☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: For mornings my fav is Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee with a splash of Amaretto cream…yum, yum, yum! You can’t beat this drink for kick-starting the day. After 3 pm I love Red Zinger or Camomile tea, sipped hot with honey from my Grandmother Viola’s fancy teacup. This reminds me of both my grandmothers who introduced me to the idea of having “high tea” in the afternoon.
☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES:Songs I Love to Singby Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Laura Freeman (Marimba Books, 2015); Hands Canby Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by John-Francis Bourke (Candlewick, 2013), and My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010).
☕ COMING SOON FROM JUST US BOOKS/MARIMBA BOOKS:
AFRO-BETS Book of Shapes (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
AFRO-BETS Book of Colors (to be re-issued by Just Us Books, Fall 2016)
I’m a Big Brother Now by Katura J. Hudson, illustrated by Sylvia Walker (Marimba Books, a new picture book for Fall 2016)
Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson (Just Us Books, a new book of biographies for Fall 2016)
Sights I Love to See by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Laura Freeman (Marimba Books, Spring 2017)
☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by James Ransome (HMH, 1995). I love the focus on family memories that are demonstrated so lovingly in this picture book. I grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia where crabbing is a popular summer pastime and eating crabs (by the bushel) is part of an annual family reunion tradition. My grandmother Viola Brown made her own beautiful Sunday hats and also cooked wonderful crabcakes. Although they are never as delicious as my grandmother’s, I can’t resist ordering crabcakes whenever they appear on a restaurant menu. Aunt Flossie’s Hats always reminds me of my own happy childhood.
☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Don’t miss Cheryl’s must-read guest post at The Brown Bookshelf (part of their 28 Days Later showcase for 2016). She discusses her passion for children’s books, her personal publishing journey, as well as how and why she and her husband Wade established Just Us Books in 1988.
I’ve often wished I could travel back in time to visit Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at their famous 1920’s Paris salon.
Imagine making small talk with the likes of Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thornton Wilder on a leisurely Saturday evening while gazing at an amazing collection of modernist art adorning the walls at 27 rue de Fleurus! Would Alice serve her special mushroom sandwiches, a giant squab in pyjamas, or maybe wild rice salad?
I know what you’re thinking: brownies! Well, perhaps. 🙂
It was such a treat to read the recently published picture book Happy Birthday, Alice Babette by Monica Kulling and Qin Leng (Groundwood Books, 2016). Charming and winsome are the first two words that come to mind, along with sheer delight. This fictionalized story based on the lives of these two expat luminaries focuses on their singular relationship — complementary personalities who carved out a unique existence that brought out the best in each other.
☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out this video where Duncan expresses thanks for the Sibert Medal and Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor he was awarded earlier this year for Funny Bones.
☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Duncan chats with Viviana Hurtado from last summer’s Lunchtime Author Google Hangout. He talks about Funny Bones, how he got his first book contract with Abrams, and shares thoughts about creating diverse books for young readers in today’s publishing climate.
What makes this collection especially interesting is that the poems are presented in their native languages alongside an English translation. So we travel to fascinating places from New Zealand to Norway, Jamaica to Japan, and Indonesia to Iran, reading some of the very first rhymes children in those countries learn.
Animals are a favorite topic (whales, donkeys, monkeys, pigs, birds, mice), along with everyday activities that naturally fall into a child’s frame of reference no matter where he/she might live (playing in the rain, losing a tooth, flying kites, bath time, eating!). As former UK Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen points out in his excellent Introduction,
[Nursery rhymes] are a strange mix of poems: some are fragments of longer songs and ballads, some are rhymes that were probably oral jingles or chants that people sang or said to their children, a small group are carefully composed little poems with known authors, and some are songs that always accompanied dancing or actions of some kind.