six happy things on a monday

My great-niece Marin on a recent visit to Hawai’i.

Well, May is the month of merrymaking and bountiful blossoms. Have you donned a gossamer gown, frolicked in a meadow, nibbled on strawberries yet?

So far, I’ve got the strawberries covered. They’re getting sweeter and sweeter every week. Still need to work on the gossamer and practice my frolicking. I am SO craving some strawberry shortcake with lots of fresh whipped cream right about now.


♥ The Happy Six ♥

1. Tomorrow is the official release date for dear friend Tanita S. Davis’s third YA novel, Happy Families (Knopf, 2012)!! I have pre-ordered a copy and can’t wait to read it. It’s already received glowing reviews from Kirkus, Richie Partington, and Ashley Perez, who calls the novel an antidote to the, “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay” disease discussed in Dan Pearce’s essay. Happy Families is about twins Ysabel and Justin, who discover that their father is transgendered. How will they ever come to terms with this? Sounds like it will be an enlightening and educational read, with provocative assertions about how families can redefine themselves, as they reassess what real love and commitment truly entails. Go, Tanita!

2. Congratulations are in order for children’s author/illustrator Grace Lin and her husband Alex Ferron, who welcomed a new baby girl into the world on May 2nd. They’ve named the new little Rain Dragon, “Hazel Maisy,” and from the few pictures I’ve seen, I can tell you she is a real beauty! I predict many delicious dumplings and homemade cupcakes in Hazel’s future.

3. Speaking of Grace, wanted to thank her for including Dumpling Soup on her list of 10 Favorite Books for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, posted at PBS Parents. It’s an honor to be mentioned alongside some of my own personal favorites (Lisa Yee, Justina Chen, Lenore Look, Janet Wong).

4. Wanted to point you to this touching essay, “Echoes of My Mother”, by children’s author Audrey Vernick. She actually posted it last year for the, To Mama With Love collaborative art project, but I only just saw it the other day. Didn’t realize that Audrey’s mom was also a children’s author. Poignant and beautifully written.

5. I’m looking forward to chatting with several special guests this month and featuring some fantastic new books. Since it’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, you may notice a little Hawaiian flavor here and there. Waiting in the wings: Candice Ransom, Margo Sorenson, Greg Pincus, Annette Simon, and my niece Cobi Kim (uber-talented plant foods advocate, videographer, blogger, food stylist and photographer).

6. Since it’s May, the month of flowers, thought I’d share a few photos taken by my nephew Ian on his recent Hawai’i vacation. It was the first time there for three of his four children, and as you can see by the first photo in this post, it didn’t take long for Marin to become an “Island Girl.”  My father (age 97), was thrilled to meet his great-granddaughter and her two brothers for the first time. Enjoy these blooms from the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu:

Have a beautiful flower-and-strawberry-filled week. Hope your ideas blossom into wonderful stories!


**Special thanks to Ian James Dodge for permission to post all the Hawaiian flower photos!

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

19 thoughts on “six happy things on a monday

  1. What a rich post, Jama! Visiting your site always brings a smile to my lips. So many things to celebrate indeed. Congratulations to everyone! I meant to tell you, I borrowed your book “Dumpling Soup” from our library a week ago. Will feature it for our next bimonthly theme on Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience. 🙂 I’m excited to read and enjoy it dearest Jama. Oh yeah, I also noted your latest eye candy here. Not much of an Edward Cullen fan, I’m afraid, it’s the werewolves that always always get to me [think Joe Manganiello *swoons*]. *wink*


    1. Thanks so much for reading and featuring DS!! So gratifying to hear that it’s still getting some love after all these years.

      So, you prefer werewolves? Actually, I’m not necessarily an Edward fan either. I was thinking solely about Robert Pattinson in real life :). He’s not hard to look at. I admit to stocking up on garlic before posting his photo just in case, though :). Perhaps Joe needs to be our next Eye Candy.


  2. Great to hear all the plans for May, Jama, & we too are waiting for the strawberry shortcake! Much to look forward to. Those flower photos are so beautiful, but even more, nice to hear the story of your father meeting his great-grandchildren for the first time. The Happy Families book sounds needed!


    1. I agree that Happy Families is a much needed book. I think it will challenge our definitions of “acceptance,” and unearth some of our own preconceptions. The average person just doesn’t know very much at all about this subject, even the proper terminology to use.

      My father was beside himself — a very bittersweet moment for him. He’d been following the kids on FB, and finally getting to see them in person was a dream come true.


  3. Oh, Jama, what would I do without you to celebrate for… er, with me! (I thought the book was out the 12th, but the date, I see, has changed!!!!) Thanks for the notice, alongside Grace’s happy, happy news!!!! I hope to be in a place of such lovely flowers soon – at the moment here it’s a balmy forty-five degrees. Oy!


    1. I hope I got the release date correct — I’m already planning to start reading as soon as my copy arrives 🙂

      Little Hazel is perfect! So, so sweet :). I hope she appears in a book soon. . .

      45 degrees? My sympathies. We’ve been balmy in the 70’s and 80’s. Hope your move goes smoothly, and that a bevy of beautiful blossoms greets you on your arrival.


  4. Wow, that’s more than 6 happy things. But who’s counting. I’m glad to know Tanita’s book has moved to the edge of the wings, and love hearing about all the talented (and gorgeous) members of your family. Pictures of amazing families are always a plus. I’m glad Dumpling Soup keeps getting love.


    1. Tanita is a constant marvel — each of her books so different, and pretty courageous to tackle such a tricky subject with this new book.

      There are some very talented cooks in our family — my expertise is on the eating side of things :).


  5. Aw, so happy for Grace. I saw her a couple of months ago at a school visit here in my area, and I was so impressed she was traveling and presenting in that last tiring trimester!

    Such beautiful flowers!! Makes me excited for our family vacation to Maui next month – yay!!!!!


    1. That’s definitely exciting! You’re lucky to be on the West Coast; less of an ordeal getting there. I miss all the tropical flowers here. Of course I’d settle for any flowers at this point — the deer eat them like candy.


  6. Jama, I LOVE this particular month on this blog. I guess I’m just a little partial to the Pacific Asian theme! Ian’s photos, especially the one of Minsy remind me of how special this last visit to Oahu was… I’m looking forward to all the upcoming features, especially niece Cobi’s!


    1. I’m really excited about featuring Cobi too! I’ve been wanting to learn more about plant based cooking for awhile and it’s so nice to have an expert in the family :).


  7. Thanks for bringing us all these happy things! Lovely to hear about a new baby and a great-grand visit 🙂


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