What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Suzy Lee and Kathryn Otoshi

h1 September 22nd, 2017    by jules

— From Kathryn Otoshi’s Draw the Line
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Suzy Lee’s Lines
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I write about Michael Mahin’s Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters (Atheneum, September 2017), illustrated by Evan Turk.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Suzy Lee’s Lines (Chronicle, September 2017) and Kathryn Otoshi’s Draw the Line (Roaring Brook, October 2017). Here at 7-Imp today is some art from each book.

Enjoy …

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A Moment with the Art of Chris Sheban

h1 September 21st, 2017    by jules

(Click to enlarge sketch)

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with author Patricia MacLachlan about several things, and one of those things was her newest picture book, Someone Like Me (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, July 2017). Today, I’ve got some art from the book from illustrator Chris Sheban. He also includes some early sketches.

If you like what you see here, I’ll have more soon. I’ve had Chris’s responses for a 7-Imp “Seven Questions Over Breakfast” interview for an embarrassingly long time. It’s taken me longer than I like to get to that interview. The good news is: This is because it will have so much art in it. But the challenge is that those longer, art-filled interviews take longer to format. Anyway, I hope to have that up soon (and I thank Chris for his everlasting patience).

The final art you see here below from Someone Like Me is sans text.

Enjoy! And thanks to Chris for sharing.

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h1 September 19th, 2017    by jules


I’ve a post at Calling Caldecott today, which is all Henkes, all Egg.

That is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #552:
Featuring Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

h1 September 17th, 2017    by jules

(Click to enlarge spread)

When I was a child, I used to wonder about things like souls and my very identity. That is, I wondered what made me, me and what it would be like if I were born as someone else. Hell, I’m 45 and still wonder about these things sometimes.

Paige Britt’s Why Am I Me? (Scholastic, August 2017), illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, is a contemplative book that gets at the heart of these questions — without, that is, providing any pat answers or, really, any answers at all. The illustrations feature a busy cityscape, a boy and a girl noticing each other on the subway and wondering, “why am I me … and not you?” The children look out to all the people bustling around them and wonder why it is they are who they are and “not someone else entirely.” They ponder these questions as they pass parks, people making music, people playing sports, and more. In the end, they meet and say hi to one another, and it’s clear a friendship has begun. Read the rest of this entry »

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Katherine Roy

h1 September 15th, 2017    by jules

Today over at Kirkus, I’m reading between the lines, so to speak. That is here.

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Last week, I talked here with author-illustrator Katherine Roy about her newest picture book, How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild (David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook Press, September 2017). Today, she follows up with some beautiful sketches from her research trip to Kenya, a bit of a peek into her process, and some final art from the book. (Pictured above is an early sketch.)


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My Kirkus Q&A with Patricia MacLachlan

h1 September 14th, 2017    by jules

I think that my slow process of becoming blind is a great reason for this book. When I now look in the mirror, I look like an impressionist painting — interesting perhaps, but not clear. What I do see is my childhood, sharp and clear. Someone Like Me grew out of my memories, a wonderful world that now serves me.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan, pictured here, about her newest picture book, Someone Like Me (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, July 2017), illustrated by Chris Sheban, and much more.

That Q&A is here.

Next week, I’ll follow up here with some of Chris’s art from the book. (I also have a lovely, art-filled interview with Chris I’m eager to post but which I’m ridiculously behind on. I hope to post that soon!)

Until tomorrow …

The Wood Sculptures of Moisés and Armando Jiménez

h1 September 13th, 2017    by jules

I’ve got some board book art here at 7-Imp today, though it didn’t begin its life as board book art. It was once a picture book (published in 2007), but the publisher, Cinco Puntos Press, has adapted this to the board book format — and they released it earlier this year. ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish is by Cynthia Weill and K. B. Basseches, and it features the wood sculptures, some of which I’m showcasing here today, of a Oaxacan family of artists, Moisés and Armando Jiménez. (This was the first book in Weill’s First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series.)

There’s no shortage of ABC books in the field of children’s literature, but this one stands out on shelves, given the vibrantly sculpted hand-carved figures on each page. The book goes from A to Z, featuring animals with names whose initial letters range from A to Z — from the armadillo, pictured below, to the zedonk (a cross between a donkey and a zebra, of all the things). Each brightly-colored page features the English and Spanish name for each creature, and some pages include notes on the letters themselves. For instance, “Ll is no longer a letter in the Spanish alphabet, but the sound is still in use.” (Way to go, llama.)

I’m taken by these sculptures. Here a few more.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Calling Caldecott

h1 September 12th, 2017    by jules

Hey, everybody. I’m joining the Calling Caldecott team over at the Horn Book. Here’s my post over there from last week where I wave hello to everyone from here in middle Tennessee.

Today is the day we’re kicking off the book-list discussion, asking for readers to suggest the picture books you’d like to see discussed this Fall and Winter. It won’t be just Martha, Lolly, and me over there for the next several months. We plan to invite guest bloggers to keep the conversations fresh and to ensure diverse voices.

So, if you love picture books, head on over there today—here’s the link—and weigh in, if you’re so inclined.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #551: Featuring Shawn Harris

h1 September 10th, 2017    by jules

“… Let’s think about and discuss the fact that this is the largest sculpture in all the land, and the most iconic symbol of the United States of America. Let’s talk about the fact that this statue has welcomed millions of visitors and immigrants to the USA.”
(Click each to enlarge)

I’ve a visit this morning from artist Shawn Harris, who is sharing preliminary and final images from his debut picture book, Dave Eggers’s Her Right Foot (Chronicle, September 2017). This one puts a lump in my throat every time I read it, and it’s a book Leonard Marcus has described as “one part stand-up routine, one part ode to the values that we as a nation have long held dear.”

This 104-page book starts out by laying out the history of the Statue of Liberty, and midway through it shifts to posit a theory. The iconic statue’s right foot, Eggers notes—“her entire right leg,” in fact—is in mid-stride. Where is she going? he wonders. Is she heading to a record store, to grab a panini, to Trenton? She is, he suggests, heading straight toward immigrants, “the poor, the tired, the struggling to breathe free. … She must meet them in the sea.” And that’s because …

“Liberty and freedom from oppression are not things you get or grant by standing around like some kind of statue. No! These are things that require action. Courage. An unwillingness to rest.”

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My Kirkus Q&A with Katherine Roy

h1 September 8th, 2017    by jules

I think change starts with education, and since writing/illustrating is my background and my skill set, drawing and informational storytelling is what I have to offer kids. The book and the presentations and my blog are tools, but the dream is to contribute to science and education — to make it dynamic and engaging, one page (or one video) at a time.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Katherine Roy, pictured above, about her newest picture book, How to Be an Elephant (David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook Press), coming to shelves in mid-September.

That Q&A is here.

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Photo of Katherine taken by Brian Futterman.