Today is Midsummer; June 21st and it’s both Father’s Day and my mother’s 80th birthday.
My father died 10 years ago and is no longer around for me to fail to remember to send him a card in time. My mother missed out on even more cake and candle opportunities; her last birthday was her 48th.
Ah but it IS Midsummer, and if the sun is not quite shining yet, the roses are in full bloom, the first sweet peas are out and I have plans for making chocolate cake and eating strawberries. Being maudlin is no kind of remembrance- a celebratory day is called for.
And- hooray!- there ARE things to celebrate. Mango and Bambang are getting ready to meet the world. And their existence in beautiful stripy purple and gold hardback is a direct legacy of the years I did get to spend with my parents. Of their love. The words I wrote are in part my mother’s and my father’s, born out of all the words they read and spoke to me. Not to mention the words they wrote themselves: I have a box full of my mother’s letters which, although I was of course not the original recipient, make me laugh with recognition as she details the highs and lows of domestic life. Letter writing is a vanishing art but she was really a master of it.
And my father wrote his own book. Here it is, with a page opened at random-
Just like mine as you can see…teehee.
This week Mango and Bambang got their first mention in the press. Given the teeny amount of column space devoted to reviewing children’s books generally, it is quite likely this will be their ONLY mention in the press, so will you forgive me if I do a small amount of flag waving and immodest showing off here? Fiona Noble, children’s reviewer at The Bookseller, a trade publication for publishers and book sellers, highlighted our book as one of her September top picks:
Definitely a chocolate cake and strawberries day then. Because being a six- year-old’s book of the month is really what it’s all about.
Happy June 21st.