nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Don’t forget to vote in today’s critical midterm elections!

This cool poster was created by Missouri artist Mary Engelbreit and is available as a free download from her official website. The image fits on an 11″ x 17″ size sheet.


2. Some of you may know that my mother served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. She was one of the first 59 women from Hawai’i to enlist (she wrote about her experiences in this short chronology).

Just so happens Maryland author Ann McCallum read my post about Margaret not too long ago and asked to include her in a new book she was writing about women in the U.S. Army. This past summer, I shared more information and photos via email with Ann, who wrote a chapter about Margaret.

Ann recently shared the final cover of the book on social media — what a surprise to see Margaret’s photo right on the front! I know my mother would be thrilled and amazed. Women Heroes of the U.S. Army will be published in July 2019 — can’t wait to see it! Pretty cool, no? 🙂


3. Speaking of notable women, check out this cool print by Massachusetts illustrator Karen Hallion. Her first “She Series” collage features these 9 kickass role models:

Wonder Woman
Rey from Star Wars
Princess Leia
Anne of Green Gables
Angelica Schulyer from the musical Hamilton
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Okoye from Black Panther

You can purchase this 11″ x 14″ open edition print at Karen’s Etsy Shop — a great place to browse, especially if you’re a Star Wars, Harry Potter, Buffy or steampunk fan. Each of these female heroes is also available separately as small 8″ x 10″ signed Lustre prints.


4. Since it’s Election Day, must include this new title which releases on November 13: Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Kirsten Gillibrand and Maira Kalman (Knopf, 2018):

From United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand comes an inspiring picture book about ten suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was inspired by her own great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother to be bold and brave–to stand up and fight for what she believes in. But who inspired them? The long chain of women before them who spoke out for what’s right–women who taught each generation that followed how to be bold and brave.

Here are the stories of ten leaders who strove to win the right to vote for American women–a journey that took more than seventy years of passionate commitment. From well-known figures, such as Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth to lesser known women such as Alice Paul and Mary Church Terrell, these are heroes who dreamed big and never gave up. Senator Gillibrand highlights an important and pithy lesson from each woman’s life–from “dare to be different” to “fight together.”

On the eve of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women suffrage, Bold & Brave looks both backward and forward. It introduces children to strong women who have raised their voices on behalf of justice–and inspires them to raise their own voices to build our future.

With gorgeous illustrations by renowned artist Maira Kalman, this is a book that will inspire and uplift, a book to be cherished and shared.

The suffragists included are: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Jovita Idár, Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Burns, and Mary Church Terrell.


Kirkus calls it “a stroke of genius.” Really looking forward to holding this one in my hands. It’s Senator Gillibrand’s first children’s book, and well — you know how I feel about MAIRA!!

See more interior art from this book at The New Yorker.


5. Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I suggest you check out Kelly Ramsdell’s site for the art-loving people on your gift list.

Kelly is an author and poet in addition to being an artist, and her visual art includes acrylic, mixed media, and collage works on canvas, paper, wood, and tambourines. Predominant themes include FREEDOM and FINDING PEACE in daily life.

She has a decided knack for gorgeous color combinations and interesting compositions, often including inspiring quotes/words of wisdom in her pieces. She sells originals as well as a selection of greeting cards.

Escape the madness and add a little beauty to your life. Browse Kelly’s lovely site here.


6. Hungry? I thought so. Have no fear, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Celebration Story (Hachette, 2018) will be available here in the U.S. November 27, 2018!

Celebrate special occasions all year round with sparkling stories and irresistible recipes by Nadiya, Britain’s favourite baker.

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Holi or Chinese New Year, there are so many special moments to be enjoyed as a family throughout the year. And what better way to celebrate than to share stories, enjoy crafts and make delicious food with Nadiya, Britain’s favourite baker?

Bake some Pumpkin Rattle Biscuits for Halloween, then read the story of a little girl and her pumpkin patch, make an sock bunny while your Easter Egg Rocky Road sets, or read about Friendship Day while your tear-and-share Monkey Bread is in the oven.

A unique combination of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes, stories and activities devised and written by Nadiya herself, Bake Me a Celebration Story combines playful photography of Nadiya and her children with vibrant illustrations by Clair Rossiter.

Let’s celebrate and have some fun!

You may remember I featured Nadiya’s first two storybook-cookbooks here at Alphabet Soup: Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story (Hachette, 2016) and Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story (Hachette, 2017). I made Very Berry Breakfast Muffins from the first book, and Peach and Cherry Upside Down Cake with Vanilla Custard from the second book.

These books are beautifully designed and include fun photos of Nadiya and her three children with Claire Rossiter’s whimsical illustrations. Even if you never make any of the recipes, the stories themselves are wonderful to read and share — each page turn is a delicious delight. These make perfect gift books.

Don’t know how Nadiya does it — she’s published not only these three children’s cookbooks, but also adult cookbooks and novels, in addition to doing three TV series. Superwoman for sure!


7. Now for some comic relief. Try this: A Rubber Chicken Handbag! Bawk Bawk!

You know it’s eggsactly what you’ve always clucked for.

This will definitely make beaks drop when you’re out and about. There’s nothing like a little chicken love to help you make new friends. And this beauty is waterproof! 😀

What’s that? You’d be even happier with a little something extra? Okay, throw in a Rubber Chicken Coin Purse!

(I know, I know. All this excitement is making you weak.)

Don’t run afowl. Go ahead and count your chickens before they’re hatched. These tony accessories are definitely worth crowing about. 😀


8. No, I did not forget about all you uber-cool poetry freaks. Behold this masterwork: Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan, edited by Thom Tommaro and Alan Davis (New Rivers Press, 2018).

Just released November 1, this one’s at the top of my Wish List.

Poetry. Music. 100 poems by 100 poets inspired by the life and works of Bob Dylan. Contributors include Robert Bly, Charles Bukowski, Johnny Cash, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Tony Hoagland, Yusef Komunyalaa, Dorian Laux, Paul Muldoon, Linda Pastan, Patti Smith, and Charles Wright.

“The poets included in this collection want no explanations from Dylan; they are busy, if anything, using him to explain themselves. These are the people who could hold entire conversations using only Dylan quotes and a few conjunctions. Some of them are people who first realized that the words count when they first listened to Dylan. That the way it’s said is as important as what is said. They get it, and reading them makes me feel that I am in very congenial company.”– Chris Smither, from the Foreword

“If Bob Dylan has so many sides as to be a house of mirrors, then here are a hundred poets caught in the glass. Some worshipful, others still obsessed, or nostalgic, imitative, even rapacious, but all gathered together around a singer who shuffled words and music together to form a whole new deck. Imagine, one poet within a circle of a hundred poets!”– Billy Collins

“In a pop culture of rapid, vertiginous change, when audiences are more fickle and ephemeral than any in history, Bob Dylan yet retains his stature and something of his original mystery.”–Joyce Carol Oates

Sounds absolutely intriguing, doesn’t it? And how often do you see the word “vertiginous” used in a blurb?

Bob’s the man, my friends.


9. Finally, a little something to get you into the holiday spirit: Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: A Book to Table Classic (Puffin, 2018).

A deluxe, full-color hardback edition of the perennial Christmas classic featuring a selection of recipes for your holiday table from Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Trisha Yearwood!

Have your book and eat it, too, with this clever edition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol featuring delicious recipes from celebrity chefs. Plan your perfect Christmas feast with a carefully curated menu of holiday dishes, from succulent baked ham to smashed root vegetables. And top it all off with fruitcake cookies and pecan pie. Celebrate the holiday with a good meal and a good book!

Book includes full, unabridged text of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, interspersed with recipes, food photography, and special food artwork.

Ooh-la-la — nice gift book, yes? There’s also one for Jane Austen fans — a Book to Table Classic Pride and Prejudice with recipes by Martha Stewart! Want.



And now, for our blue song. I thought “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells would be a good tune for Election Day. “Love is the answer” and “On every green field/And every town/All of his children/In every nation/There’ll be peace and good and brotherhood” are worthwhile points of focus as we vote for leaders and officials who are capable of working for the welfare of all and not just a rich, entitled few.










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** Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. So much great stuff here that I don’t know where to start. I LOVE that Englebreit poster, and I LOVE that your mom is on the cover of McCallum’s book! Love Hallion’s print (and so will my daughters) and the Gillibrand/Kalman book. Well, clearly, I love everything here. And the rubber chicken bag made me laugh out loud. 🙂 My husband (who teaches high school English) has occasionally given graduating seniors a rubber chicken as a gift. He has an uncanny knack for knowing which kids will find that hilarious. 🙂

    My whole family voted early — Mary Englebreit is right, the Constitution is not going to uphold itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVE that Atticus gives some of his students rubber chickens!! Now I wish I could be in his class. I’m really looking forward to the Gillibrand/Kalman book, and my whole family is excited about Margaret being included in Ann’s book next year. 🙂


    1. We are lucky she left that chronology behind — as well as other papers and photos (she was always great at filing stuff). She said many times joining the army was one of the best experiences she ever had in her life.


  2. I think as I read that you’ve started my Christmas shopping, Jama. It is simply wonderful to hear about your mother’s story in that book and on the cover, too! I will get Gillibrand’s book for the granddaughters (Maira Kalman-wow!), will look at the art from Kelly Ramsdell, and get that book of poetry connected to Dylan for me! A colleague and I held a rubber chicken dress-up contest one year with our students, such a hilarious time! The handbag & coin purse brings back fun memories. Thanks for the song, hoping today will bring beautiful blue back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How fun to have a rubber chicken dress-up contest, Linda! Did the prize winner get a dozen eggs? 😀 One of the “perils” of Christmas shopping is that I keep finding stuff “I” want — so it gets doubly expensive . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my goodness! You lovely person!! I am in tears (will be an on and off thing all day due to the election), so thank you so much!!

    And I need that book about suffragists. I recognized Inez Milholland straight away. Did you know that her widower married Edna St. Vincent Millay? And that Millay wrote a poem about Inez? I’d love to see a factionalized account of all that somehow. (And wasn’t there speculation that Millay was pushed down the stairs by her husband?) BUT I DIGRESS.

    Thank you again, dear Jama!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didn’t know any of that stuff about Inez and Millay, Kelly. Very interesting. And I hadn’t heard about Millay being pushed down the stairs by her husband. Wow!

      I love seeing all your new creations. Thanks for all the beauty you’re putting out into the world. We need the affirmation and inspiration artists afford more than ever these days!!


    1. She would be so pleased, Tabatha. Though several of her brothers served in the military, she was the only one of five girls in the family to enlist.


    1. Sending warm blue thoughts right back to you, Buffy. Hoping hoping hoping for good results tonight.

      So wonderful of Ann to include Margaret in her book along with all the other heroes she profiled. Can’t wait to see it!


  4. This is all good but I wanted to make a special point of acknowledging the honor to your mother–so glad her story will be ever more widely told!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jama, Liked your election post! Very uplifting and positive. Gives hope to me (and I’m sure your other readers) about our institutions and emphasizes the importance of voting and getting involved. 💕 Alison

    Sent from my iPhone


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