five cool things on a wednesday

Need a little somethin’ to liven up your Wednesday?

Check out this platter of sparkly goodness:

28_days_later1. Don’t forget to check in every day at The Brown Bookshelf for their 28-Days Later Black History Month Celebration. All during February they are showcasing the best in picture books, middle grade and young adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans. I’ve really been enjoying meeting some very talented new-to-me book people, like Christian Robinson and Glenda Armand, whose story, Love Twelve Miles Long, won the Lee & Low New Voices Award (Colin Bootman did a beautiful job of illustrating it)!

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2. Speaking of Lee & Low, they are having their annual Black History Month Book Giveaway! Just click through to their blog and leave a couplet in the comments for a chance to win one of 3 sets of 3 books! You can earn additional entries by liking Lee & Low on Facebook or Twitter, following them on Pinterest, or subscribing to the blog. Deadline: February 28, 2013.

LeeLo wprizes
Prize books!

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extra-Yarn3. Here’s another fabulous giveaway: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is giving away a brand new copy of EXTRA YARN (Balzer + Bray, 2012) signed by both Mac Barnett (author) and Jon Klassen (illustrator)!! You probably know that this book was just awarded a Caldecott Silver Medal. For you lucky Amherst, MA area peeps, Mac and Jon will be talking about the book at the Carle this Sunday, February 10 at 1 p.m. But the rest of us can pre-order signed copies online now! (Thanks to Jeannine Atkins for sharing the link.)

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tb cover4. Some of you may remember when award-winning author/illustrator Vanessa Brantley- Newton stopped by Alphabet Soup with author Liz Garton Scanlon to talk about their picture book THINK BIG (Bloomsbury, 2012). It’s not enough that Vanessa creates gloriously vibrant illustrations for books and greeting cards, makes beautiful dolls and who knows what else (!), and continually spreads sunshine and love wherever she goes — this. girl. can. sing! Seriously, who knew?

vanessa head shotAbout a month or so ago, I learned Vanessa had entered the Mary Mary Singing Spotlight Competition (WEtv). Beginning in December, entrants sent in videos of themselves singing one of three Mary Mary songs (Vanessa sang “Sunday Morning”). The public then began voting for their favorites online (as often as once every 24 hours). After the public Voting Phase ends on February 14th,  the 10 videos receiving the most votes will be judged in the Final Round by Mary Mary. The Grand Prize includes a trip to L.A. for a recording session!

Before you click over to the Mary Mary site to listen to Vanessa’s audition video and VOTE, check out this “reminder” video she posted on FB this week of her singing, “At Last”, avec mustache! Contestants are judged for their creativity, vocal talent and charm. See if you don’t agree that she is just too talented, and too CUTE. Love her!

Click on the following link to go to Vanessa’s FB page (the video is set for public viewing):

Then, go to the Mary Mary site and Vote vote vote  from today through February 14th!! Remember, you can vote once per day. Let’s help Vanessa make it to the Finals!

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5. Finally, it is my civic duty to point out that yesterday was World Nutella Day. Oh, you already knew that? I’m so impressed you have your chocolate and hazelnuts in order. I shouldn’t be too surprised. Some things are sacred, after all.


At last count, more than 700 Nutella recipes from all corners of the globe were listed at the site. This is, of course, a gold mine for those of us looking for just the right treat to make for Valentine’s Day. I admit it’s a tad overwhelming. What to make? Nutella Cheesecake? Nutella filled sandwich cookies? Nutella tarts? Nutella Lava Cake? Nutella mousse? Nutella truffles? Have mercy! Perhaps you’d rather just try to make your own Nutella?!

‘Tis the week to get naughty with Nutella. If you’re looking for a calorie-free experience, browse the Nutella flickr pool. But come on, wouldn’t you rather be naughty?

Shamelessly gratuitous Nutella photo:

nutella cake
Flourless Nutella Chocolate Cake via Ms. Adventures in Italy (click for recipe)

Have a great Wednesday, Cutie Pies!!


Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

14 thoughts on “five cool things on a wednesday

  1. How could I have missed Nutella Day?? I feel so ashamed. I’ll have to celebrate today…that’s legal, right? I have a Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that calls for an entire jar to be used in the batter – along with chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, and a white chocolate drizzle – and they are DELICIOUS.


    1. Wow. Just hearing about those cookies has me drooling. They sound rich and indulgent — perfect for Nutella Day. Why not extend the celebration for an entire week? 🙂


  2. Ooooh, lots of wonderful give-aways! Thanks for linking them here, Jama. I saw Jeannine’s post earlier, and wouldn’t I just loooove to win me some EXTRA YARN?!?

    P.S. How could I not know it was Nutella Day? 🙂


    1. I know: EXTRA YARN! Wish the Carle were closer to Virginia.

      January just kind of whizzed by and Nutella Day snuck up on everyone. I hope to make something for Valentine’s Day using Nutella. Or maybe just get a bigger spoon :).


  3. I love every single ‘cool’ thing, Jama. Thanks for the links everywhere, & especially the Nutella ones. My granddaughters & I love Nutella on Ritz crackers, but now that they are getting older, we’d better start baking.


  4. There is a World Nutella Day? The many things I learn from visiting your blog dearest Jama. I lovelovelove Extra Yarn – hope to post my review soon, once the Cybils has been safely announced and out of the way. Hehe. I’ve also scheduled a review of Think Big, I so loved the illustrations in that book. 🙂


    1. Yes, there is a World Nutella Day. Kind of snuck up on me this year or else I would have tried a new recipe. Of course Nutella should be enjoyed and celebrated every day of the year. Now to find the time to sift through those 700 recipes online . . .

      Can’t wait to see your reviews of Extra Yarn and Think Big! Just a few more days till the Cybils winners are announced. So exciting!


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