another surprise book giveaway!

Never a dull moment around here.

Right after I announced last week’s NPM surprise book giveaway (There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Moth by B.J. Lee and David Opie), we were inundated with HARD STARES.

Ahem, ahem.

Firmly but ever so politely, the resident Paddingtons declared:

WE WILL NOT BE OUTDONE.

If Mr Cornelius and Blue Bear were doing a giveaway, so would they.

And so, 70-something Paddingtons are giving away a brand new copy of Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air  by Margarita Engle, our current Young People’s Poet Laureate:

In this powerful companion to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle recounts her teenage years during the turbulent 1960s.

Margarita Engle’s childhood straddled two worlds: the lush, welcoming island of Cuba and the lonely, dream-soaked reality of Los Angeles. But the revolution has transformed Cuba into a mystery of impossibility, no longer reachable in real life. Margarita longs to travel the world, yet before she can become independent, she’ll have to start high school.

Then the shock waves of war reach America, rippling Margarita’s plans in their wake. Cast into uncertainty, she must grapple with the philosophies of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. Despite overwhelming circumstances, she finds solace and empowerment through her education. Amid the challenges of adolescence and a world steeped in conflict, Margarita finds hope beyond the struggle, and love in the most unexpected of places.

Just released in February 2019, Soaring Earth has received **starred reviews** from Horn Book, School Library Journal and Shelf Awareness. Margarita is a master of the verse memoir and this is a beautifully crafted, powerful book!

For a chance to win, please leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) Wednesday, April 24, 2019. You may also enter by sending an email with MARGARITA in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!!


Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

[review + giveaway] The Night The Forest Came to Town by Charles Ghigna and Annie Wilkinson

 

Harken to the wonder, let the magic begin.

Sometimes Mother Nature weaves her wizardry in mysterious ways. It’s amazing what can happen overnight.

In The Night the Forest Came to Town, Charles Ghigna and Annie Wilkinson invite us to see for ourselves, as nature reclaims, renews and restores.

It was silent in the city
when the cracks began to form
in the evening late one summer
when the concrete was still warm.

While it’s business as usual for the adults (who are distracted and buried in their cell phones) the kids definitely know something is up. From “distant hills outside of town,” a wondrous wind blows in “a sudden rush of green,” a swirl of energy that spreads seeds everywhere.

At the same time, animals slowly emerge from deep in the forest. Squirrels, rabbits, owls, chipmunks and beavers roam together under a moonlit sky, instinctually drawn to what is happening in town.

Under cover of darkness, flocks of birds disseminate seeds for rooftop gardens, and with the welcome nourishment of steady rain, green saplings take root along the streets, shoots of grass border the sidewalks, and a vacant parking lot becomes fertile ground for seedlings.

The animals are busy too. A beaver builds a dam in the city square fountain, turning it into a pond for tadpoles and fish. At daybreak, early risers watch as an eagle builds a nest atop a park statue. They soon hear the first cry of a hungry baby bird. Miraculous!

With the full morning sun, “the sky turned azure blue,/and everywhere the children played the city grew . . . and grew.” The once dull gray city of concrete and steel has now been transformed into a bright, colorful haven of plants, trees, flowers, window boxes, and pure joy.

Continue reading

2019 ALA Youth Media Awards Winners!

 

Exciting morning watching the ALA Youth Media Awards live webcast from Seattle! It’s fun to root for your favorite children’s and YA books published in 2018, and there are usually a couple of surprises to keep things interesting.

First off, there were several welcome additions to the annual announcements. For years, I wondered why the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Literature Awards were not included. We’d hear about the Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpré winners, but not about the Asian Pacific American winners.

Well, from now on, not only will the APALA Literature Award winners be highlighted, but also awards from the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). All in an effort “to bring awareness about and encourage the creation of more books that depict diverse cultures, or by authors of color.” About time, I say. Hooray!

Continue reading

a good gobble

“If you think about a Thanksgiving dinner, it’s really like making a large chicken.” ~ Ina Garten

Art by Mary Engelbreit

 

Just wanted to pop in briefly to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’ll be away from the blog until next week, since I’ll be busy turkey plucking, cranberry gathering, green bean snapping, potato mashing, and pie baking eating devouring.

(Okay, fine. So I’m getting a little help from Whole Foods this year . . .)

Still, I must be in full concentration mode as I dig out the big platters and serving dishes, wash plates, goblets and silverware that don’t often see the light of day, and — my favorite part — set the table. 🙂

 

Art by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

 

Here are some things I am especially thankful for this year:

1. My father turned 104 years old on November 17. He has been in a slow decline since contracting pneumonia recently, and is not on his computer anymore. It’s been touch and go; we weren’t sure he’d make it till his birthday, but he did. This is something he wanted to do, so he did it. We remain in awe of his resiliency, and are thankful for each day he chooses to remain with us in this world.

2. There are no words to describe the devastation and heartbreak of the California wild fires. We are so grateful for the courage and strength of the firefighters, first responders, rescue workers, and forensic teams who continue to labor above and beyond. In the painful aftermaths of this and other recent tragedies (Pittsburgh, Thousand Oaks, Puerto Rico, Parkland), unsung heroes have given us hope by proving that human beings are capable of infinite goodness.

3. I am relieved and thankful that as a result of the midterm elections, a check on the executive branch has been restored. Faced with an egregious lack of leadership in this country, we have seen that our votes and our voices do matter and can make a difference.

4. Though it’s been a tough 2 years with our democracy being challenged at every turn, I am actually grateful for the enormous wake-up call. Since we have a President who has succeeded at bringing out the worst in this country (instances of hate, racism, bigotry, violence, xenophobia, corporate corruption, incivility, moral bankruptcy), we’ve all been forced to re-evaluate what it means to be good citizens, and to take action when and where we can. I do think for too long we took for granted what we “thought” we had all along. As flawed human beings, too often we value something more when faced with losing it (e.g., free speech).

5. Artists, musicians, writers, and creatives of all kinds: thankful for how their work sustains and inspires me each and every day. Much is being destroyed in this world. I stand wholeheartedly with those who devote their lives to making, building, birthing, uplifting.

6. YOU.

What are you especially thankful for this year?

 

*

 

 🍗 HAPPY GOBBLING! 🍗

 

“What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from.” ~ Daniel Humm

“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” ~ Erma Bombeck


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

marc chagall’s blue world

“Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.” ~ Marc Chagall

“Lovers in Blue” (1914)

 

I’m a longtime Marc Chagall fan, and during this, my THINK BLUE year, I’m finding his work especially nourishing.

Who can resist his beautiful paintings– poetic inner dreamscapes replete with joy and childlike imagination? We are reminded that truth of vision is neither linear nor precise, but often abstract. He asks us to feel what he feels.

 

“Le Paysage Bleu” (1949)

 

French art critic Raymond Cogniat said this about Chagall’s work:

The most obviously constant element is his gift for happiness and his instinctive compassion, which even in the most serious subjects prevents him from dramatization . . .  Musicians have been a constant during all stages of his work. After he first got married, ‘lovers have sought each other, embraced, caressed, floated through the air, met in wreaths of flowers, stretched, and swooped like the melodious passage of their vivid day-dreams. Acrobats contort themselves with the grace of exotic flowers on the end of their stems; flowers and foliage abound everywhere.

Sigh. And he said this about Chagall’s use of color, which is what initially attracts the viewer and captures his attention:

The colors are a living, integral part of the picture and are never passively flat, or banal like an afterthought. They sculpt and animate the volume of the shapes. . . they indulge in flights of fancy and invention which add new perspectives and graduated, blended tones . . . His colors do not even attempt to imitate nature but rather to suggest movements, planes and rhythms.

Chagall was able to convey striking images using only two or three colors. Look what he was able to do with BLUE!

Sometimes up is down, and down is up. Chagall painted his heart on the canvas. He once said:

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love . . . If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

These days there seems to be a shortage of love in this country. A good antidote is to immerse oneself in Chagall’s work — the stunning, swirling blues of moonlight, romance, memory, compassion, holiness, fantasy, truth. A blue face, a blue angel, a blue village, all help to heal a broken world.

 

“Lovers in the Sky” (1928-30)

 

from Fables of La Fontaine (1997)

 

“Le Violoniste Bleu” (1947)

 

“Two Pigeons” (1925)

 

“Enfant avec une Colombe” (1977)

 

“Artist and His Model” (1973)

 

“Notre Dame et La Tour Eiffel” (1960)

 

“The Wedding” (1980)

 

“The Blue House” (1917)

 

“Window Over a Garden” (1917)

 

“Ebony Horse/Arabian Nights” (1948)

 

“The Painter” (1978)

 

“Le Rêve de Chagall sur Vitebsk” (1950-53)

 

“Acrobat with Bouquet” (1963)

 

“Lovers Among Lilacs” (1930)

 

“Self Portrait” (1959-1968)

 

“Monotypes en couleur” (1963)

 

“Le Champ de Mars” (1954-55)

 

“The Juggler of Paris” (1969)

 

“Le Cirque, Paris” (1967)

 

“Le Cirque, Paris” (1967)

 

“The Lovers” (1929)

 

“Lovers in Moonlight” (1938)

 

“Animal dans les fleurs” (1952-59)

 

“Blue Village” (1975)

 

“Around Her” (1945)

 

“Blue Face” (1967)

 

“Blue Angel” (1937)

 

“The Blue Studio” (1973)

 

“Les Amoureux en Bleu” (1930)

 

“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her.” ~ Marc Chagall

*

 

HAPPY TUESDAY

HOPE YOU SOAR

THINK BLUE

🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣


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