nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello, super shiny and awesome person! How about a little Allison Strine to propel your week into high gear?

Based in Roswell, Georgia, Allison creates color-filled images with quirky hand lettering for children’s books and products. Her art is inspired by bright minds in history, the miracles of nature, and unusual, educational tidbits of information.

As you can see, she’s all about communicating love and joy with each stroke. In fact, she signs each of her pieces, “Love, Allison Strine.” Love her positivity!

As a big fan of typography and hand lettering, I find Allison’s work irresistible. She’s like Jessie Hartland, Maira Kalman, and Linzie Hunter rolled into one. So fun!

Allison grew up in a 270-year-old farmhouse north of Boston, Massachusetts, and essentially considers herself a Bostonian, even though she’s lived in the Atlanta area for over two decades. She also did graduate studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

For more about Allison, visit her Official Website and Instagram.


2. New Book Alert! Officially released last week (though previously available for book fairs), is The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Lorian Tu (Orchard Books, 2021):

Sing along to this delicious twist on “The Wheels on the Bus” and celebrate the food, laughter, and love of a multigenerational family meal!

The rice in the pot goes round and round,

Round and round, round and round,

The rice in the pot goes round and round

At the table where my family gathers round…

At the table where this family gathers, they share food, laughter, and, most of all, love. Readers of all ages are sure to delight in this joyful, expressive sing-along, slurping noodles, squishing tofu, and tapping chopsticks as they sing along to this familiar tune.

Rhythmic text from The Great Wall of Lucy Wu author and Asian/Pacific American Library Association Award winner Wendy Wan-Long Shang, and vibrant, playful illustrations from artist Lorian Tu bring this heartwarming, mouth-watering story to life. Informative back matter includes a food glossary and etiquette guidelines that are sure to delight and engage young readers.

Yum! Sounds deliciously adorable, no?

Kirkus has given this gem a coveted **starred review**, saying, “This deceptively simple story artfully brings an authentic expression of family love. An utterly charming Asian twist to a familiar tune.”

Congratulations, Wendy and Lorian!


3. How does it feeeeeel? Good news for Bob Dylan fans! As you may know, Dylan turned 80 on May 24, so it’s already been a big year for him. 

But we recently learned that he will now have his own museum. The Bob Dylan Center will officially open on May 10, 2022, in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Arts District.

His once-secret archives, consisting of approximately 100,000 exclusive cultural treasures spanning seven decades (lyrics/ handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, personal documents, artwork, photos, films, unreleased studio recordings, musical instruments, ephemera/memorabilia) will be exhibited, much to the glee not only of diehard fans, but of musicologists and pop culture historians all over the world. 

Alongside these physical artifacts, there’ll be “an immersive film experience” and “a recreation of an authentic studio environment.” 

The three-story center (designed by architectural firm Olson Kundig) was founded by the American Song Archives and its backer, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which along with the University of Tulsa purchased the archives for an estimated $15-20 million in 2016.

The new center will be just down the street from the Woody Guthrie Center, also operated by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Since Guthrie (born in Oklahoma) was an early Dylan hero, he considers it an honor for their archives to be held together.

And there’s more: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami will be hosting an exhibition called “Retrospectrum,” featuring more than 120 paintings, drawings and sculptures by Dylan. The show, which premiered at the Modern Art Museum Shanghai in 2019, runs November 30, 2021 – April 17, 2022. 

Too cool! 

In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you . . . 


4. To mask or not to mask, that is still the question. Although the CDC has pretty much given everyone who’s been vaccinated the green light when it comes to going maskless indoors and out, some are understandably hesitant to do so.

After more than a year of conscientiously wearing a mask, it feels strange to go out in public without one. My face feels so naked.

Author, illustrator, and beautiful chanteuse Iza Trapani knows just how I feel. Enjoy her rendition of, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to My Mask,” a parody from my all-time favorite musical, “My Fair Lady.” 🙂


5. Speaking of masks, everyone here (especially the three resident Dr. Faucis) are thrilled that a new picture book about him will be officially released June 29, 2021! 

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor (S&S, 2021), was written by uber prolific award winning author Kate Messner and illustrated by Alexandra Bye.

Before he was Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci was a curious boy in Brooklyn, delivering prescriptions from his father’s pharmacy on his blue Schwinn bicycle. His father and immigrant grandfather taught Anthony to ask questions, consider all the data, and never give up—and Anthony’s ability to stay curious and to communicate with people would serve him his entire life.

This engaging narrative, which draws from interviews the author did with Dr. Fauci himself, follows Anthony from his Brooklyn beginnings through medical school and his challenging role working with seven US presidents to tackle some of the biggest public health challenges of the past fifty years, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Extensive backmatter rounds out Dr. Fauci’s story with a timeline, recommended reading, a full spread of facts about vaccines and how they work, and Dr. Fauci’s own tips for future scientists.

We’re looking forward to celebrating the book’s release with one of Dr. Fauci’s favorites — pasta with pesto. 🙂 What a difference a year makes — click here to read our tribute to Dr. Fauci, which includes a poem, some tidbits about his personal life and Fauci-inspired art.


6. I know my mentioning pasta with pesto has made you hungry (as if you even needed any prompting). What’s that? You skipped breakfast just so you could read these cool things?

Well, your “sacrifice” will not go unrewarded. Breakfast toast coming right up. But not just any breakfast toast — Tokyo-based artist and designer Manami Sasaki eschews the more pedestrian bread and jam in favor of beautiful, meticulously composed edible art.

Sometimes taking hours to create each design, Sasaki first started using bread as her canvas when the pandemic started last year. With lockdown, she had extra time on her hands, so why not make breakfast truly the most important (and artistic) meal of the day?

Her designs are mostly inspired by geometric patterns and traditional Japanese woodblock prints. She pays homage to the females in these prints by reimagining them as edible masterpieces. She uses edible squid ink for outlining and sketching, then adds edible flowers, fruits and vegetables for the decorative details.

Sasaki tells us more in this video:

In this next video, we can see how designing her breakfast has become a meditative practice. This is how she greeted the new year.

Finally, for those with bigger morning appetites, consider these Toast Shoes. They’re definitely not loafers. 😀

To keep noshing with Sasaki, follow her on Instagram.


7. New poetry picture book alert! Just released May 25, 2021, is Dear Treefrog, written by Newbery Honor winning poet Joyce Sidman with illustrations by Diana Sudyka (HMH, 2021):

When a shy girl moves to a strange new home, she discovers a treefrog perched in a secret spot nearby and learns that sometimes, all it takes to connect with the people and the world around us is a little patience, a curious mind, and a willingness to see the world through a different perspective than your own. With beautiful gouache illustrations by Diana Sudyka and magical, perceptive poems from Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman, the lives of one tree frog and the girl who discovers it converge, bringing solace, courage, and joy in finding a kindred spirit. 

This book has already earned **starred reviews** from Kirkus, Booklist, and The Horn Book, which said, “Sudyka’s watercolors showcase the settings and give life to the metaphors—the changing seasons; the rich jewel tones of the frog’s surroundings; the treefrog clinging to a leaf, or “snug saddle”; and the quiet pleasures of sharing nature…. Altogether lovely.”

Joyce continues to gift us with stunning and evocative poetry books about nature which not only inform but inspire a sense of wonder. Can’t wait to read this one.

Congratulations, Joyce and Diana!


8. Just in case you’re suffering from Downton Abbey and/or British withdrawal, check out The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook (Weldon Owen, 2020).

This elegant cookbook captures the essence of teatime at Downton Abbey with classic recipes for sweets and savories, etiquette notes, tea service knowhow, and lavish imagery to recreate this British tradition.

Afternoon tea is a revered and treasured English tradition—and no one knows better how to prepare and enjoy a proper tea than the residents of Downton Abbey. With this alluring and vibrant cookbook, fans of the PBS series and anglophiles alike can stage every stylish element of this cultural staple of British society at home. Spanning sweet and savory classics—like Battenberg Cake, Bakewell Tart, toffee puddings, cream scones, and tea sandwiches—the recipes capture the quintessential delicacies of the time, and the proper way to serve them.

This charming cookbook also features a detailed narrative history and extols the proper decorum for teatime service, from tea gowns and tearooms to preparing and serving tea. Gorgeous food photographs, lifestyle stills from the television series and recent movie, and character quotes bring the characters of Downton Abbey—and this rich tradition—to life in contemporary times.

There’s more! If you’d also like to get your Mrs. Patmore on, check out Mrs. Patmore’s Recipe Journal (Weldon Owen, 2021), just released at the end of April:

An engaging and interactive Downton Abbey–themed journal that encourages readers to record their own favorite recipes and notes alongside Downton-style quotes and tips.

Following the worldwide success of NBC Carnival’s Downton Abbey series, Mrs. Patmore’s Recipe Journal gives fans and cooks alike the experience of recording their favorite meals in this beautiful themed journal. With dedicated lines for yield, ingredients, and method, plus ample space for additional notes, the journal provides ample opportunity to build a recipe book tailored to individual palate, diet, and cooking style and interests. With fan-favorite quotes from the hit series and classic cooking tips from Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen featured throughout the pages, Mrs. Patmore’s Recipe Journal creates an engaging experience for fans of the show and those looking to create a personalized recipe book.

Both these beauties should tide us over until Downton Abbey 2 arrives in theaters. It will open December 22, 2021, just in time for Christmas. Yes, we all deserve another DA movie!! Something wonderful to look forward to.


9. Cool travel blog alert: Are you familiar with Mango Sticky Rice? It’s written by Derrick from Australia, an artist and travel lover who blogs about the interesting places he’s been and the places he wants to go, recreated with his original art.

From studying buildings and landscapes, diving into fun cultural tidbits, exploring delicious foods, and recounting past adventures, art is a great way to celebrate travel. Whether I’m sitting at a canalside cafe in Amsterdam, lounging in a hammock in Langkawi, or scribbling in my sketchbook at home in Melbourne, I’ve always got travel on my mind.

I learned about Derrick’s blog after stumbling upon one of his food illustrations (no surprise). Those French pastries immediately caught my eye and I wanted more. For example, his post entitled, “French Desserts by Region: The Illustrated Guide to Cakes and Sweets in France” is sheer delight. In addition to a poster depicting all the treats, he describes each with a short paragraph. Yum!

Other blog posts include, “French Dishes By Region: The Illustrated Guide to France’s Diverse Gastronomy,” “Meet the Stroopwafel — The Netherlands’ Most Awesome Sweet Treat,” and “Japan’s Most Interesting and Expensive Fruits.”

Of course I’ve only mentioned the Food posts; I’ve yet to dig into his other categories (Culture, Urban Sketching, Art, and Adventure). Sounds fascinating.

Stop by Mango Sticky Rice whenever you’re in the mood for good writing and lovely art. 🙂


For our blue song this month, we’re cranking up the way back machine for a little Elvis. I remember all the hoopla when he was drafted into the Army. “GI Blues” was his first film after he was discharged. Looking at this old footage, I’m reminded of just how handsome and charismatic he really was. Elvis is still The King.














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18 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. Well, I always love your Tuesday roundups, Jama, but just have to give a round of applause to Iza. She sings beautifully! And yes, this transition to mask-free outings feels strange–but wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, I could spend all day with this post, Jama! So many wonderful things to look at, listen to, and read 🙂
    We live in a county where almost everyone wears masks inside still, but we went away for the weekend and I was uncomfortable being inside (stores, restaurants, gas stations) with people who are unmasked. It feels disrespectful. Guess that will change over time!

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  3. Well, I’ve spent a few visits sans mask, Jama & Iza, & it was such a strange feeling. Iza’s song brings a smile & it’s wonderfully creative, like her books! Oh my, Elvis just had no privacy, did he? Fans everywhere! And I’m sure fans will flock to Bob Dylan’s new museum and next to Guthie’s! Wow! I remember how controversial Elvis was for the ‘grown-ups’! All the rest you’ve shared is wonderful, too, Jama. I found your ‘Round and Round’ book at my library! And I love those first graphics. My husband’s and my first dog together was a dalmatian, the sweetest dog ever! Thanks for your special Tuesdays!

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    1. Dalmations are Len’s favorite dog. He’s never had one, but if he did, he’d name it Spot or Sparky. So original. 😀 Glad you enjoyed all of the goodies today, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting. Appreciate your “WOW”. 🙂 I can’t imagine making edible toast art for breakfast though. If it takes hours, you’d starve to death before finishing.

      Liked by 1 person

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