How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

Activities the Queen most certainly does not do: strenuous kitty snuggling,vigorous soccer dribbling, spirited dancing, making tea. Until one day, she grows dissatisfied with the tea her butler has prepared, and a culinary and cross-cultural hot air balloon adventure begins.

The Perfect Cup of Tea

I have always loved drinking tea, both at home and in other parts of the world. I once spent an afternoon with a family that I met at the top of a Turkish mountain. We drank black tea and talked for hours, although I did not speak Turkish and they did not speak English. How did we understand each other? I’m not sure, but we did. Perhaps that is the magic of tea.

Over the years, I’ve learned that making tea for someone else is one of the most important things any of us can do. Tea slows down time, improves conversation, and makes your guest feel cozy and relaxed. My friend and collaborator Gabi Swiatkowska is not only an excellent illustrator, she is also a master at making tea. Her kettle is always on the stove, and my teacup was refilled over and over at her kitchen table in France this summer. When she comes to New York, I save my prettiest tea cup for her. I hope we will still be making tea for each other when we are old ladies.

When I first decided to write this book, I had an image of a spoiled Queen drinking tea by herself, and growing more miserable every day. I knew right away that she would have to go on an adventure to find the secret to the perfect cup of tea. The children she meets in Japan, India and Turkey teach her how to make tea, but also teach her to be more open-minded, independent, and generous. As the Queen learns, the perfect cup of tea is the one you make for someone else—a simple act of kindness that might just start a friendship.

The Perfect Cup of Tea is the One You Make for Someone Else


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