The Artwork of Thi Bui

h1 July 20th, 2017    by jules

— From Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir


“The streetlights look brighter and the roads aren’t so busy before the sun comes up.
Dad turns on the heater and tells me stories. A kid at my school said my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river. But to me his English sounds like gentle rain.”
— From Bao Phi’s
A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui
(Click to enlarge spread)


Last week over at Kirkus, author and poet Bao Phi and I talked here about his debut picture book, A Different Pond (Capstone, August 2017), illustrated by Thi Bui.

In March of this year, Thi also released her debut graphic novel, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams), the story of her family’s escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the rebuilding of their lives in America.

I’ve got art here at 7-Imp today from both books.

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My Kirkus Chat with Seymour Simon

h1 July 20th, 2017    by jules

When I write, I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in trying to teach facts. The facts may change, but the enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”

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This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator Seymour Simon about his newest nonfiction picture book and his career of making books for children, which has spanned over 300 books and nearly 50 years.

That is here.

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Photo of Seymour Simon © Charles Harbutt and used by permission.

Antje Damm’s Waiting for Goliath

h1 July 18th, 2017    by jules

“Bear has been sitting and waiting since dawn.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

How about a German import this morning? Over at BookPage, I have a review of Antje Damm’s Waiting for Goliath (Gecko, August 2017), translated by Sally-Ann Spencer.

That is here, and today here at 7-Imp I have a few spreads.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #543: Featuring Suzy Lee

h1 July 16th, 2017    by jules

“This beautiful day …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Richard Jackson’s This Beautiful Day (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, August 2017), illustrated by Suzy Lee.

That is here, and below are a couple more spreads from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Lauren Tobia

h1 July 14th, 2017    by jules

“‘Shh!’ she said. ‘Amazing Anna Hibiscus is busy growing up.'”
— From Atinuke’s
You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia
and coming to shelves in September


Bao Phi, photographed by Anna Min

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with author Bao Phi, pictured above. We talk about his new picture book, A Different Pond (Capstone, August 2017), illustrated by Thi Bui.

That is here. Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some art from the book.

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Also pictured above is an illustration from the Anna Hibiscus chapter book series. I mentioned in last week’s Kirkus column that new titles are coming out in the Fall (Kane Miller), and so today I have some of Lauren Tobia’s illustrations from those new books. More artwork is below.


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Pete, Leda, Raúl

h1 July 13th, 2017    by jules

Listen. Pete participated his whole life. He led marches to end wars;
he stood on peace lines in cold and snow, heat and rain. …”

(Click to see spread in its entirety and to read the full text)

Here’s a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with author Leda Schubert. These are some spreads from Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing, illustrated by Raúl Colón.


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A Smorange Kind of Book

h1 July 11th, 2017    by jules

(Click to enlarge spread)

“The illustrations in this book were rendered in fruit.”

That’s the illustration note on the copyright page of Adam Rex’s newest picture book, Nothing Rhymes with Orange (Chronicle), coming to shelves in early August. (Even better: The copyright page info is all laid out as if on grocery receipts.) See the cover here? The apple and strawberry and blackberry and blueberries are stealing the show, proud as they are of their rhyming natures, but Orange is muttering, “So I guess I’ll just stand over here then.” What rhymes with orange after all?

An exuberant group of fruit-friends starts layin’ down some fruit rhymes in this very funny book: “Hit the beach in your cabana with a peach or a banana” is but one of the catchy rhymes. You may sometimes feel afraid of The Rhyming Picture Book, because in the hands of lesser authors, there can exist some sing-song rhyme-mangling that feels like an assault to one’s senses. But no worries. That is not this book.

Orange can be seen on the sidelines. Orange is unassuming, to say the least. Maybe has some self-esteem issues. Definitely engaging in some self-pity. “Hey, are you guys going to need me for this book?” Orange asks amidst all the rhyming, with maybe a bit too much hope, on the banana page.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #542: Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 July 9th, 2017    by jules

Christian’s art in the studio, sans text
(Click to enlarge)

Poet Julie Fogliano has a way with words, and in her newest picture book, When’s My Birthday? (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press), illustrated by Christian Robinson, she’s at her most child-friendly (which is saying a lot, since I think her previous books are inviting to—and delightful for—child readers). This one will be on shelves in September.

I was just about to type that birthdays are extra-special days for children, but hell. I get excited on my own birthday too, and (you can ask my friends) I’m a bit of a birthday bad-ass — in that I can tell you when your birthday is if we are good friends. Or I can, at the very least, get a few days close to it. (I always assume EVERYONE can do this, but evidently not.) It’s a fun party trick. And that’s because they’re little holidays for everyone — it’s your one special day to celebrate your very existence. I recently got into a conversation with my daughters about how I think most holidays are over-rated, and when they asked what the best holiday is, I had to say, simply: Birthdays.

This is a picture book (a tall, vertically-oriented one, as if the book itself is a giant candle) that celebrates the thrill children get when anticipating a birthday and all that comes with it — cakes, chocolate, candles, parties, presents. Even wishes. It’s a heap of unfettered joy, this one. Fogliano’s text is infectiously rhythmic and perfectly paced—this one begs to be shared aloud—and she even sprinkles in some nonsense words (“I’m just dreaming of my bluuuurfday” and “time for cakey / wakey wakey”). The text is from the point-of-view of an unnamed narrator (though we see one young girl multiple times), first wondering when the birthday will come; then dreaming of what the celebration will be like; and then, suddenly, “in the morning it’s my birthday!” Here, the child can hardly sleep from the excitement, but when she finally does, it’s “happy snore and snore to me!”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eva Eriksson

h1 July 7th, 2017    by jules

“Then Ella put the two heart halves on the ground. She laid them close together so they made a whole heart. …’Rest in peace, dear hearts!'”

Today at Kirkus, on account of a summer slump, I’ve got Seven Impossibly Good Bits of Book News. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about lazy summer (re)reading and mentioned Rose Lagercrantz’s See You When I See You (Gecko Press), illustrated by Eva Eriksson and coming to U.S. shelves in August of this year. It’s a wonderful addition to this wonderful series. Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve got some illustrations from that.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Leda Schubert

h1 July 6th, 2017    by jules

Who invented the hot shower? I owe most of my first lines to that brilliant person. I can research and write and think and suffer, and then one morning—if lucky—the shower gods deliver a sentence. It is that sentence that allows me to stop researching endlessly and begin to write ….”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Leda Schubert, pictured here, about her new picture book biography of Pete Seeger, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2017), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Leda’s photo taken by Bear Pond Books.