9 cool things on a tuesday

abc bear pillow (made of natural organic hemp with embroidered alphabet and felt pocket) by Pi’lo

1. This could be the pillow of my dreams — the alphabet + a pocket with a teddy bear! Shall we pause for a moment of deep appreciation?  *sigh*  Toronto-based Heather Shaw is the artisan behind the P i’ l o collection of home goods, which includes tea towels, bags, mobiles, toys, notebooks, sachets, printed tapes, shawls, stationery and wall art. Everything is carefully made by hand with natural materials (cotton, linen, hemp, rocks) in a coach house studio with the hope that these items will be passed down as family heirlooms.

Typewriter Case
Printed Tape

Both her home and work space are serene and soothing environments filled with inspiration. Heather creates objects of beautiful simplicity — just looking at her collection makes me feel calm, cleansed and relaxed.

Recipe Card Case

Find out more at the Pi’lo website. You can purchase there or at Heather’s Etsy Shop.


2. New book alert! Coretta Scott King Honor author Tanita S. Davis has just published a young adult novel called Peas and Carrots (Knopf, 2016)! Ooh-la-la — is that the best title ever, or what? This story is about 15-year-old Dess and how she adjusts to her new foster family. Check it:


Dess knows that nothing good lasts. Disappointment is never far away, and that’s a truth that Dess has learned to live with.

Dess’s mother’s most recent arrest is just the latest in a long line of disappointments, but this one lands her with her baby brother’s foster family. Dess doesn’t exactly fit in with the Carters. They’re so happy, so comfortable, so normal, and Hope, their teenage daughter, is so hopelessly naïve. Dess and Hope couldn’t be more unlike each other, but Austin loves them both like sisters. Over time their differences, insurmountable at first, fall away to reveal two girls who want the same thing: to belong.

Tanita herself was a foster sister from the age of nine until she graduated from college. I’ve been a fan of her writing since first reading A la Carte (Knopf, 2008) — yes, a foodie book with recipes! — and then, of course, thoroughly enjoyed the award winning Mare’s War (Knopf, 2009), as well as Happy Families (Knopf, 2012)the first YA novel I ever read featuring a transgender character. She is brilliant at exploring family dynamics and personal identity, making the reader question long-held stereotypes and assumptions about race, gender, and body image. I just started reading Peas and Carrots, which is told from Dess’s and Hope’s points of view in alternating chapters, and I love how both voices ring true with raw emotional honesty. The book has already garnered very favorable reviews from School Library Journal, PW, and Kirkus. Check out Tanita’s guest posts at Stacked Books and John Scalzi’s Big Idea, her Five Questions interview at The Horn Book, and her YA Open Mic contribution at Barnes & Noble.


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hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Dan Yaccarino

Dan Yaccarino is an internationally acclaimed artist, author, and producer who has created over 50 children’s books as well as his own animated television series. He has garnered many prestigious awards as well as an invitation to the White House to read his books.


CUPPA OF CHOICE: I usually drink a cup of Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. I quit coffee about 2 years ago. I promise not to prosthelytize about the evils of caffeine.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Five Little Bunnies, written by Tish Rabe (HarperFestival, January 2016) Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza: Delivery of Doom (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, 2014); Doug Unplugged (Knopf, 2013).  Forthcoming: Class Pet Squad: Journey to the Center of Town (Feiwel & Friends, June 2016) three board books in the Happyland Series: Birthday Cake, Big Berry, Rainy Day (Workman, August 2016); I Am A Story (HarperCollins, October 2016).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett (Atheneum, 1982). I always loved reading that book to my kids. I’m kind of a foodie, but not the fancy type. I travel a lot and wherever I go, I try to seek out the hole in the wall place that only the locals go to have that one particular item that is unique to that area.

☕ Visit Dan Yaccarino’s Official Website and YouTube Channel

☕ ☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Book trailers for Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza: Delivery of Doom + Doug Unplugged



☕ ☕ ☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: More about Dan’s books!


☕ ☕ ☕ ☕ STILL THIRSTY!!: Check out Mr. Cornelius’s favorite episode from Dan’s Emmy-winning animated series, Willa’s Wild Life, “Unbearable Bear”!



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

hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Ethan Long

Ethan Long is an internationally recognized children’s book author with over 70 titles to his credit, including the Geisel Award-winning Up, Tall and High, Chamelia and the New Kid in Class, and Tickle the Duck! He is also the creator of Tasty Time with Zefronk, which currently airs worldwide on the Disney Channel. Ethan lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife and three children.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Tea is good. Coffee is ok if you put cream and sugar in it. But hot chocolate made from scratch…mmm. One heaping tablespoon of Hershey’s Cacao Special Dark and one and a half tablespoons of sugar, and of course, hot, hot water or milk.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Fright Club (Bloomsbury, August 2015), Ms. Spell (Holiday House, July 2015); In, Over and On the Farm (Putnam’s, August 2015), and Good Night! (Abrams Appleseed, September 2015). Forthcoming: Thank You! (Abrams Appleseed, January 2016)Lion & Tiger & Bear: Tag! You’re It! (Abrams, March 2016). 


☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (Prentice Hall, 1975).

☕ Visit Ethan Long’s Official Website

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Book Trailers for In, Over and On the Farm + Ms. Spell!



☕ ☕ ☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Watch an episode of Tasty Time with ZeFronk — Ze Pancakes!



Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hand-stitched delights by maricor/maricar

#47 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

(click to see more from the “Delicious” project at Maricor/Maricar)

I fairly swooned when I first saw the amazing hand embroidered typography created by twin sisters Maricor and Maricar Manalo. Based in Sydney, Australia, they’re designers, illustrators and animators by trade and refer to themselves as “Makers of Things assorted.”

logoSelf-taught in needlework, they seem to be creativity personified — I love their colors, patterns, lines, textures, and refreshing sense of fun and whimsy. The gorgeous piece pictured above is part of a project they completed for the Hong Kong Airport, where they were asked to embroider the word “Delicious” in six different languages, all spelled out using food from the different regions — pizza, sushi, pretzels, prawns, grapes, onions, limes, hotdogs — too cool!

abcs embroider




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