[delectable review + recipe] Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, From Farm to Family by Elizabeth Zunon

 

Every afternoon around 1:30, I bite into a piece of organic 70% cacao dark chocolate. As it slowly melts in my mouth (oh, so velvety rich and flavorful!), my mood lifts and a certain dreamy euphoria sets in. Hello, dopamine, serotonin and antioxidants!

 

 

Not only does chocolate make me feel good, it’s good for my health, overall well being and productivity. As per my ongoing “scientific” research, most of the writers I’ve polled agree that chocolate inspires their best work — all the more reason to heartily swig steamy cups of cocoa, wrap your lips around fudgy brownies, gleefully devour truffles and bonbons, and giddily carouse with cacao at every opportunity.

Glad we agree on that! 🙂

But such divine delights should never be taken for granted. In fact, the next time you reach for your favorite chocolate bar, you will probably appreciate it even more if you consider how the cocoa was sourced and harvested, with a nod to the hardworking farmers in faraway places who play such an important role in producing the scrumptious wonder that is chocolate.

 

 

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(actually more than) nine cool things on a tuesday

art by Maira Kalman

 

1. Surely there’s no better way to begin a day, a week, a month, a year — or even a roundup — than with a Maira Kalman fix. The above painting is part of an exhibition featuring 100 pieces of her work, “The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children,” running through September 15, 2019 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and coming to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (October 13, 2019 – January 19, 2020).

If you can’t make it in person, the next best thing is this paperback exhibit catalog:

 

 

LOVE me some Maira! Anytime, anyplace. And the thing is, whenever I think I can’t adore her even more, she’ll do something new to tickle me pink all over again. Take this short film she made recently in collaboration with her son Alex, for example. Can’t decide what I like most — the talking chicken piano teacher? the naps? or the pink cake? When it comes to Maira, every day is a wonderful day:

 

 

And there’s more: look what’s coming out in March 2020!

 

Cannot. Wait. Available now for pre-order!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Starting things off with the sumptuous work of Florida-based artist, illustrator, author and teacher Carla Golembe. I love how she describes what she does and why she does it:

We live on an increasingly small planet in dangerous times. The state of our world is impossible to ignore. As humans we straddle the river of our potential with one foot on each bank. Our capacity for love and compassion is equaled by our ability to turn our backs on one another and by the biases and hatreds that people have harbored since the beginning of time.

And yet I continue to paint beauty, joy, connection and harmony. My paintings are human and universal, multicultural and cross cultural. My intention is to create a visual haven that encourages viewers to enter my domain, dwell in beauty, rejoice in color and breathe. The figures emanate wonder and mystery. The work is evocative rather than descriptive. My interest as an artist lies in expressing how something feels rather than what it looks like. As my subject matter expands to include both my inner vision and the outer world. I find myself painting about inclusiveness and caring for the earth. I am painting hope. This is my authentic personal expression and my purpose as a painter. The world of my paintings is not “realism” but perhaps it’s “magic realism”. It’s the reality of what makes my life worth living, what makes us human and what I want to bring into the world.

She so beautifully states why art is more important than ever in a troubled and endangered world. We’re thankful for the haven of beauty and hope Carla creates with her work. Her distinctive style — lush, color-saturated and passionate, also speaks to the power of female spirituality.

For more, visit Carla’s official website and her shop at Fine Art America, where you can purchase prints and posters, as well as totes, t-shirts, pillows, greeting cards, etc.

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2. New Poetry Book Alert! Just released June 4, 2019, is Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer by Elizabeth Steinglass and Edson Ikê (Wordsong, 2019).

The perfect gift for young soccer fans, this picture book features twenty-two imaginative poems that capture all aspects of the world’s most popular sport.

From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game. Elizabeth Steinglass cleverly incorporates thirteen different poetic forms throughout the book, defining each in a note at the end, and Edson Ikê’s bold artwork is as creative as the poems are surprising.

We are thrilled that Poetry Friday friend Elizabeth Steinglass has just published her first poetry picture book. She has certainly scored big with her clever, charming, and positively delightful poems. She once played soccer herself, and has two sons who are obsessed with the game. Suffice to say, soccer is a big part of their lives, so Elizabeth has every reason to celebrate the world’s most popular sport.

Find out more about Elizabeth and Soccerverse in this excellent Today’s Little Ditty Spotlight On Interview, and don’t miss Elizabeth’s TLD Classroom Connections post. Sample poems included in both. 🙂

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Edson!

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chihiro iwasaki’s charming and lively watercolors

 

Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974) is one of the most celebrated Japanese artists/illustrators in the world. She’s as popular and beloved in her home country as Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, or Garth Williams is in America.

 

 

She’s known for her soft, delicate, flowing watercolors of children and flowers, centering around the theme of “peace and happiness for children.” Her artistic style is a distinctive blend of Western watercolor strokes and traditional Eastern painting techniques. She sometimes incorporated Japanese calligraphy in her work.

 

 

 

 

 

I only discovered Iwasaki’s work recently; her pictures called out to me just when I needed them most. They’re certainly a welcome balm for difficult times. I love the gentleness and innocence, the rich beauty and wistfulness in her paintings, and how brilliantly she captures the emotions and posturings of babies, toddlers, and grade school kids.

 

 

 

 

She published about 40 books and made over 8000 drawings in her lifetime. She was a Hans Christian Andersen fan, and illustrated several of his tales which were published in English.

 

 

 

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[mouthwatering review] magic ramen by andrea wang and kana urbanowicz

“Mankind is Noodlekind” ~ Momofuku Ando

 

Know what would really hit the spot right about now?

A warm bowl of instant ramen. Care to join me?

 

 

I can’t even guess how many years I’ve been going from “hungry to happy” with Top Ramen and Cup Noodles. They’re pretty unbeatable (and ubiquitous) as comfort food — quick, convenient, portable, shelf stable, cheap, tasty and satisfying. It’s the kind of thing you take for granted, the food that helped you get through college. 🙂

But do you know who actually invented instant ramen?

 

 

I first heard of Taiwanese-born Momofuku Ando in an article that appeared in David Chang’s inaugural issue of the now defunct Lucky Peach magazine (2011). What a fascinating and inspirational story! Anyone who’s ever slurped up their fair share of ramen should know the who, what, when, how, and why of what the Japanese consider to be their best invention of the 20th century.

 

 

Now, thanks to Andrea Wang and Kana Urbanowicz, hungry, noodle-loving kids can read all about it in a new picture book, Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando (little bee books, 2019). They will see that because of one man’s compassion, ingenuity, persistence, and entrepreneurial smarts, people all over the world can make their own delicious ramen “anywhere, anytime” in just a few minutes. 🙂

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