calling all homeschoolers!


Young adult author Tanita S. Davis has just created a very cool Multidisciplinary Homeschooling Unit for her 2010 Coretta Scott King Honor winning novel, Mare’s War! I especially like the Social Studies/Sociology Reflection Essay ideas and the Social Studies/Geography/History Activities Guide.

Just because she feels like it, Tanita is having a special giveaway just for homeschooling families beginning Tuesday, January 11. Be sure to visit her blog for a chance to win a brand new paperback copy! WooHoo! Looks like 1-11-11 may just be your lucky day. ☺

Check out Tanita’s official website for more about Mare’s War.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

va va voom, va va vegans: part two

Now comes the part where I confess my guilt.

According to Accepted Hostess Protocol (AHP), when you invite people to your home, you’re supposed to wait on them. While this does not always entail gently waving palm fronds to keep delicate ladies from wilting in summer heat, strategically tossing grapes into eager mouths, or kissing toe rings (yes, I did all of these things), it usually means you should do most of the cooking.

Which is what I fully intended to do — but sometimes you are simply so enthralled by someone else’s culinary techniques and flair, you find yourself watching and snapping photos instead, and then begging for more.

For a couple of years, I had heard tell of The World’s Best Baker — this man of mystery who conjured up recipes, took beautiful photographs of the process and then blogged about it. This man who made a deep, dark, rich Guinness Cake, who seemed to revel in whipping up salads and dressings from ingredients magically appearing in his fridge, this stalwart, erudite vegan virtuoso feeding a brilliant author who recently won a prestigious literary award.

  Chef David shows off his famous Lemon Cake.

If such a man came to your house, would you not want to sit back, observe, and absorb as much as you could?

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veni, vidi, vici, or, va va voom, va va vegans: part one

Cornelius welcomes Benjamin Bear to the den. Thanks so much, Geri!!

She came, she saw, she conquered!!

And she wore bearfoot slippers, of course.

photo by David at wishiwerebaking.

Last week, we had the distinct pleasure of playing with hosting Tanita S. Davis (winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award for Mare’s War), her husband David (world’s best baker), and her lovely mom, Geraldine (champion hugger and all-around beautiful person) at our humble home in the woods.

You may remember my excitement and wee trepidation regarding the “Coming of the Vegans.” To prepare for this momentous event, the alphabet soup kitchen helpers thoroughly brushed their fur, hosed down cleaned, polished, and prettified the house from top to bottom, stocked up on edible goodies, and chanted “lemons lemons lemons” from morning till night.

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the always beguiling tanita s. davis

#20 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

via Rolland Glass

For Tanita S. Davis, love is spelled, “L-I-M-E.”

The girl is wild about them, “in ANYTHING and everything.” Now, prior to this Potluck, it would never have occurred to me that she might want to dive into that vase to get at those limes, one sassy slice at a time. But after reading her poem, I suspect her refrigerator is full of limes, her bed, lined with them, her dreams, haunted by them. Splash!

Thanks to Tanita, I’ve gained new respect for these little green fruit. Oh, how I’ve callously overlooked them in my naive tunnel-vision of lemon love! My knowledge of limes is limited to a few Mexican food rendezvous, a passing glance at a Margarita.

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shouting from the rooftops


We here at alphabet soup are jumpin’ for joy at the wonderful news that MARE’S WAR, penned by the brilliant Tanita S. Davis, has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award!! Woo Hoo!! It’s one of five books listed in the category of Outstanding Literary Work: Youth/Teens, along with these other titles:

Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Phillip Hoose (Macmillan)
Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper (Atheneum)
Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady by David Bergen Brophy (Collins)
Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon (Aladdin).

We celebrated the release of MARE’S WAR (Knopf, 2009) back in June (red stilettos and all), and besides being a Junior Library Guild selection, it was also deemed a Best Young Adult Book for 2009 by Kirkus

The NAACP nomination is huge, and we are thrilled to bits for Tanita. We offer our heartfelt congratulations!! ♥

*thunderous applause, skyrockets, 1000 chocolate cupcakes*

Click here to go to the NAACP Awards website to check out all the books nominated in the children’s, teen and adult categories.