7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #570: Featuring Amiko Hirao

h1 January 21st, 2018    by jules

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review of Cynthia Grady’s Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind (Charlesbridge, January 2018), illustrated by Amiko Hirao.

That review is here, and today I’m following up with some spreads from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus (and Chapter 16) This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Brian Pinkney

h1 January 19th, 2018    by jules

— From the poem, “Smothered”

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve two brand-new picture books that are, in part, about the emotional intelligence of children (and, well, rabbits).

That is here.

Over at Tennessee’s own Chapter 16 today, I have a Q&A with author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long. They will be in Nashville soon talking about their newest picture book, Love. That Q&A is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Andrea Davis Pinkney’s and Brian Pinkney’s Martin Rising: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, January 2018).

I’m following up with some art from the book today, but I also highly recommend you head to the Horn Book’s site and watch this video interview with Andrea about the book. I watched that earlier this week and enjoyed it.

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Lita and Mary

h1 January 18th, 2018    by jules

I wanted to write about Mary Shelley for over a decade after I learned that she was a pregnant teenage run-away when she wrote her novel, Frankenstein. That blew me away. Why did I not know more about her life when she should have been an incredible role model to young women? We’ve all heard the popular myth that Frankenstein was conceived spontaneously on a stormy night when the poet Lord Byron dared a small party of fellow expatriates to write ghost stories. But the myth strips away the identity of the brilliant young woman who wrote one of the most influential novels of the Romantic era and places credit for its inspiration in the hands of a man. Countless events in Mary’s life before and after that evening played a much greater role in the horror novel’s creation. ”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Lita Judge, pictured here, about her new book about Mary Shelley (and her first YA book), which she describes as “part biography, part visual fantasy, and part feminist allegory.” Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein (Roaring Brook Press) hits shelves this month.

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with some art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Lita Judge taken by Ben Conant.

A Visit from Erin Stead . . .

h1 January 16th, 2018    by jules

Over here at Kirkus at the tail end of last year, I wrote briefly (in my 2017 Children’s Book Ghost File) about The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead with illustrations by Erin Stead. You can head over there to read what I wrote, if you’re so inclined, but it boils down to this: What a remarkable achievement this book is. And what an entertaining story.

I also mentioned the exquisite illustrations by Erin. Today, I am getting out of the way and handing 7-Imp over to her so that she can share what it was like (for both her and Phil) to take on this project. She also shares lots of images and art, which you know makes this blogger happy. I thank her for sharing.

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h1 January 15th, 2018    by jules


I have the pleasure of writing about Julia Denos’s Windows, illustrated by E. B. Goodale, over at Calling Caldecott today.

That is here.

If you want to see a couple of spreads from the book, you can head to this 2017 7-Imp post.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #569: Featuring Júlia Sardà

h1 January 14th, 2018    by jules

I’ve some spreads today from Kathleen Krull’s One Fun Day with Lewis Carroll: A Celebration of Wordplay and a Girl Named Alice (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2018), illustrated by Júlia Sardà. In this book, which puts a fine-tune focus on Carroll’s creative abilities with language and his sense of adventure, we meet him as a young man, his ten brothers and sisters in tow. They adored him, Krull writes, and he led them on outings, played games with them, and made up stories for them. Krull emphasizes his sense of fun, even after he grew “into a prim and proper Victorian gentleman.”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Sophie Blackall, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh,
Qin Leng, Sara Palacios,
LeUyen Pham, and Melissa Sweet

h1 January 12th, 2018    by jules

“… This is the Earth that Lappé dreamed.”
— Melissa Sweet’s illustration of Frances Moore Lappé from Susan Hood’s
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World


“She turned the guitar upside down and played it backwards.
It was kind of like brushing your teeth with your foot. …”
— From Laura Veirs’
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten,
illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

(Click to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of the greatest writers. But it might surprise you to know that Jane lived a simple life.
She wasn’t rich or even very famous in her time.”
— From Deborah Hopkinson’s
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen,
illustrated by Qin Leng

Over at Kirkus today, I write about Andrea Davis Pinkney’s and Brian Pinkney’s Martin Rising: Requiem for a King. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about three new picture books featuring some remarkably talented and fearless women — Susan Hood’s Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World (Harper, January 2018), illustrated by 13 different artists; Deborah Hopkinson’s Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl (Balzer + Bray, January 2018), illustrated by Qin Leng; and Laura Veirs’ Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten (Chronicle, January 2018), illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

I’m following up with some art from each book today.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

h1 January 11th, 2018    by jules

“… Mrs. Vandenberg / holds up her hand.
Write about anything! / It’s not black and white.
But it is. / Charles is black, / and I’m white.”

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Irene Latham’s and Charles Waters’s Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Carolrhoda Books, January 2018), illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls.

Today, I’ve a bit of art from the book.

Enjoy. …

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Love Wins

h1 January 9th, 2018    by jules

“Paula the cat / not thin nor fat / is as happy as house cats can be …”
(Click to enlarge and read poem in its entirety)

I’ve a few spreads today from Nikki Giovanni’s I Am Loved (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, January 2018), illustrated by Ashley Bryan.

This is a collection of primarily free verse poems from Giovanni — some previously published and the rest, brand-new. The poems are about memory, loss, friendship, and family — and (delightfully) there’s one about a house cat, “not thin nor fat,” who tires of her view and heads out to sea (pictured above). “Quilts,” a poem dedicated to artist Sally Sellers, comes from the point of view of an elderly woman, who likens herself to a “fading piece of cloth.” The ending is striking in its poignancy:

When I am frayed and stained and drizzled at the end
Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt
That I might keep some child warm …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #568: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Deena So’Oteh

h1 January 7th, 2018    by jules

It’s the first Sunday of the month, dear Imps, which means I like to turn 7-Imp over to an illustration student. Today, I have Deena So’Oteh, who is originally from Russia and is a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Deena shares many pieces of artwork today and tells us a bit about herself. Let’s get to it. I thank her for visiting.

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