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 Heads up, unpublished children’s book authors of color: check out the Roll of Thunder Publishing Contest sponsored by Penguin Random House in partnership with We Need Diverse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

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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hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Maria Gianferrari (+ a giveaway!)

Maria is a picture book reading/writing, tea-drinking, dog-loving, Becca-walking, birdwatching resident of Virginia, though her heart still lives in New England.

 

☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I cannot live without my loose-leaf German tea, Nizze Sahne Tee! Nizze = Nice as in France and Sahne means cream. It’s an aromatic black tea flavored with cornflowers and safflowers, so there are hints of blue and orange. I first discovered it on a trip to Berlin in 2000. Now I order it by the kilo. And this is my favorite tea mug, purchased at Woolworth’s in Berlin, Germany, a remembrance of our time living there
2004-2005 for my husband Niko’s sabbatical.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My debut fiction picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, was published by HMH in July 2015; a companion book, Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars will be released in mid-June 2016. I also have a debut nonfiction picture book, Coyote Moon, with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, releasing on July 19, 2016 (Roaring Brook). In October 2016, Aladdin will publish another fiction picture book, Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails, illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou.

☕ FORTHCOMING IN 2017 AND BEYOND: Roaring Brook Press will also publish Hello Goodbye Dog, illustrated by Patrice Barton (2017); Highway Hawks, illustrated by Brian Floca (2018), and they recently acquired a second book with Bagram Ibatoulline, A Home for Bobcat. I also have a concept book called Terrific Tongues forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press as well as a haiku story about Great Horned Owls, Whooo-Ku, which will be published by GP Putnam’s Sons.

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Some recent foodie picture books that I loved are Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Bread as well as Mara Rockliff’s Gingerbread for Liberty. Some middle grade titles include Sarah Weeks’ Pie —you will become obsessed with pie-making after you read it; A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, and Kat Yeh’s The Truth About Twinkie Pie —full of heart, though the twinkie pies themselves are not my cup of tea😉. And though I haven’t yet gotten to them, I’ve heard wonderful things about Tara Dairman’s Gladys Gatsby books: All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer, and Stars So Sweet.

☕ Visit Maria Gianferrari’s Official Website and her Facebook Author Page. Don’t miss Penny and Jelly’s Website and Instagram!

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out the Penny and Jelly Talent Show Kit!

☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: Smack your lips for this adorable Penny and Jelly Literary Lunch prepared by Nina at Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love.

☕☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Cool spreads from the forthcoming Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails!

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📕 SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY! 📙 

Maria has generously offered a brand new signed copy of Penny and Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader!

In this picture-book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover! But there’s one small detail that derails the dynamic kid-dog duo: no pets allowed. Penny and Jelly have to think quick—if the real Jelly can’t go, then maybe a pretend Jelly can! A paper Jelly? Too rough. A yarn Jelly? Too soft. Jelly after Jelly just doesn’t work. But with a little creativity and a lot of heart, Penny figures out how to go to the sleepover—and bring Jelly along with her.

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) June 9, 2016. You may also enter by sending an email with Penny and Jelly-2 in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot)com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!

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And there’s more! Check out these dates for the Official Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars Blog Tour, beginning next Thursday, with more chances to win a book!

June 9:  Pragmatic Mom + Three Book Giveaway

June 10: Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

June 13: Little Crooked Cottage + Homemade City

June 14: Kid Lit Frenzy

June 15: Miss Marple’s Musings

June 16: Bildebok

June 17: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) + Three Book Giveaway

Extra Features:

June 24: Picture Book Builders

 


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

[lipsmacking review] The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller and Vincent X. Kirsch

Let’s talk doughnuts. Which do you fancy– cake or raised? Powdered, cinnamon sugar, glazed, chocolate dipped, or frosted?

Though in the past I’ve dallied with lemon-filled, jelly, maple glazed, vanilla iced with sprinkles, and even (gasp!) gotten a bit risqué with a warm cruller or two, my true loyalty lies with the plain glazed ring doughnut, the fresher and softer the better. I live for that moment when you take that first luscious bite and the glaze cracks a bit, sometimes sticking to the edges of your mouth. Mmmmmm!

Tastiest endpapers ever!

Now, tell me. For all the times you’ve eaten a ring-shaped doughnut, have you ever wondered who invented the hole? Thanks to The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller and Vincent X. Kirsch, we surprisingly learn that a teenager with a knack for creative problem solving was actually responsible, and that his “aha” moment took place on the high seas!

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