three coveted cups of coffee and a crisp croissant

“Why, yes, I could start my day without coffee. But I like being able to remember things like how to say words and put on pants.” ~ Nanea Hoffman

Good Morning. Let’s wake up and smell the coffee!

Happy to see you’re wearing your spiffy pants and speaking in full sentences. Do you owe it all to coffee?

Yes, I thought so. Sip, sip. Ah, arabica!

I must confess to being an anomaly when it comes to jump-starting the day with high octane java. Don’t know why, but I’ve never actually had a cup of coffee in my entire life (all 29 years). 😀

I mean, I LOVE the smell of freshly brewed coffee — walking into the kitchen with that divine aroma greeting me — but I’ve never  been tempted to pour myself a cup. Strange, no?

Guess I’m just a diehard teatotaler. English Breakfast, Darjeeling or Yorkshire Gold for me, if you please.

Still, I can appreciate coffee’s universal appeal and certainly enjoy seeing how it’s inspired poets and artists. 

Today we’re serving up a little sampler of coffee poems paired with Karen Eland’s amazing coffee art (yes, she painted these pieces with just espresso and water). And, because I can’t imagine having any hot beverage without a little something to nibble on, please enjoy a croissant.


“Girl With a Pearl Earring” by Karen Eland (2006)
by Dory Hudspeth

The day begins with order
and quiet, broken
only by the small ringing
of the spoon against coffee mug.
If this small ritual goes well,
no spilling, no drips,
there is hope for the day.


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hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Matthew Cordell

Matthew Cordell is the illustrator of over 25 books for children including picture books, novels, and works of poetry, several of which he has also written, including New York Times Notable picture book, Hello! Hello!. Matthew lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, author Julie Halpern, and their two children.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Coffee. I also love tea, but a cup of coffee gets me going in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but I am a dad of kids who are morning people and husband to wife who’s morning people too. Therefore, coffee is essential. I use a French press for my daily AM coffee routine. It may sound fancy schmancy, but I’m no coffee freak or purist or anything. I’m the sole coffee drinker in the house and this is really the simplest form of delivery for basically one cup a day. And no filters, man!

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Wish (Disney-Hyperion, March 2015); Special Delivery, written by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook Press, March 2015); First Grade Dropout written by Audrey Vernick (Clarion Books, July 2015); Lost. Found., written by Marsha Diane Arnold (Roaring Brook Press, November 3, 2015).


☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: I’m a big fan of HEY, PANCAKES! by Tamson Weston and Stephen Gammell (Silver Whistle, 2003). It’s a family favorite, actually. Great, fun story and great, fun art. We’ve used the recipe in the back many times. Every time you read it, you’re guaranteed a serious craving for some pancakes!

Visit Matthew Cordell’s Official Website and blog. 

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Bonus Pic of Matthew’s steamy French Press:

☕ ☕ ☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Check out the Blog Tour for Lost. Found. to learn more about this beary cool book just released this week!



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

hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: John Parra

John Parra is an award-winning illustrator, designer, teacher, and fine art painter. His books have earned starred reviews, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for illustration, and the International Latino Book Award for Best Children’s Book Interior Illustrations. He lives in Queens, New York.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Café Bustelo, a Cuban-Style coffee, brewed and cloth strained old fashion style mixed with milk and Solgar sweetener to kick start any day.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSESMarvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, written by Phil Bildner (Chronicle Books, 2015)Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors, written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong (Chronicle Books, 2014).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred (Charlesbridge, 2011), written by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Rafael López is wonderful. The NEW children’s book by Sonia Manzano [illustrated by Marjorie Priceman], Miracle on 133rd Street (Atheneum, 2015), is equally terrific. Lastly when I was young I loved Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

☕ hotTEA IN THE FLESH: I will be participating in the Third Annual Picture Book Panel: Too Good to Miss – Picture Books for Older Readers, November 8th, from 5pm to 8pm, at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

☕ Visit John Parra’s Official Website

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Bonus pic of little John with avocado tree (Santa Barbara, April 1975)

hotTEA in training, no?


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

hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Josh Funk

Josh Funk grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts alongside his wife, children, and assorted pets & monsters.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Black coffee, today’s choice was Baroida from Papua New Guinea – from Josh’s favorite local coffee shop, Haute Coffee in Concord, three steps away from his local indie, The Concord Bookshop.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, illustrated by Brendan Kearney (Sterling, 2015), as well as the forthcoming picture books Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin 2016), Pirasaurs! (Scholastic 2017), and several more.


☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1984).

☕ HOTtea IN THE FLESH: Josh will be appearing at a special superstar storytime at Wellesley Books (Saturday, October 24, 11 a.m.) and at The Blue Bunny Books and Toys (Saturday, November 14, 2015, 10:30 a.m.).

☕ Visit Josh Funk’s Official Website and Blog. Catch him on Twitter: @joshfunkbooks. Josh will also be a guest poster for Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), on November 2.



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