HELLO HELLO | A NOTE ON CONSERVATION

This Sunday 22nd of April is Earth Day 2018 and to raise awareness we wanted to share with you the Author’s Note from Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel. The campaign for this year’s Earth Day is to #EndPlasticPollution. Find out what you can do to help at earthday.org


Hello Hello is the gorgeous follow-up to the Caldecott Honor–winning They All Saw a Cat and explores another aspect of seeing the world for young children. Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colours and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection. Brendan Wenzel’s joyous, rhythmic text and exuberant art encourage readers to delight in nature’s infinite differences and to look for—and marvel at—its gorgeous similarities. It all starts with a simple “Hello.”

Brendan Wenzel is an author and illustrator based in upstate New York. His debut picture book, They All Saw a Cat, was a New York Times bestseller and the recipient of a 2017 Caldecott Honor. An ardent conservationist, he is a proud collaborator with many organisations working to ensure the future of wild places and threatened species.

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A Note from the Author

You have just said hello to some of my favourite animals. Their colours, shapes, sounds, patterns, habits and strange hairdos make the world a more vibrant and fascinating place. Each one is a vital part of the ecosystem it inhabits.

Sadly, many of these creatures are in trouble—considered to be Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A species can become threatened for many reasons, like habitat loss, poaching or climate change.

Many people don’t know a lot of these animals even exist. You can help change that! Find out more about the. Head to the library, go on the internet, and share your interest and enthusiasm with everyone you know. You could even write a letter to one of the incredible conservationists working to protect them and keep the places they live safe. The more that people know about these creatures, the better the chance they will share this planet with us for many years to come.

 It starts with saying hello.


Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel is out now
Follow Brendan on Instagram and Twitter, or visit his website here

NEW MIDDLE-GRADE & TEEN FICTION PREVIEW

As we, at last, enter some form of Spring, we wanted to give you a peek at snippets of some of the excellent children’s fiction* coming out over the next two months – perfect for reading outdoors when the sun’s out (or hiding indoors when it’s not)!

*Age recommendations are in brackets next to the title


EVERY SHINY THING by Cordelia Jensen & Laurie Morrison (8+)

About Every Shiny Thing

In this beautifully constructed middle grade novel, Lauren’s autistic older brother has recently been sent to a therapeutic boarding school, and it seems to Lauren that her parents are unfairly ‘living it up’ now that he’s gone. Lauren joins a simplicity group at her Quaker school and recruits Sierra, her new neighbour, for the group. She misunderstands the group’s anti-materialism mission and slowly begins to take things from her parents and to shoplift, using the money she gets selling stolen goods to give to kids on the autism spectrum. Meanwhile, foster kid Sierra has been in a toxic relationship with both of her parents, as an enabler and caretaker. Sierra realises she’s falling into the same enabling patterns with Lauren. And Lauren must learn that what she is doing is not fighting injustice, however good her intentions. Told in alternating viewpoints between Sierra’s verse chapters and Lauren’s prose chapters, this is a story about fairness for young readers first grappling with an unequal world.

Out now!


THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART by Laura Geringer Bass (8+)

About The Girl With More Than One Heart: 

When Briana’s father dies of a heart attack, she feels a new heart grow inside her body. Through this heart, her father’s voice speaks to her. It guides Briana through her grief as well as her new, not-so-normal life at home. When her mother’s own grief becomes debilitating, Briana feels like she’s solely responsible for her autistic little brother, Aaron. As she begins to spend much of her time and energy caring for Aaron, she begins to wonder: did his special needs hurt her father’s very fragile heart? The voice of Briana’s ‘new heart’ helps her to navigate the messy uncertainties, as she balances her first feelings of romance, making new friends, and following her dream of writing for the school newspaper. And as Briana finds strength and knowledge in herself, she’s finally able to let go of her new heart and rely solely on her own.

Out now!


LUMBERJANES: THE MOON IS UP (Book #2) by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen) (8+)

About Lumberjanes: The Moon Is Up: 

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counsellor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. As the camp gears up for the big Galaxy Wars competition, Jo and the gang get some help from an unexpected visitor—a Moon Pirate! Book Two will focus on Jo, the ingenious inventor of the group who also happens to be trans.

Pub date: 08 May 2018


BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS by Tiffany Schmidt (14+)

About Bookish Boyfriends:

Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep–where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving…

Pub date: 01 May 2018


THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL by Maxine Kaplan (14+)

About The Accidental Bad Girl:

After getting caught ‘in the act’ with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracised by her peers. She plans to keep her head down until she leaves for the prestigious Young Astronomers Talent Search program in three months. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for drug theft, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking on the outskirts of her Brooklyn private school. The longer she plays the role of ‘bad girl,’ the more she becomes her new reputation. If she wants to preserve her only chance of escaping high school early, repairing her tattered reputation, and ultimately saving her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is, and own it. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.

Pub date: 15 May 2018


Happy Spring-Reading!

THE COOK’S ATELIER | RECIPE

Mother and daughter American expats Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini always dreamed of living in France. With a lot of hard work and a sprinkling of fate, they realised this dream and founded The Cook’s Atelier, a celebrated French cooking school in the heart of Burgundy.

Combining their professional backgrounds in food and wine, they created a convivial international culinary destination. Their debut cookbook chronicles their life in a charming French village and their relationships with the region’s artisan food producers and winemakers. Featuring more than 100 market-inspired recipes, the book—like their school—teaches classic French techniques in a beautiful, approachable way. With more than 200 enchanting photographs, THE COOK’S ATELIER is a richly illustrated presentation of the family’s delicious world, and a practical primer for adopting elements of the French lifestyle at home, no matter where you live.

The following recipe is from The Cook’s Atelier: Recipes, Techniques and Stories from Our French Cooking School by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, photographs by Anson Smart. 


Lemon Soufflés

SERVES 6 TO 8

When we make soufflés, we can’t help but think of Julia Child. Inspired by her classic recipe, we begin with a sauce bouilli, a thickened mixture of milk, sugar, and flour, which makes them especially delicate. Light and airy with just a hint of lemon, they can be adapted using orange juice and zest or vanilla.

  • 7 tablespoons (90 g) granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (30 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the moulds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large egg whites
  • ¹⁄⁸ teaspoon fleur de sel
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

2. Butter the insides of eight individual 1-cup (240-ml) ramekins or one large 6-cup (1.4-L) soufflé mould. Using 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, sprinkle the inside of the mould(s), tapping to remove any excess. Set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, ¼ cup (50 g) of the granulated sugar, and the flour until well-combined. Place over medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until fully incorporated before adding the next yolk. While the mixture is still warm, add the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.

5. In a large, very clean, preferably copper bowl, use a large balloon whisk to beat the egg whites with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and the salt until firm peaks form. Stir a large spoonful of the whipped egg whites into the soufflé base to begin lightening it. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites, leaving some white streaks in the mixture and working quickly to keep the base light and airy.

6. Pour the finished mixture into the prepared mould(s), filling them just below the top rim. Run your thumb along the inside edge of the moulds to remove any excess and ensure a proper lift. Bake until the tops of the soufflés are golden brown and lifted about 2 inches (5 cm) over the tops of the ramekins, 15 to 18 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for the soufflé mould). Do not be tempted to open the oven during baking or the soufflés will fall. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.


The Cook’s Atelier is out now – find out more here.
Follow The Cook’s Atelier cooking school on Instagram and through their website.

BRAVE BIRDS | BIRDS I’VE BEEN

9781419729096

In BRAVE BIRDS, cut-paper artist and writer Maude White presents an entirely new collection of sixty-five stunning cut-paper birds. As a source of inspiration, each bird is paired with an original message of kindness and strength associated with its particular traits to encourage bravery and perseverance.

Inside, you’ll find birds for experiencing Joy, Creativity, Patience, Kindness, Resilience, Communication, Strength, Awareness, Action, and Transformation, and each composition reflects thousands of intricate cuts, lending an astounding level of texture to these delicate and ethereal birds. Appealing to any bird lover or collector of bird art, Brave Birds is a beautiful resource for those wishing to practice a life of kindness and empathy.

Maude White is an award-winning cut-paper artist and writer whose work has been featured online, in print (Urban Outfitters, The Artist Magazine, Artvoice, among others), and in international galleries. She also created the shadow theatre segment in Stefan Sagmeister’s film. White lives in the Hudson Valley in New York.

The following extract is from the preface to BRAVE BIRDS: INSPIRATION ON THE WING by Maude White. Published by Abrams Image, an imprint of ABRAMS Books.


BIRDS I’VE BEEN

I have loved many birds in my life. Loved the abstract notion and existence of birds as much as the physical, tangible birds themselves. Often, the sight or sound of a bird has given me both bravery and hope.

My love for birds has not always been particular. There are birds I have loved without knowing their names and birds I have loved for the beauty of their song alone. Sometimes, all I have needed from a bird has been the flicker of its body, the connection through sight with a creature unbounded by the physical earth. I have always felt that looking upward instills hope in those of us tethered to the ground.

At other times, I have gained strength and encouragement from a specific bird, finding it out in the world, in literature and ultimately in my own body, as I recognised those same instincts and skills that I so loved and admired within the bird.

I am a language person, a word person. Words hold power, both alone and together. In its simplest definition, a bird is an egg-laying, feathered vertebrate. But as happens so often with language over time, bird has also come to refer to both a human female and a human of either sex possessing peculiar or interesting characteristics.

The usage of the word bird to refer to a woman dates from the beginning of the twentieth century. Independent of that most recent appropriation, there is an older, Middle English word burde that originated in the 1300s to refer to a young female. That this old, forgotten word has been resurrected in usage and meaning in our present world both fascinates and moves me.

Unfortunately, this current habit of referring to a woman as a bird grants little respect to the woman in question. The term implies overfamiliarity and dismissiveness. This surprises me. After all, birds possess beauty, strength, intelligence and a wild and powerful will to survive. They connect us to the sky and the water, realms that we, as humans, cannot ourselves easily traverse. Birds evolved from dinosaurs! How can one not feel awe and respect?

As with the word bird, I am strongly drawn to the word brave. By definition, bravery is generally defined as having or showing courage.

I believe the word bravery should be used more often. In today’s language, the word seems to refer to the absence of fear or to physical or dramatic acts of heroism, making bravery, as a concept and a personal experience, impossible for many of us to ever truly embrace or believe we have achieved. But I believe that myriad small, everyday acts require bravery and strength and should be honoured, celebrated and appreciated.

The Brave Birds idea grew from my wish to claim and reclaim our current cultural definitions of both bird and bravery. My love for birds knows no constraint. It is a welcoming, hungry passion that requires neither understanding nor complicity from the birds themselves. My identification with birds and my reference to us all as brave birds arises from the hope that we human birds might someday be able to apply to ourselves the same selfless admiration and love that we feel for literal birds out in the wild and in the abstract. I want us, as human birds, to be able to feel passion and understanding for ourselves. I want us to love and experience the simple wonder of our existence, just as we love without judgment the existence of the physical birds we see and hear out in the world each day. In this way, I believe that we are all brave birds.

Early in 2014, I was attacked. As I healed and recovered, I began drawing and cutting a great blue heron. During that time I was afraid to leave my home. I was afraid of the darkness. I was afraid of my own memory and my lack of memory.

As I carefully drew and then cut each feather on the great blue heron, as I studied and moved around my giant bird creation, I began to feel as if the heron I was creating was simultaneously becoming a part of my body, investing me with those qualities I admired and loved so much. To this day, I cannot see a great blue heron without feeling a surge of love and gratefulness. During my recovery, that heron was my friend, my doctor, and I held his essence in my body as I healed. He was my bird, my concept of safety and strength.

Five months later I was mugged. The mugging occurred in the daytime, and soon I found myself falling not only back into my fear of the darkness, but experiencing new fears of the daylight world as well.

Again, I turned my knife to cutting a bird. This time, I began work on a girl and a crow. In the piece the crow was emerging from the woman’s face. I wanted this crow to symbolise the dark and vengeful bird that I wished could come forth to confront any mugger approaching any seemingly defenceless woman. I wanted this wild, ruthless and savage bird to inhabit my shrinking, hesitant body. I wanted this bird to help me do what I had been unable to: defend myself. The crow was my symbol, my protective confidante. The crow gave me the strength and the courage to leave my home again.

I have been many birds in my life. I have been a hummingbird, flying backward into the past. I have been a barn swallow, quick and sure in decision and strength. I have been a great blue heron, patient and still in recovery from pain and fear. I have been a crow, observant and watchful as I questioned decisions and hesitated on great brinks. Birds, like humans, are many things. They are ruthless. They are collaborative. They are deceitful. They are loyal. They give gifts. They mourn. Some birds solve problems, some think analogously, some create new, recursive speech patterns and some craft tools.

As I cut the brave birds collected in this book, I found myself learning more about each kind of bird. I began to ask myself, what can this bird teach me? What strength and self-assurance can I gain by recognising within myself those survival strategies that I admire so much in this bird? I began to apply aspects of bird behaviour, strength, and power to my own life, and this has given me comfort and strength and helped me through some very difficult and confusing times.

There is a great deal about birds that I do not know. I have found myself wondering, can we love something that we do not understand? Do we have the right to experience love for something we do not understand? The answer is a resounding yes.

I realize that in some respects, our love can only be heightened by our lack of knowledge. We can love the potentiality of birds, love the great, swooning idea of discovering knowledge just as much as we love the concrete knowledge we possess now.

I do not know whether birds have moral codes of behaviour. I do not know whether they experience grief or happiness. I do not need to know the answers to these questions. My love is not contingent on moral affinity. Just so, I do not need to understand myself or my fellow human birds to recognise that we are all valid beings and we are all worthy of an attempt to be understood and respected.

Birds have taught me many things. Most importantly, they have taught me that love grows. They have taught me that if we allow ourselves to love without judgment or expectation, our love will expand and keep expanding. We can find ourselves loving beyond our own understanding, beyond our own safe borders. And love is never the wrong decision.

I believe that we are all connected, that there are ties that bind all creatures and creations together. Because of this, I believe that all actions, all kindnesses and comforts can have an impact beyond our understanding. I hope that my words and work here can encourage you to give comfort and kindness to yourself and to others. There is always room for kindness. There is always room for hope.

May the brave birds I have created give you strength. May they show you paths you might have missed. May they give you confidence. May they help you recognise and express love. May they teach you to be resilient. May they remind you that there are many ways to be intelligent and many ways to thrive and create in the world. May they encourage you to persevere. May they show you the wondrous connective power of kindness and empathy.

Love,

Maude


Brave Birds: Inspiration on the Wing by Maude White publishes on 10th April 2018. 

Also available: Brave Birds Notecards, Journal and Notebook 

Follow Maude on Instagram and Facebook or visit her website here

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | NOTTING HILL BOOKSHOP

Our Bookshop of the Month for April is the world-famous Notting Hill Bookshop, renowned for originally specialising in travel books and its interior featuring in the film Notting Hill, with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts! Fans of the film still regularly visit from all over the world.

The shop is located in the heart of beautiful Notting Hill, minutes from the vibrant Portobello Market. It opened in 1979, and broadened its stock to cover a wider variety of books in 2011. It still has a sizeable travel section, but also now plays host to beautiful gift editions, pocket hardbacks, satin-bound classics, golden gilt leather-bounds and much more! We have a particular soft spot for the children’s section, nestled at the back and waiting to be discovered.

If your in the Notting Hill area, pop in and don’t be surprised if you find yourself losing track of time browsing all that this shop has to offer – you never know what you may find there!

We caught up with owner Olga and asked her a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our April Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe the Notting Hill Bookshop in three words?
Cosy, vibrant, welcoming.

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
Our Weird & Wonderful section full of very strange books indeed!

3. Where do you like to read?
Very, very far from the madding crowd – Richmond Park being the favourite place.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
I would still find a way to become a bookseller!

5. Excluding Notting Hill Bookshop – what is your favourite bookshop?
‘Much Ado Books’ in Alfriston, East Sussex – absolutely charming and full of antiquarian treasures.


You can follow the bookshop on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

ILLUSTRATING HBO’S GAME OF THRONES TAROT | INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG COSS

© 2018 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

In HBO’s Game of Thrones Tarot award-winning fine artist, illustrator and storyteller Craig Coss, alongside author and thirty-year tarot practitioner Liz Dean, brings the world of Westeros to life through the vivid and atmospheric depictions of recognisable characters and scenes on each card.

The beautifully rendered and wholly original set melds the tradition of the tarot with the deep archetypes of Game of Thrones. Each card, from the Major Arcana to the Cups, Coins, Spears and Swords of the Minor Arcana, offers a rich and meaningful experience. Fans of the hit HBO show can pore over a treasure trove of beloved characters, scenes and stories depict in a style both surprising and true to the world of Westeros. The deluxe box contains 78 cards and a hardcover guidebook which explains the symbolism of each card and how to use them in a tarot reading.

Are you interested in finding out more about the two worlds colliding? Read our interview with illustrator Craig Coss below…

Q. How did you get into art and illustration? 

A. I grew up in a family of artists, designers, and storytellers—three or four generations on both sides—so I was raised to develop an eye for proportion and beauty, pencils, paint, and narrative. I’ve done paid illustration work since I was a teenager, starting with watercolors for my little sister who had her own hand-painted earring business in high school. I studied art and philosophy in college, and you could say that my work for the past three decades has been about expressing philosophy through visual art. In the past few years, I’m folding my interest in narrative into the mix. Both stories and visual imagery have been used to teach recondite subjects for centuries, and the idea of telling such stories—visually—intrigues me.

Imagine a village elder has some sort of profound or mystical experience, but because it was too abstract or too weird, her immediate family or friends can’t grasp her meaning. So she encodes her teaching into the symbols of a myth or fairy tale, or weaves it into a carpet, or carves it into the legs of a table. Maybe she sings a nursery rhyme or develops a card game that, if interpreted in a certain way, might point someone who notices it back to her profound experience. In all of these examples, the thing she makes might survive her—and survive even her great-grandchildren. Eventually—perhaps generations later—someone in her village might notice the teaching encoded in her work, and catch her hidden meaning! And in the societies that believe in reincarnation, that person might even be the same soul who encoded the teaching in the artifact or tradition in the first place—so in effect, she sent a little reminder to her future self! (So you can see why, in those societies, it might be a good idea to make such a thing.) It is with this spirit that folk arts have been created since prehistoric times, all over the world, and the resulting artifacts and traditions are imbued not only with beauty, but with deep teachings that even transcend conceptual meanings; such teachings might find resonance with our hearts, but cannot be understood by our thinking minds, because they’re too profound—little Zen koans, woven into a children’s game! Knowing that visual art and story can be used in that way keeps me striving not only in my work as a fine artist and illustrator, but in my life.

Q. How did this project come to be? 

A. It was a true collaboration. Chronicle Books asked Liz Dean to author the book that will accompany the deck, and then asked me to illustrate the cards. I’d wanted to do a tarot deck since I was a kid, and I knew the TV show. My wife Michelle is a huge fan and encouraged me to go for it. Liz and the team at Chronicle had a good idea for which characters they wanted to see on the Major Arcana cards, but few ideas for the Minor Arcana. I suggested that we pair the traditional meanings of the Minor Arcana cards with a character, moment, or scene from GoT that best fit the meaning for each and every card. It required that I watch the first six seasons three times over to find the most ideal possible pairings. It seemed so crazy and I wasn’t even sure that it could be done well. But I had a hunch to try. It came together piece by piece—an elaborate puzzle of narrative. New puzzles and constraints came up along the way, and several times I thought that we might lose certain pieces that would compromise the whole. But with Liz, Michelle, and Chronicle’s help, we were able to bring together two narratives—GoT and the traditional tarot—so that they inform and build upon each other. If you know the series well, the divinatory meanings tap into the power of that mythology, and can bring a wellspring of meanings into any tarot reading. And if you come from a background in tarot, you might see the TV series with new eyes. I think we’re all very pleased with the result.

Q. Have you always been a Game of Thrones fan? 

A. I’m a bit of a Luddite and stopped watching TV entirely in 1988, when I went to college. But when I recently got my MFA in Visual Narrative at SVA, I had to facilitate an online conversation with my peers about unusual plot arcs in long-form stories. Right away, HBO’s Game of Thrones came up in the conversation, but because I was out of the loop, I had nothing to say and couldn’t facilitate. I turned to Michelle and asked her if she wanted to binge-watch five seasons with me, and she was thrilled. So Game of Thrones was literally the first TV show I’d seen in over twenty-five years! I thought it was very synchronistic that I was asked to illustrate this project. If it had been for any other TV show, I’d have had to turn it down.

Illustration by Craig Coss. © 2017 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc
Illustration by Craig Coss
© 2018 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

Q. Which character or card was your favourite to illustrate and why? 

A. I have so many favorites that it’s hard to chose. Some cards paired up with traditional Tarot meanings so closely that at times it was uncanny. But I think The Fool was my favorite card to create. Peter Dinklage is a brilliant actor, and I love his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Liz felt strongly that The Fool is a card about following intuition and taking tremendous risks— about trusting in the Grand Order of things that’s beyond the intellect’s understanding. It’s about stepping out of the world of the ego and into a world ordered by something greater. Accordingly, Liz wanted to depict Tyrion freeing a dragon in Meereen. I loved the idea! But she also wanted to include the number zero on the card—something I felt strongly not to do. The Fool has been my favorite card since I was ten years old, and I knew it was the keystone of the entire deck. We fought it out, and eventually I gave in and agreed to number it zero. And then it came to me: the number zero, historically, came from India. It was connected to the early Buddhist concept of the empty mind—a state of consciousness without an ego or identity called Dhyāna, the origin of the word Zen. The Hindus used that sign—the circle to indicate nothingness or emptiness—in a new method of mathematical notation, and thus Hindu-Arabic numerals were born. I wanted to show that history visually in the card, and it came to me to depict the zero as the reflection of Tyrion’s head in the eye of a dragon: a visual pun. In that way, the zero in the card hints that The Fool is connected with the dragon’s eye, but also with the state of surrender to that consciousness. And that’s the state of inspiration that seizes us from another world and allows us to think out of the box, to take risks, and bring something new into the world. Liz’s insistence on the inclusion of the zero sparked the inspiration for the composition of the whole card, and Tyrion—with Dinklage’s beautiful expression while holding aloft a flame in the middle of an Ouroboric dragon—brings a wealth of emotional and symbolic associations to the card. The Fool is a great example of how discussions between Liz and I gave birth to ideas that we could never have come up with alone.

Q. What was your process for creating the artwork? 

A. My original idea was to hand carve woodcuts for every card, to scale, just as all of the late medieval Marseilles tarot decks were created. The art director, Michael Morris, loved my coloured woodcut prints, but there just wasn’t time to cut the wood for seventy-eight cards, print them, hand watercolor them and make any revisions that might be needed. So I invented a way to create a woodcut look digitally and made an analogue/digital hybrid for each card. The technique was still labor-intensive, but it made revisions far easier than having to cut new woodblocks and re-paint them. That said, three of the cards in the final set are scans of those woodblock prints. If I did my job well, they won’t be easy to spot.

Q. Are you interested in the world of tarot itself?

A. My father gave me my first set of tarot cards when I was ten years old. He had no idea what they were but he saw them at a garage sale for a dollar and knew I’d love the artwork. I saw in those cards a world of symbolism, mythology, and magic the likes of which I’d never seen before. I read about their use as an oracle, which fascinated me as a kid. But the most powerful aspect of the tarot for me was the idea that archetypes were represented in the Major Arcana and narratives were represented in the Minor Arcana. That’s some heavy-duty mojo: Death, Angels, the Devil—they were all there on these cards. And I realised early on that they were nothing to take lightly. Later, I learned that they were the oldest playing cards in Europe, the progenitors of the playing cards we use today. When travelling in Romania, I saw a friend’s mother using cards to divine whether we should all travel to Istanbul on a certain day or not. Even though she was using ordinary playing cards, she was using them to help us, to make sure we travelled safely.

I’m intrigued by the use of tools that generate apparently random results  (e.g. dice, runes, tea leaves, cracks in tortoise shells, or cards) for oracular purposes by people all over the world, since prehistory. It’s our way of saying, “I don’t know what to do, which way to go, or what choice to make.” We’re asking for help, and letting a higher power or the Great Mystery that controls the so-called “random” events in the universe intercede and possibly help us. To me, there’s something beautiful in that trust that we can have, whether you call it faith or psychological projection. And in my experience with oracles such as the I Ching, the greater one’s trust that a useful response might come through such tools, the more accurate the results can be.

People can make an oracle out of almost anything that they don’t feel that they control, but the tarot is the most visually beautiful and evocative tradition of divination I’m aware of. Even if you think the whole oracular thing is hogwash, the images are undeniably beautiful and powerful; for that reason, I’ve collected tarot decks since I was a kid.


HBO’s Game of Thrones Tarot is out now, find out more here!

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Craig Coss is an award-winning San Francisco Bay Area fine artist, illustrator and storyteller with an MFA in Visual Narrative from the School of Visual Arts. He’s the author of The Goddess Coloring Book: Traditional Images to Contemplate & Color. When he was given his first tarot deck at age ten, he knew it would point him in the right direction.

Visit his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Liz Dean is a tarot practitioner of thirty years’ standing and the author of four tarot decks and ten books, including The Ultimate Guide to Tarot and The Art of Tarot. She reads and teaches tarot at Psychic Sisters within Selfridges, London, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Visit her website or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

PLATTERS AND BOARDS | RECIPE

This visual cornucopia of a cookbook is THE guide to entertaining with effortless style. Celebrated author and food blogger Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organised by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy–to–prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings and notes on preparation and presentation.

Helpful advice includes tips on portioning, picking surfaces and vessels, pairing complementary textures and flavours, plus a handy chart featuring board suggestions for a variety of occasions (from holiday parties to baby showers). PLATTERS AND BOARDS is an inspiring housewarming or hostess gift and resource for throwing unforgettable get–togethers.

Shelly Westerhausen is the author of VEGETARIAN HEARTLAND and the founder of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her boyfriend, Wyatt.

The following recipe is from Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion by Shelly Westerhausen with Wyatt Worcel


FONDUE SPREAD

Fondue (the French word for “melt”) was a popular party theme in the fifties, sixties, and seventies in the United States, and it’s still just as thrilling to have a fondue party today as it was back then! With little preparation required and a communal serving style, fondue is an interactive way to bring people together at the table.

STRATEGY: Dice and prepare as much of the food ahead of time as you can. Steam the vegetables and cook the fondue right before eating. Look for color-coded fondue spears
so that each guest can keep track of their own eating utensils (especially if guests are eating directly from the spears instead of transferring to their plates and using forks).

DRINK PAIRING: Serve with an aromatic white wine like a Riesling. If you want to serve something more unique, add a splash of Kirsch, a German cherry brandy, as it is traditionally added to many cheese fondue recipes.

WYATT’S MEATY SUGGESTION: Salami and cheese are already a delicious match, but when this salty meat is dipped in warm fondue, it reaches an entirely new level of mouth-watering.

SERVES 6

  • Triple Cheese Truffle Oil Fondue (recipe follows)
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 cups [170 g] snap peas
  • 3 apples, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups [480 g] seedless grapes
  • 1 pumpernickel loaf, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 French bread loaf, cut into bite-size pieces

1. Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot and place in the centre of your serving table.

2. Working in batches, lightly steam the broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and bell peppers. Transfer the veggies to a platter with the snap peas and set on the serving table. Lightly toss the apple slices in lemon juice, place on a plate with the grapes and put on the serving table.

3. Combine the two breads on the last plate and place on the serving table.


Triple Cheese Truffle Oil Fondue

MAKES 1 1/2 CUPS [400 G]

  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup [240 ml] dry white wine
  • 11/2 cups [110 g] shredded white
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 11/2 cups [110 g] shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup [80 g] shredded Emmental cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 11/2 tsp white truffle oil

1. Rub the garlic all over the inside of a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and cornstarch and whisk together. Slowly pour in the white wine while whisking. Turn the heat to medium and let cook until simmering. Once simmering, add small handfuls of the shredded cheeses to the mixture, constantly whisking and making sure the cheese has completely melted before adding another handful. Once all the cheese has been added and melted, remove from the heat and season with pepper.

2. Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve right away.


Platters and Boards is published on the 20th of March 2018. Find out more here

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO #DRESSLIKEAWOMAN? | VIDEO

For Women’s History Month and to celebrate the publication of DRESS LIKE A WOMAN: WORKING WOMEN AND WHAT THEY WORE by ABRAMS Books, with essays by ROXANE GAY and VANESSA FRIEDMAN, we asked you to send in photos of what it means to you to #DressLikeAWoman!

Now, for International Women’s Day, we’re delighted to release the entries we’ve received!

And that’s not all…

We’d love to keep the conversation going and will be adding in any further entries until the end of March 2018! Tag us @abramschronicle on Instagram or Twitter or email us

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | DRAKE THE BOOKSHOP

This month’s Bookshop of the Month is Drake the Bookshop – a wonderful, family-run bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees.

Richard, a former Maths teacher, took the leap from teaching to opening the bookshop with his partner, Melanie Greenwood, in September 2016. They started out in a very small space within the local shopping arcade but expanded to nearby Silver Street within their first year.

They are book champions dedicated to promoting reading within their community through book clubs, author events, working with schools and festivals. Within the shop itself the team work hard to provide an eclectic mix of books to reach as many readers as possible, including those with dyslexia (they have a dedicated section), and their children’s area is particularly inviting with an excellent range of titles to choose from, encouraging the browsing and selection process from an early age. We’re also big fans of their 2018 promotion – ‘Space on the Shelf’ celebrating women in print (check out their blog). Next time you’re in the area do pop by to meet the enthusiastic booksellers and passionate reading advocates – I challenge you to leave without buying a book!

We caught up with Richard and Melanie and asked them a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our March Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Drake the Bookshop in three words?
MAKING READING FUN

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
The Children’s Reading Corner (courtesy of James Patterson), it’s where most of the laughs and giggles are

3. Where do you like to read?
Usually in bed, but the comfy chair in the corner of the shop is pretty cool too.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
THIS IS OUR DREAM JOB! We left our other jobs to do this. If we weren’t doing this it would be trying to be ‘The Good Life’ on a small patch of land!

5. Excluding Drake the Bookshop – what is your favourite bookshop?
BARTER BOOKS, ALNWICK – we can get lost in there for days!


You can follow the bookshop on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

BOOKS FOR PROGRESS | IWD & WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

It’s not long now until International Women’s Day (8th March) AND March is Women’s History Month, so we’ve been getting in the mood (are we ever not?) and have rounded up some recent books to empower, inspire and educate: books for progress!

Watch our video above and then scroll down for some inspiration… 


1. DRESS LIKE A WOMAN 

What does it mean to dress like a woman? This book turns that question on its head by sharing a myriad of interpretations throughout history. It’s a comprehensive look at the role of gender and dress in the workplace and contains essays by renowned fashion writer Vanessa Friedman and feminist writer Roxane Gay.

Find out more

2. BYGONE BADASS BROADS

It’s Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls for grown-ups, based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular Twitter series of forgotten trail-blazing women. There are witty bios and in-depth stories of women who dared to step outside of traditional gender roles for their times. With stylish and bold illustrations by Petra Eriksson.

Find out more

3. 200 WOMEN

This landmark book was published in October last year to rave reviews and proceeds go to organisations nominated by the women featured. Alongside photographic portraits by acclaimed photograph Kieran Scott, each of the 200 Women answer the same five questions and provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Interviewees include Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and many more from all walks of life.

Find out more

Visit the official 200 Women website

4. BAD GIRLS THROUGHOUT HISTORY & LEGENDARY LADIES

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Ann Shen’s brilliant Bad Girls Throughout History has been capturing hearts since 2016 but it never goes out of style and even has its own stationery range. Her next book comes out this April and looks set to do the same. Legendary Ladies is a lushly illustrated and empowering look at goddesses from around the world and an homage to the mighty women within us all.

Find out more 

5. YOUNGER READERS

There’s no shortage of inspiration on hand for younger readers – from toddlers to teen and beyond. This is just a small selection with some recent favourites.

Little Feminist Board Book Set – the Little Feminist range from Galison Mudpuppy includes a Board Book Set, a 500 Piece Family Puzzle and Playing Cards! All feature illustrations by Lydia Ortiz, and text by Emily Kleinman. These are bright, colourful and inspiring baby books featuring incredible women from history and from the modern day. Find out more

Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (illus. David Roberts) – these two characters have earned their places among the most beloved children’s characters and have inspired countless kids and adults to follow their dreams. They are great for the classroom and downloadable teacher’s guides and activities are available. 2018 is also the UK Year of Engineering, which Rosie Revere is very excited about. These rhyming picture books are perfect for ages 4-8, and each also has a linked Project Book for Science and Engineering related activities. Find out more

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen) – the hit graphic novel series from BOOM! Studios now has whole new adventures in middle-grade novel format. Welcome to Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types! The series stars all types of girls: gay and straight, trans- and cisgendered and celebrates friendship, adventure and general hilarity! Book 2 is coming in May. Find out more


COMPETITION

Colour in a Bygone Badass Broads colouring sheet (download here) and email or tag us on Twitter or Instagram to be in with a chance of winning a book bundle of Bygone Badass Broads, 200 Women, Dress Like a Woman and Bad Girls Throughout History! (UK & Ireland Only) 

There’s also a downloadable Bygone Badass Broads protest sign here!  


Find all these books and many, many more on our website!