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.



Happy World Hello Day!

Hey there Cutie Pie, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to greet ten people today.

That’s right! Just ten people in the name of peace, to show world leaders the power and importance of personal communication rather than force to settle conflicts. Since 1973, 180+ countries have been participating — people taking a moment to say hello in dozens of different languages — on the street, in the office, at schools, in cities, farms, stores, on buses, boats, trains, subways, even in fields of waving grain, and oh yes!, in restaurants! Anyone can participate, anywhere.


Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name . . .

I know you can do it! With your winning smile, flexible eyebrows and unending charm — go ahead and surprise ten lucky strangers with this small act of kindness and see what happens! These days it’s kinda shocking when people actually take the time to make eye contact, crack a smile, or basically acknowledge that there’s another human being breathing thinking standing right beside them. Sad but true. And we’re all guilty of it. (ahem) Love our devices much?

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friday feast: chocolate mustache party!

Help yourself to any of the refreshments in this post. Tips welcome.


If you were a chocolate mustache,
And I were a peanut-butter purse,
Then we would be living somewhere
Else in the universe.

~ J. Patrick Lewis (“Elsewhere in the Universe”)

I’ve always said the best poems are the ones that feel like they were written just for you.

Well, the one and only J. Patrick Lewis, our much beloved Children’s Poet Laureate, has written an entire book of poems just for me! Look:

He actually had me at the title — I’ve made no secret about my obsession with mad love for chocolate and mustaches. But when I opened this bountiful feast of 125 funny, cuckoo, clever, punderful, endearing, burp-inducing, useful, snorty, short, twisty, wacky, vigorously vivacious verse, I totally flipped out of town. My tines tingled, my spoons swooned, my knives knocked.

“Dang, he’s good!”

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