hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Jeremy Tankard

South African born, American and Canadian raised, Jeremy Tankard is the authorstrator™ of the best-selling GRUMPY BIRD books. He is also the illustrator of IT’S A TIGER! by David Larochelle; PIGGY BUNNY by Rachel Vail; HERE COMES DESTRUCTOSAURUS! by Aaron Reynolds; and MELVIS AND ELVIS by Dennis Lee. A reluctant reader for the first half of his life, he is sometimes surprised to find himself authoring books for a living. (Pictured here with his favorite mug — octopus design by A. Williams.)


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Chamomile tea. It’s classic. It’s healthy. It’s tasty. It’s my favourite drink while unwinding in the evening.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Grumpy Bird (Scholastic board book edition, March 2016), Melvis and Elvis written by Dennis Lee (HarperCollins, 2015), and Here Comes Destructosaurus written by Aaron Reynolds (Chronicle Books, 2014). Forthcoming: Hungry Bird (Scholastic Press, September 2016).




☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: I can’t think of any particularly food themed books off the top of my head. But in MY BOOK ABOUT ME [a fill-in-the-blanks baby book by me at age 4 with some help from my “friends” Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie], I list my favourite food as Pronutro, a South African cereal of sorts. It also says I like ice cream and apples and cherries. And then it says, “And please don’t give me any vegetables. I can’t stand it.” This book also claims that “I eat like a boy.” Of course this book also claims my nose looks like this… which is a blatant lie as you can see from that photo of me, so I’m not sure if this food information can be trusted. I love apple pie.


☕ HOTTEA IN THE FLESH: I will be launching HUNGRY BIRD at the upcoming Telling Tales Festival in Rockton, Ontario, on September 18, 2016.

☕ Visit Jeremy Tankard’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Sophia Yang reads Grumpy Bird!


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Mr. Cornelius’s favorite illo from Boo Hoo Bird. Cookies!


☕☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: Betsy Bird reads Jeremy’s classic Me Hungry! Remember this one? 🙂


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

hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: April Chu

April Chu began her career as an architect with a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, but decided to return to her true passion of illustrating and storytelling. She has since collaborated with authors to create picture books which have received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly along with rave reviews in The New York Times. April currently lives and works in Oakland, California.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I can’t start my day without a cup of fresh brewed coffee mixed with a big splash of half and half. With a 7 month old, a full night’s rest is rare and I need my jolt of caffeine in the morning to get myself going. I buy my coffee beans from Peerless Coffee Company. Their roasting facility is located just down the street from my house, which is both convenient and aromatic.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: In a Village by the Sea written by Muon Van (Creston Books, May 2015), Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine written by Laurie Wallmark (Creston Books, October 2015). Forthcoming books: Kate Warne, America’s First Woman Detective, written by Marissa Moss (Creston Books, Spring 2017), Down by the River written by Andy Weiner (Abrams, Spring 2018).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is my daughter’s favorite as well, and Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola because who wouldn’t want a magic pasta pot? As a kid, I remember being slightly jealous of Big Anthony because he got to eat all those noodles!

☕ Visit April Chu’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out these gorgeous illustrations from In a Village by the Sea (click to enlarge).

☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Check out this recent interview, “On Illustration, Art, and Picture Book Success,” at Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog. BTW, In a Village By the Sea just won the Northern California Book Award!! Congrats to April and Muon Van!

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

hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Brian Won

Brian Won wore many hats as a busboy, shoe salesman, library shelver, art director, and designer before making children’s books. His debut children’s book, Hooray for Hat!, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Coffee black, no cream no sugar. Any brand, even gas station coffee is fine by me.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Outer Space, Bedtime Race written by Rob Sanders (Random House, 2015), How to Tell a Story written by Daniel Nayeri (Workman, 2014), and Hooray for Hat! (HMH, 2014). Forthcoming: Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes written by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick, June 14, 2016), and Hooray for Today! (HMH, September 6, 2016).




☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig (HarperCollins, 1998).

☕ Visit Brian Won’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out the trailer for Outer Space, Bedtime Race!


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Adorable book trailer for Hooray for Hat!


☕☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: How to Tell a Story trailer 🙂


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


hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Tim Egan

Tim Egan writes and illustrates books for kids, usually involving odd animal characters. Most of his characters do not think of themselves as odd, although a few readily admit they are. The stories normally involve everyday things like boredom, adventure, pigs, food, music, sandwiches, planes, toast and household appliances.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I love coffee. It makes me feel happy at the very start of each day. The first thing I do is make a pot for my wife, Ann, and me to share. No sugar, but a little cream (and a cookie for our dog, Betsy, with each cup!)

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Recently, I’ve been working on a series about a traveling mouse, Dodsworth, and his ridiculous duck. So far, they’ve been to New York, Paris, London, Rome, and their latest adventure is Dodsworth in Tokyo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).  New eBook: The Last Talking Pig (Leepshin Publishing, 2015).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, because it’s wonderful and beautiful and brilliant. The kitchen spread where Mickey is flying away is my favorite illustration in all books.

☕ Visit Tim Egan’s Official Website

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Read more about Dodsworth in Tokyo at Entertainment Weekly!

☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Check out this cool animated short, “Dodsworth and the Duck In The Shop!” How much do I love a duck who thinks about cakes and pies? 🙂



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

Special Leap Day hotTEA of Children’s Literature: Ben Clanton

I’m the author-illustrator of such books as The Table Sets Itself, Mo’s Mustache, and Something Extraordinary. When I’m not busy making books (and often when I am) I like to cook, read and listen to books (I know! Surprising!), and play basketball. I live in Seattle, WA with my family and friends both real and imagined.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I love hot apple cider. Especially caramel hot apple cider! Makes me feel warm and cozy and puts me in a writing/reading sort of mood. Sure wish I had a fireplace to go with it. At least I’ve got my mustache Fred.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESS: Something Extraordinary (Simon & Schuster, June 2015). Forthcoming: It Came in the Mail (Simon & Schuster, June 2016), and Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (Tundra Books, October 2016).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins (Chronicle, 2015), and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (Dial, 2012). 

☕ Visit Ben Clanton’s Official Website, Squiggles & Scribbles and find him at The Whatsits blog.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Cool podcast at All the Wonders with Matthew Winner!

☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Read my interview with Ben about The Table Sets Itself :).

☕ ☕ ☕ ☕ STILL THIRSTY: Check out this Candlewick Five Questions (Plus One) video where Ben talks about another of his books, Rex Wrecks It. Love his laugh and the sound of his voice. Wonder if he can sing? 🙂



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