hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Maria Gianferrari (+ a giveaway!)

Maria is a picture book reading/writing, tea-drinking, dog-loving, Becca-walking, birdwatching resident of Virginia, though her heart still lives in New England.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I cannot live without my loose-leaf German tea, Nizze Sahne Tee! Nizze = Nice as in France and Sahne means cream. It’s an aromatic black tea flavored with cornflowers and safflowers, so there are hints of blue and orange. I first discovered it on a trip to Berlin in 2000. Now I order it by the kilo. And this is my favorite tea mug, purchased at Woolworth’s in Berlin, Germany, a remembrance of our time living there
2004-2005 for my husband Niko’s sabbatical.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My debut fiction picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, was published by HMH in July 2015; a companion book, Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars will be released in mid-June 2016. I also have a debut nonfiction picture book, Coyote Moon, with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, releasing on July 19, 2016 (Roaring Brook). In October 2016, Aladdin will publish another fiction picture book, Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails, illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou.

☕ FORTHCOMING IN 2017 AND BEYOND: Roaring Brook Press will also publish Hello Goodbye Dog, illustrated by Patrice Barton (2017); Highway Hawks, illustrated by Brian Floca (2018), and they recently acquired a second book with Bagram Ibatoulline, A Home for Bobcat. I also have a concept book called Terrific Tongues forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press as well as a haiku story about Great Horned Owls, Whooo-Ku, which will be published by GP Putnam’s Sons.

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Some recent foodie picture books that I loved are Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Bread as well as Mara Rockliff’s Gingerbread for Liberty. Some middle grade titles include Sarah Weeks’ Pie —you will become obsessed with pie-making after you read it; A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, and Kat Yeh’s The Truth About Twinkie Pie —full of heart, though the twinkie pies themselves are not my cup of tea ;). And though I haven’t yet gotten to them, I’ve heard wonderful things about Tara Dairman’s Gladys Gatsby books: All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer, and Stars So Sweet.

☕ Visit Maria Gianferrari’s Official Website and her Facebook Author Page. Don’t miss Penny and Jelly’s Website and Instagram!

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out the Penny and Jelly Talent Show Kit!

☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: Smack your lips for this adorable Penny and Jelly Literary Lunch prepared by Nina at Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love.

☕☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Cool spreads from the forthcoming Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails!




Maria has generously offered a brand new signed copy of Penny and Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader!

In this picture-book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover! But there’s one small detail that derails the dynamic kid-dog duo: no pets allowed. Penny and Jelly have to think quick—if the real Jelly can’t go, then maybe a pretend Jelly can! A paper Jelly? Too rough. A yarn Jelly? Too soft. Jelly after Jelly just doesn’t work. But with a little creativity and a lot of heart, Penny figures out how to go to the sleepover—and bring Jelly along with her.

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) June 9, 2016. You may also enter by sending an email with Penny and Jelly-2 in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot)com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!


And there’s more! Check out these dates for the Official Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars Blog Tour, beginning next Thursday, with more chances to win a book!

June 9:  Pragmatic Mom + Three Book Giveaway

June 10: Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

June 13: Little Crooked Cottage + Homemade City

June 14: Kid Lit Frenzy

June 15: Miss Marple’s Musings

June 16: Bildebok

June 17: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) + Three Book Giveaway

Extra Features:

June 24: Picture Book Builders


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

33 thoughts on “hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Maria Gianferrari (+ a giveaway!)

  1. So much cute! Officer Katz & Houdini looks super adorable, and I love the idea of Penny making herself a portable Jelly for those no-pet occasions. It’s very real kid-creativity! The superb mug and lovely-sounding tea are the icing on the tea cake! Thanks for another intro to a new-to-me hotTEA!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love my tea, tee-d–totally addicted & can barely drink anything else. I have turned into a total tea snob :).

      Thanks for your kind words :)!


    1. Hello Jessica & thank you!!!

      You know that Hound from the Pound is one of my very favorite books! I love Blue ;). When my daughter was younger, I had to read it over and over again (so it was a good thing that I loved it too!) 🙂


  2. Jama–you take the cake (and you are the icing on the cake too)!!!

    Thank you so much for this amazing post! You always do such a lovely job, and I am so grateful and honored to be a part of it today :)!

    Cheers & hugs & more thanks!!
    ~Maria xo ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So lovely to see Maria here! Congratulations on all the recent and forthcoming books! Houndini looks especially magical. 🙂 So happy to see you’ll be visiting us at PictureBookBuilders too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Woops–that went in the wrong place. Anyhoo, it is magically delicious tea :). It just took some time to steep!

    Thank you again, Jama!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know nothing about children’s books but know for sure that all of Maria’s books are top notch because she is incredibly and naturally talented, and a hard worker too. Isn’t that the perfect combination for success? I am SO proud of her!! Most important, she is a genuinely kind and very thoughtful person, with a BIG heart for people and animals. My advice: add Swiss chocolate to the tea 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Marie-Anne–merci!! What a surprise to see your comment here, my dear friend :)!! Many hugs & hearts ❤ ❤ ❤


    1. I love Thyra’s cover too, as well as the rest of the book art, Carol :)! Thyra’s AMAZING, and I am very lucky!!


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