I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

h1 October 8th, 2015    by jules

(Click to enlarge)

I’ve got a BookPage review here of Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s newest book, I Used to Be Afraid (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, September 2015).

Below is a bit more art from the book, and if you visit this page of Laura’s site, you can read all about the book and its progression from idea to final story.

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Bed-Time Before Breakfast

h1 October 6th, 2015    by jules

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I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Patrick McDonnell’s Thank You and Good Night (Little, Brown, October 2015). That review is here, and I’ve got a bit of art from it here at 7-Imp today.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #452: Featuring Moira Birch Swiatkowski

h1 October 4th, 2015    by jules


Hey there, dear kickers. I had a post lined up today, saying that I’d be taking a week-long blog break. A couple months ago, I received the James Marshall Fellowship from the University of Connecticut. That means I’m going to head up there to look through the papers of author-illustrator James Marshall. (Big fan here of his work. I’m excited!) I was going to do that this week, but plans have changed. My father is actually on hospice and is, I think, nearing the end. So, I’ll do that trip another day, another time.

But that sudden change in plans left me with nothing to post today, especially since I’m out at my parents’ house. You all know it breaks my heart to put up a post without any art. I decided to ask the talented Moira Birch Swiatkowski, a regular kicker herself (and an artist previously featured here at 7-Imp), if she could share some art. She gave me permission to pick whatever image I wanted from her site, and I thought the above image was fitting. As you can read here, it’s all about breakfast and all about fathers.

Since I’m around this week after all, please do leave your kicks, if you’re so inclined.

[Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.]

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Freya Blackwood, Jean-François Dumont, Wolf Erlbruch, Torben Kuhlmann, Viviane Schwarz, Annemarie van Haeringen, & Rafael Yockteng

h1 October 2nd, 2015    by jules

“‘I am the king,’ said the king. ‘Play for me!'”
– From
The King and the Sea


– From I Am Henry Finch


“‘Coco! Pay attention! Pull that thread out and follow the pattern, NOW!’ …”
– From
Coco and the Little Black Dress
(Click to enlarge spread)


“My new blanket grew just as warm and
soft and comfortable as my old blanket.”
– From
My Two Blankets
(Click to enlarge spread)


– From Moletown
(Click to enlarge spread)


“When people do notice me, they make a face. I tell myself that I must not smell very good. It’s true that it’s been a long time since I’ve bathed,
but a bear smells like a bear — that’s just how it is. …”
– From
I Am a Bear
(Click to enlarge spread)


– From Two White Rabbits
(Click to enlarge)

That may be my longest blog post title ever. Er, sorry to your eyes.

But it does mean that I have a lot of art for you today.

First things first: If you’re so inclined to read about the 150th birthday of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, I’ve got some thoughts over at Kirkus today about why The Complete Alice, released by Macmillan last month, is well worth your time. That link is here.

Secondly, last week I wrote here about the following picture book imports (or books created by authors and/or illustrators who live overseas):

Today I’ve got a bit of art from each one. (I don’t have art from Kes Gray’s Frog on a Log?, illustrated by Jim Field and also mentioned in my column, but it’s funny stuff.)

Enjoy all the art. …

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My Chat with Ronald L. Smith, If You Didn’t Know …

h1 October 1st, 2015    by jules

I … don’t think we as writers should censor ourselves too much when it comes to scary stuff for kids. Everyone likes a good, scary story! These books also help kids learn about life and consequences and bravery.

But don’t make the mistake of talking down to kids or trying to moralize. They can sniff it out miles away.”

* * *

Supernatural Southern Gothic, anyone? Over at Kirkus today, I talk to debut author Ronald L. Smith, pictured here, about his new novel Hoodoo, released last month by Houghton Mifflin.

That conversation is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo by Erik Kvalsvik and used by permission of Ronald L. Smith.

Momo & OHora (& Frank Zappa) Before Breakfast

h1 September 30th, 2015    by jules

Author-illustrator Zachariah OHora visits 7-Imp today to talk about his newest picture book, My Cousin Momo (Dial, June 2015). Momo is a flying squirrel, and he throws his cousins for a loop when he visits and does things his own way. You know, we all have a cousin like that (thank goodness, because normal people worry me). It’s a story about family and acceptance and embracing your inherent weirdness, and it’s very funny. OHora has a style all his own, and you can see that for yourself below in the art he shares. He also shares some preliminary images, which are always fun to see.

Let’s get right to it. …

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And to Think He Was Almost a Drama Critic . . .

h1 September 28th, 2015    by jules

Right on the heels of his Eric Carle Honor, I have a long chat with editor Neal Porter over at Phil & Erin Stead’s Number Five Bus blog about publishing picture books today and all kinds of other stuff. The Barry Manilow moment is courtesy of the Steads.

That interview is here. It’s got some sneak-peeks at upcoming picture book art (from the likes of Jerry Pinkney, Christian Robinson, Hadley Hooper, Eric Rohmann, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Phil Stead, Antoinette Portis, and probably more), which makes me especially happy.


7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #451: Featuring Joyce Wan

h1 September 27th, 2015    by jules

“Ten! Ugh!”
A final spread, followed by its sketch

We’re going to say goodbye to summer today, dear kickers, with a book I had meant to post about during the summer months — but better late than never. We’ll use this opportunity to wave farewell to swimming outside and lounging in the sun, since this past week marked the first day of Autumn.

If you read about picture books as often as I do, you may have seen the New York Times coverage in May of Joyce Wan’s The Whale in My Swimming Pool (Farrar Straus Giroux, April 2015), where Emily Jenkins wrote, in part:

Wan is a greeting card designer and the creator of many board books. Her curvilinear and comforting style recalls Hello Kitty and other Japanese pop art in its fat dark lines and squat characters, but the hero has an antic physicality and a wide range of emotional expressions. Her world feels safe and joyful, even as the hero experiences anger and frustration.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eric Carle

h1 September 25th, 2015    by jules

“‘Let’s trade hats,’ / The rider said, / But, ‘Neigh, neigh!’ / Said the horse.
‘Let’s trade heads / Instead, okay?’ / And so they did, / Of course.”

(Click to enlarge)


This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a round-up of Fall 2015 picture book imports — or at least those written and/or illustrated by folks from other countries. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Eric Carle’s The Nonsense Show (Philomel), coming in October. Pictured above is a spread from the book.

Until Sunday …



* * * * * * * *

THE NONSENSE SHOW. Copyright © 2015 by Eric Carle. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher, Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, New York.

One More Moment with R. Gregory Christie …

h1 September 24th, 2015    by jules

(Click each spread to enlarge)


Here’s a quick post to share a bit of art from R. Gregory Christie’s new book, Mousetropolis (Holiday House, September 2015), as a follow-up to our chat last week at Kirkus.



Until tomorrow. …

* * * * * * *

Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by R. Gregory Christie. Used by permission of Holiday House.