7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #772: Featuring Ekua Holmes

h1 December 5th, 2021    by jules


“Azaria’s house is next to the park. That girl can really jump some rope! She can do Double Dutch on one leg at a time. She can turn around and touch the ground. She can jump by herself with two ropes. She can even dance, jupm, and dream of winning a shiny trophy one day, all at the same time. When she flies down the street, swinging her rope, she lifts her long brown legs as high as the sun.”
(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)


 

I think that the smartest way I can tell you about Tricia Elam Walker’s Dream Street (Anne Schwartz Books, November 2021), illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is to suggest you read Dr. Michelle Martin’s review of it at the Horn Book, because she does such an eloquent job of describing it (“a stunning work of art that ­dismantles stereotypes about Black communities and portrays a place where love abounds”). The book, as another review notes, is more like a string of character studies than it is a story. It captures the lives, brief histories (in some instances), and aspirations of the members of the community on Dream Street, “the best street in the world!” Evidently, it’s based on the Roxbury neighborhood in Boston where the author and illustrator grew up together as cousins. There is even a spread featuring two young girls, one drawing and one writing: “The cousins dreams that someday they’ll create a picture book together about everyone they know and meet on Dream Street.”

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Make Meatballs Sing

h1 December 3rd, 2021    by jules



 

Here’s one of my favorite books from this year — Make Meatballs Sing: The Life & Art of Corita Kent, written by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kara Kramer. If you have missed it, by chance, Emmie Stuart writes about it today over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott, so you can read more there. Here is that link.

Enjoy!

A Visit with Sergio Ruzzier

h1 December 2nd, 2021    by jules



 
It’s a pleasure to welcome author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier to 7-Imp today. He visits to discuss and share images (both preliminary images and final art) from his most recent books, all published this year.

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Hat Tip to the Holiday Books

h1 November 30th, 2021    by jules



 

Over at Calling Caldecott, Elisa Gall and Jonathan Hunt ask why more holiday books don’t win the Caldecott and write about some holiday-themed picture books they’ve seen this year that they admire (including the one pictured here).

If you’re interested in reading more, that conversation is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #771: Featuring Brendan Wenzel

h1 November 28th, 2021    by jules



 
I’ve a review over at the Horn Book of Brendan Wenzel’s newest picture book, Inside Cat (Chronicle, October 2021).

That review is here, and below are some spreads.

Enjoy!

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Thankful

h1 November 25th, 2021    by jules


“I am thankful for all those things: love and dreams, night and morning.
For a moon and a sun that always come back.
For stars and candles to make my wishes on.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


 
There’s no doubt that this is a time of year — now until year’s end — when people talk a lot about gratitude. No matter how you celebrate the holidays (or if you even don’t), it’s undeniable the lasting effects of pausing to take stock of what you’re thankful for. (Neuroscientists have even shown that it rewires our brains in postive ways.) Elaine Vickers’s Thankful (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, September 2021), illustrated by Samatha Cotterill, tells the story of one child’s meditations on gratitude.

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Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest

h1 November 23rd, 2021    by jules


“The witch sighed. She had always found young children exhausting. She looked up.
‘All right then. What do you wish for?'”


 
I love to see the books of author-illustrator Ole Könnecke, so I was happy to see that Gecko Press has released here in the States his illustrated chapter book, Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest (September 2021). This modern fairy tale features a quick-thinking protagonist named Dulcinea. She knows not to ever enter the enchanted woods next to her home, but … well, sometimes you have to face your fears in order to save your father.

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Getting Graphic at Calling Caldecott

h1 November 22nd, 2021    by jules



 

Last week at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott, we posed the question: Should ALA establish an award specifically for graphic novels and comics, since currently none exists? Come and join the discussion, if you’re so inclined. That is here.

And today Niki Marion and Alec Chunn discuss the 2021 graphic novels they would love to see garner some Caldecott love, what they call the “CaldeComics.” Their discussion is here.

p.s. This isn’t about a graphic novel, but don’t miss Sabrina Montenigro’s post about Selina Alko’s I Is for Immigrants.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #770: Featuring Nikkolas Smith

h1 November 21st, 2021    by jules

It has been troubling to me to see the number of news stories about states (including mine) passing legislation to ban discussions in classrooms and libraries that address the racism that is very much a part of America’s past — and present. This has a huge effect on the books that are then shared in classrooms. As you can read here, the people going after critical race theory are engaging in overexaggerations of what it really is. We will never progress with regards to racial equality in this country without giving students truthful accounts of our country’s racist past and present, and giving young people the skill set to critically examine how systemic racism has and continues to shape this country is but one step toward that progress.

Cue Nikole Hannah-Jones’s The 1619 Project. You may be familiar with its New York Times’s and/or podcast iterations, and now it’s in book form. (I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my holiday wish list.) Hannah-Jones also joined Renée Watson to pen the powerful picture book The 1619 Project: Born on the Water (Kokila, November 2021). Read the rest of this entry »

In the Meadow of Fantasies

h1 November 18th, 2021    by jules


(Click cover to enlarge)


 
I normally open posts with art, but given that this is one of my favorite picture-book covers of the year, I kick off this post with the cover. (Don’t worry. There are spreads below!)

Hadi Mohammadi’s evocatively named In the Meadow of Fantasies (Elsewhere Editions, November 2021), illustrated by Nooshin Safkhoo and translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili, was originally published in Iran in 2017 and is now on shelves here in the U.S. It tells a tender and beguiling story about a child’s imagination and is a story of generosity: “Not a folktale, not a poem, not a dream,” writes the Publishers Weekly review, “but some whirling mixture of the three, this lulling recitation by Iranian author Mohammadi affirms generosity as a natural impulse.”

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