETS® Book of Shapes (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
AFRO-BETS® Book of Colors (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
I’m a Big Brother Now, by Katura J. Hudson, illustrated by Sylvia Walker (Marimba Books, a new picture book for Fall 2016)
Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present, by Gil L. Robertson (Just Us Books, a new book of biographies, Fall 2016)
Sights I Love to See (another book in the “I Love to” series published by Marimba Books, Spring 2017).
“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.” ~ Paul McCartney
Why, hello. Thought we’d serve up some lemon drizzle cake in honor of Paul McCartney’s 74th birthday tomorrow. Please help yourself to a piece or two or three and a nice warm cuppa.
While you’re sip sip sipping and ever-so-politely wiping crumbs from the corners of your mouth, enjoy Paul’s “English Tea,” which I strongly suspect he wrote just for me. See if you agree:
Am I not a “nanny bakes fairy cakes” kind of person who tends to veer into twee at a moment’s notice? I think “English Tea” should become Alphabet Soup’s official song.
Miles and miles of English garden stretching past the willow tree . . . lines of holly, hocks and roses listen most attentively.
It’s hard to believe Paul is going to be 74; he hasn’t slowed down one bit. Right now he’s in the midst of his One on One Tour, and just a week ago he released “Pure McCartney,”a comprehensive retrospective collection of his solo, Wings and Fireman work available in 3 formats: 2CD, 4CD and 4LP. The 4CD version features an amazing 67 tracks, all handpicked by the man himself.
To help promote “Pure McCartney,” he’s done a series of six virtual reality mini-documentariesfilmed in his home studio in England, where he discusses backstories and recording/production tidbits about some of his songs. These can be seen in 360-degree videos or in virtual reality on a mobile app for Android or iOS.
I love how he continues to be on the forefront of studio technology. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s always been pro-innovation (Sgt Pepper, anyone?) — the mark of a true creative, a musician through and through. When it comes to staying power and audience appeal in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry, Paul takes the biscuit!
☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: For mornings my fav is Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee with a splash of Amaretto cream…yum, yum, yum! You can’t beat this drink for kick-starting the day. After 3 pm I love Red Zinger or Camomile tea, sipped hot with honey from my Grandmother Viola’s fancy teacup. This reminds me of both my grandmothers who introduced me to the idea of having “high tea” in the afternoon.
☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES:Songs I Love to Singby Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Laura Freeman (Marimba Books, 2015); Hands Canby Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by John-Francis Bourke (Candlewick, 2013), and My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010).
☕ COMING SOON FROM JUST US BOOKS/MARIMBA BOOKS:
AFRO-BETS Book of Shapes (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
AFRO-BETS Book of Colors (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
I’m a Big Brother Now by Katura J. Hudson, illustrated by Sylvia Walker (Marimba Books, a new picture book for Fall 2016)
Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson (Just Us Books, a new book of biographies for Fall 2016)
Sights I Love to See by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Laura Freeman (Marimba Books, Spring 2017)
☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by James Ransome (HMH, 1995). I love the focus on family memories that are demonstrated so lovingly in this picture book. I grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia where crabbing is a popular summer pastime and eating crabs (by the bushel) is part of an annual family reunion tradition. My grandmother Viola Brown made her own beautiful Sunday hats and also cooked wonderful crabcakes. Although they are never as delicious as my grandmother’s, I can’t resist ordering crabcakes whenever they appear on a restaurant menu. Aunt Flossie’s Hats always reminds me of my own happy childhood.
☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Don’t miss Cheryl’s must-read guest post at The Brown Bookshelf (part of their 28 Days Later showcase for 2016). She discusses her passion for children’s books, her personal publishing journey, as well as how and why she and her husband Wade established Just Us Books in 1988.