9 cool things on a tuesday (+ penny and jelly giveaway winner!)

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1. A monocle, a top hat, a mustache? Definitely the cat’s meow! Am loving Vickie Liu’s adorable donuts and cookies. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Vickie calls herself an amateur baker and professional eater. She started baking in high school and studied architecture and interior design in college.

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It was only after getting her degree that she was finally able to devote more time to indulging her passion for decorating sweets. She’s developed quite a following on Instagram and her future plans include launching a lifestyle blog and running a home bakery. Her creations fall into the category of “too cute to eat,” but I think I could be convinced. Yum.

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2. Heads up, unpublished children’s book authors of color: check out the Roll of Thunder Publishing Contest sponsored by Penguin Random House in partnership with We Need Diverse Books.™

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“In 1974, the Council on Interracial Books sponsored a writing contest seeking out diverse voices. Mildred D. Taylor was the winner of the African-American segment for the manuscript that became Song of the Trees (Dial, 1975), her first book. It introduced the Logan family and was followed by Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), which won the Newbery Medal.

Forty years later, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books™, Penguin Young Readers celebrates this momentous publication by launching a debut children’s fiction contest to find talented, ethnically diverse authors writing for readers ages 8-14.

Submit your manuscript for a book about diversity for ages 8-14 and you could receive a publishing contract from Penguin Random House LLC!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:01:01 AM Eastern Time on April 26, 2016 and 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time on June 21, 2016. Open to people of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and possessions, aged 18 and older.

PRIZE: The confirmed winner will receive a book publishing contract for the publication of a novel for ages 8-14 by Penguin Random House LLC, with an advance of $35,000, plus royalties as follows: (i) on hardcover, 10% up to 50,000 copies and 12.5% thereafter; (ii) on paperback, 6% up to 50,000 copies and 7% thereafter; (iii) on audio, 8% of net; (iv) ebook, 25% of net; (v) world rights/all subrights at a 50/50 split; and (vi) an option on their next children’s or YA novel.

Judging will begin on or about June 28, 2016, and one winner will be chosen from the final group of ten (10) submissions narrowed down from all entries received. Entries will be judged based on (i) overall storytelling; (ii) creativity; (iii) originality; and (iv) writing ability, with equal weight given to each criterion.”

Click here for more info!

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3. New book alert: Exciting news for Jeannine Atkins fans!! Her new historical verse novel, Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (Atheneum, 2016) , will be officially released on September 20, 2016 and is now available for pre-order.

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A gorgeously written novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

 Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.

More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.

Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.

Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us.

I’m a huge Jeannine fan in general and loved Borrowed Names to pieces, so I’m really excited to read Finding Wonders. Her books are meticulously researched and she is brilliant at excavating and fashioning telling detail to masterful effect, giving the reader an intimate, uniquely nuanced view of her subject(s). She has such a beautiful way of crafting words, whether poetry or prose. Don’t miss this one!

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friday feast: “For the Chocolate Tasters” by Diane Lockward (+ a recipe!)

“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” ~ Michael Levine

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Small Batch House Truffles via Chocolate Chocolate DC.

 

Please don’t wake me. I’m in the midst of a chocolate truffle dream. I’m surrounded by beautiful bonbons and it’s my job to taste them. One by one, I wrap my lips around the scrumptious hand-shaped orbs, savoring each note of exquisite flavor as they slowly melt on my tongue.

Deep Milk Pleasure with its creamy milk chocolate buttery center takes me back to the after school treats of my childhood. With the rich white chocolate of Coconut Rum Paradise I’ve washed up on the shores of Hawai’i, while the Original Dark, with its chocolate liquor and handsome dusting of Scharffen Berger cocoa, speaks of men in tuxedos waltzing in dimly lit ballrooms.🙂

With an Irish last name, I’m entitled to an Irish Cream Dream. I breathe in the heady aroma of Bailey’s Irish Cream before gently sinking my teeth into the rich Valrhona chocolate shell, my taste buds tickled by those sprinkles of coffee-infused El Ceibo. It’s like meeting Aidan Turner at the corner pub. Pure ecstasy!

Since I am serious about my chocolate, I save the best for last: Uber Dark and Decadent. Dangerous and devilish, this one is capable of bringing even veteran tasters to their knees. This is how it is with 70% cacao and sassy cinnamon– one small taste and you’re hooked. Come over to the deepest darkest dark of the dark side.🙂

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hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Minh Lê

I am the author of Let Me Finish!, a debut picture book illustrated by Isabel Roxas (Disney-Hyperion). As a member of the Niblings, I write about children’s literature at Bottom Shelf Books and have written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times and the Huffington Post. Outside of spending time with my beautiful wife and sons, my favorite place to be is in the middle of a good book.

 

☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: This drink doesn’t have an official name, but in our house we call it Magic Ginger Tea. My family (especially my grandmother in Vietnam) swears by the awesome power of ginger, so whenever anyone is sick we make a big mug with a freshly squeezed lemon, a dollop of honey, and a ton of ginger. Guaranteed to make you feel better in no time.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESS: Let Me Finish! (illustrated by the fabulous Isabel Roxas and published by Disney-Hyperion) is out this month (June 7th)!

When our young hero settles in to read, the last thing he wants is for some noisy animals to ruin the ending of the story.

But ruin it they do.

And as it turns out, the boy is quickly approaching a surprise ending of his own! Maybe he should have listened to the animals after all. . . .

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Not sure I can pick a favorite book about food, but from an early age Where the Wild Things Are definitely showed me the magic of a bowl of hot soup.

☕ Visit Minh Lê’s Official Website. You can also find him at his blog Bottom Shelf Books, at The Niblings Facebook Page, and on Twitter: @bottomshelfbks.

☕ HOTTEA IN THE FLESH: I’ll be at ALA in June and then NerdCamp in July so if you happen to be at either event, please come find me!

☕ ☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out this Kidlit411 Author Spotlight where Minh discusses the inspiration for Let Me Finish! and offers advice for beginning picture book writers.

☕☕☕  CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Enjoy these spreads from Let Me Finish! (Art copyright © 2016 Isabel Roxas):

☕☕☕☕ STILL CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Minh is the special guest on Book Riot’s Dear Book Nerd podcast with Rita Meade!

 

 


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

wang fine art: moments of beauty and simplicity

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For your viewing pleasure today, the still life paintings of California artist Youqing (Eugene) Wang.

Originally from China, Mr. Wang studied and taught fine art and graphic design there before moving to the United States in 2001. After earning his second MFA in studio art from Florida State University, he began painting and selling his work full time.

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He works primarily in oil, and most of these pieces were created as part of a daily painting practice begun in 2008. These small format paintings are less than 11×14 inches.

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In my painting, I am mainly concerned with capturing the light, order and beauty of simplicity of common objects, as well as their cultural significance. My work reflects an imagination that “feels” the joyfulness of still life or landscape from inside out. Subjects I paint come from my own personal experiences and observations. I hope to transform the simplicity of common objects into paintings which are emotionally rich and expressive.

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His work does indeed heighten one’s appreciation for objects we often take for granted, and sometimes cease to really “see.” But truly, that’s what a good artist does, right? Makes you stop and look with new eyes and marvel.

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3 poems from Judith Viorst’s What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?

I’ll always remember the day I found Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in the public library.

“Read me,” demanded a well worn copy left behind on one of the round wooden tables in the children’s room. I picked it up, read it all the way through, then sat down in a tiny chair to read it again.

I became a Viorst fan that day as I eagerly made my way through the other Alexander books. I found myself coveting train pajamas and contemplating a move to Australia. Totally nailing the child voice, Viorst (who made me very glad I didn’t have gum stuck in my hair) had a way of telling it true and assuaging frustration and calamity with just the right dose of humor. Months later, when the family across the street lost their cat, I gave them a copy of The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. Judith to the rescue again.

Her latest poetry collection, What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? (Atheneum, 2016) is subtitled, “Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.” Feeling a little lonely in your own skin? Or silly enough to eat a lamp for lunch? Maybe you’re fiercely jealous of too sweet, too kind, nauseatingly polite Anna May — why not bite or bop her?🙂 What do you do when your best friend doesn’t want to be your best friend any more, or your mom is just too bossy, or your head is spinning from all those reading and writing rules?

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