What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Komako Sakai

h1 March 24th, 2017    by jules

“When she held the kitten, its tummy moved in and out and it purred deep in its throat. ‘Even though it’s so tiny,’ Hina said, ‘it’s alive.’ The kitten gave a little mew,
as if saying goodbye to its mother.”
— From Lee’s
The Lost Kitten, illustrated by Komako Sakai
(Click to enlarge)


— From Kimiko Aman’s The Fox Wish,
illustrated by Komako Sakai

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got the ladies on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about two new illustrated books from Komako Sakai — Kimiko Aman’s The Fox Wish (Chronicle, March 2017) and Lee’s The Lost Kitten (Gecko, April 2017). I’m following up today with art from each book.


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Jon Agee’s Life on Mars

h1 March 21st, 2017    by jules

I’ve got a BookPage review here of Jon Agee’s Life on Mars (Dial, February 2017). And I’m following up that review today here at 7-Imp with some spreads from the book.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #526:
Featuring Lemniscates and Isabelle Simler

h1 March 19th, 2017    by jules

“Trees have their heads in the clouds …”
— From Lemniscates’s
(Click to enlarge spread)


“The wings of blue morpho butterflies sparkle against the morning glories.”
— From Isabelle Simler’s
The Blue Hour
(Click to enlarge spread)

This post today is brought to you by my love for the color blue.

Today, I’ve got some illustrations from Isabelle Simler’s The Blue Hour, which was originally released in France in 2015 but arrived on U.S. shelves last month (Eerdmans). Trees (Candlewick Studio, March 2017), written and illustrated by Lemniscates, has a 2015 copyright date, but I’m unsure if it was previously published elsewhere. You can read here all about the artist behind the name Lemniscates. (Please note that some of the colors in some of these illustrations from The Blue Hour today appear a bit brighter than they do in the book. I tried to fix that but was unable to. It’s all the more reason to go find a copy of the book for yourself, right?)

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Elisha Cooper, Tao Nyeu, & Taeeun Yoo

h1 March 17th, 2017    by jules

— From Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat, Little Cat


— From Joyce Sidman’s Round, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
(Click to enlarge)


— From Kate McMullan’s Mama’s Kisses, illustrated by Tao Nyeu
(Click to enlarge)

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got a bit of a Komako Sakai appreciation, given that she has two new illustrated books out this Spring.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat, Little Cat (Roaring Brook, March 2017); Joyce Sidman’s Round (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2017), illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; and Kate McMullan’s Mama’s Kisses (Dial, March 2017), illustrated by Tao Nyeu.

I’m following up with some art from each book today, and Elisha is here to tell us more about Big Cat, Little Cat.

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The Magic Touch of Staying in Closer Touch

h1 March 16th, 2017    by jules

I’ve got something entirely different over at Kirkus today. Instead of talking to a picture book or middle-grade author or to an illustrator, I talk to a volunteer for a literacy program run by Ann Arbor’s Children’s Literacy Network. This non-profit organization’s program, called Staying in Closer Touch, unites incarcerated parents and their children through children’s books. I heard all about it on a recent visit to Ann Arbor and wanted to write about it, should other literacy non-profits want to learn more.

That Q&A with volunteer Bonnie Schramm is here. (Corduroy is mentioned in our chat. Hence, the image here.)

Until tomorrow …

Seven Questions Over Lunch with Viviane Schwarz

h1 March 14th, 2017    by jules

Although I’ve featured art from her books over the last several years, the last time British author-illustrator Viviane Schwarz visited was 2009. (That was fun.) It’s a pleasure to have her visit today for some coffee. We’re having lunch, not breakfast, because I had a slow start to my day. But we’ll still have coffee, while she shows me some of her art, because she’s a fan. “I have one cup of black coffee,” she said when I asked her about breakfast, “on the sofa, watching whatever black-and-white movie is on. That is a good breakfast. An excellent breakfast is when it’s sunny, and I have time to cook up eggs and marmite soldiers and take them into the park to eat under a tree.”

I had to look up what marmite soldiers are, but I fully approve. I also approve of going to the park. (Right about now, I wish this weren’t a cyber-breakfast and that we were really heading outside.) And I think that what was once going to be breakfast would still serve as a great lunch.

Not only do I enjoy Viviane’s books and her artwork, but I enjoyed reading many of her responses today. I thank her for sharing art in this interview — and for creating some of the pieces, such as the one above, specifically for her 7-Imp visit.

Let’s get to it. ….

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #525: Featuring Jon Klassen

h1 March 12th, 2017    by jules

I’ve got a BookPage review of the very funny Triangle, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, March 2017). The review is over here at their site, if you want to read about it. And I’m following up with a couple of spreads from the book today. (They are below. Pictured above is the book’s cover, actually.)

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did
Last Week, Featuring Piotr Parda and Rafael Yockteng

h1 March 10th, 2017    by jules

“Keep me company on the way home.”
— From Jairo Buitrago’s
Graduation Day, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Piotr Parda’s Graduation Day
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a wee picture book round-up. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about two books that reflect children living in poverty — Jairo Buitrago’s Walk With Me, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng (Groundwood, March 2017), and Piotr Parda’s Graduation Day (Ripple Grove, March 2017). I’m following up with some spreads from each book today.

Until Sunday …

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Paintings and Protest Songs

h1 March 9th, 2017    by jules

“At the club, Barney told Billie that ‘Strange Fruit’ would be the last song in her set, with no encores to follow. When it was over, she’d quietly leave the stage.”(Click to enlarge spread)

Since I talked over at Kirkus last week (here) with painter and illustrator Charlotte Riley-Webb, I’m following up, as always, with some art from the book we discussed, Gary Golio’s Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song (Millbrook/Lerner, February 2017).

More spreads below. Until tomorrow …

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The Art of Lin Wang

h1 March 7th, 2017    by jules

“from the darkness / an animal’s sudden cry— / its fear, and mine …”
(Click to see text and spread in its entirety)

We don’t see picture book adaptations of folktales as often as we used to. As Betsy Bird wrote here at the tail end of 2016:

A generation ago, fairy tales and folktales were ubiquitous. Because libraries made up a significant share of the book buying market, they could set the terms. And what they liked were fairy and folktales. The publishing industry complied and life was good. The rise of big box stores, to say nothing of the internet, heralded the end of the fairy/folktale era. With libraries only a fraction of the buying force, the picture book became king and the fairy and folktales almost disappeared entirely. It’s only in the last few years that small publishers have picked up the slack. While The Big Six become The Big Five, soon to be The Big Four, small independent publishers are daring to do what the big guys won’t. Publishing these books has become a kind of rebellion with kids reaping the benefits.

That’s a good summary of what happened. Today, I’ve got a few spreads from Curtis Manley’s The Crane Girl, illustrated by Lin Wang (Lee & Low, March 2017). Not only is this a picture book folktale, still an unusual thing to see, it’s actually an adaptation of more than one Japanese folktale. In a closing note, the author writes:

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