This week we welcome children’s book author Elisha Cooper. Cooper received a Caldecott Honor in 2018 for Big Cat, Little Cat, and River won the 2020 Robin Smith Picture Book Prize. Dance! was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. Cooper lives with his wife, daughters and cats in New York City.

Four Countries, One City

“The plan was simple, delicious, a little foolhardy. Bike to four restaurants around the city to watch the World Cup semifinals. Start with a Croatian restaurant in Astoria, then, at halftime, bike as fast as I could over the bridge to the Lower East Side and an Argentinean restaurant. Next day, same idea. France in Manhattan, then over the bridge to Queens again, and Morocco. At all four restaurants I’d sketch the scene, and taste the differences that our world, and city, have to offer.”

At Selo Restaurant on Broadway, customers peeled out of furry coats to reveal red-checkered Croatian jerseys. There was music, beer, Balkan sausage, and everyone was happy until Argentina scored.
After Lionel Messi beautifully assisted Argentina’s third goal, patrons at Buenos Aires Restaurant on East 6th Street threw their napkins in the air. They sang HIS name. A man in a suit danced on a chair. Waiters brought flan.

At Les Enfants de Bohème on Henry Street, the La Marseillaise played and customers settled into their chairs. Oysters on the half shell, steak frites, wine. The game began. France scored. It was all very pleasant.
Inside Dar Yemma on Steinway Street, the customers looked a little glum. Empty plates, spent cups of tea. The clock ticked down; Morocco was out. Then outside, the street filled with fans wrapped in flags, cheering and lighting flares into the night.

See more of Cooper’s work on his website

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.