7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #548: Featuring Natalie Nelson

h1 August 20th, 2017    by jules

It’s a pleasure to have illustrator Natalie Nelson visiting 7-Imp today. Natalie’s debut picture book was released last year, and below she tells me all about that book, as well as the one that followed early this year (and one coming in 2018). I very much enjoyed each one of these books, especially JonArno Lawson’s Uncle Holland (an illustration is pictured above), and I look forward to what’s next.

I thank Natalie for sharing words and images today. Let’s get right to it. (If you want to see more of her work, her website is here, and her Instagram is @nelsonknatalie.)

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Rémi Courgeon

h1 August 18th, 2017    by jules

“‘Swing that rope!’ yelled Feather’s coach. … Suddenly, he understood that Feather was no wimp. The girl could hit hard, especially with her left. And in boxing,
being a southpaw gives you a rare advantage. Feather’s training had begun.”

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got two Japanese imports and two sets of breasts. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Rémi Courgeon’s Feather (Enchanted Lion, September 2017), originally published in 2012. I’m following up with some art from the book today. Enjoy!

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Chris Barton on Dazzle Ships . . .

h1 August 17th, 2017    by jules

I love research, and in the case of this book, my main research challenge wasn’t the volume of information or number of sources. … Instead, the big challenge was navigating the potential for tangents and sprawl in my search for a through-line.”


* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Chris Barton, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion (Millbrook/Lerner, September 2017), illustrated by Victo Ngai.

That Q&A is here.

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

Until tomorrow …


Jacques Goldstyn’s Letters to a Prisoner

h1 August 16th, 2017    by jules

(Click to enlarge slightly)

Just earlier this year (here in April), I wrote about Jacques Goldstyn’s Bertolt, released by Enchanted Lion Books. I was pleased to see that he has another translated title this year on American shelves (translated from the French, as Jacques lives in Montreal). The wordless Letters to a Prisoner (Owlkids Books), originally published in 2015 as Le prisonnier sans frontières, will be on shelves in mid-September.

The story, told entirely via Goldstyn’s spacious loose-lined pen and watercolor illustrations, begins with peaceful protesters. Goldstyn depicts the messages on the signs they hold via abstract symbols: Their signs have red dots, and the gun-toting military they oppose are in all blue and speak in blue squares. When violence breaks out, one man is thrown into prison. He dreams of freedom and seeing once again the child with whom he protested (I assume it’s his daughter), and he marks the days of his prison stay on his wall. When a bird brings him a letter, the guard rips it up. The persistent bird brings many more, yet the guard carries them all away and sets them afire. One striking spread shows “We are with you” in the smoke, rendered in over ten different languages. Clearly, the prisoner has become a hero of sorts, the recipient of a letter-writing campaign. The rest of the book leaves the prison walls, Bertolt showing readers the support the prisoner has from all walks of the world. And I can’t very well give away the ending, but it’s a moving one.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #547: Featuring Rebecca Green

h1 August 13th, 2017    by jules

I always enjoy sharing the work of debut artists, but I also like showcasing the work of local artists. I have one illustrator today, Rebecca Green, who is both things. She sees her debut this September in How To Make Friends with a Ghost (Tundra), and she lives here in middle Tennessee (Nashville). In fact, she’s painted a story time mural for Parnassus Books—you can see pics in this post from the bookstore—and I can’t wait to see it in person.

How To Make Friends with a Ghost is a sweet and quirky faux how-to guide on creating lasting friendships with ghosts, beginning with a girl who is “found” by a ghost (on account of being sweet, warm, and kind) and ending with the same girl as an elderly woman, still hangin’ with her spectral friend. In the end, the woman becomes a ghost herself and the two remain friends “even after the end.” In the hands of Rebecca, this is not as dark and grisly as it might sound; her gouache and colored pencil illustrations, rendered in a subdued gray and red palette, communicate tenderness. This is, more than anything else, a friendship story. Read the rest of this entry »

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Floyd Cooper, Matthew Cordell, Hadley Hooper, and Jeanette Winter

h1 August 11th, 2017    by jules

— From Philip C. Stead’s The Only Fish in the Sea,
illustrated by Matthew Cordell


“Zaha’s designs don’t look like other designs. Her buildings
swoosh and zoom and flow and fly. ‘The world is not a rectangle.'”
— From Jeanette Winter’s
The World Is Not a Rectangle:
A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid
(Click to enlarge spread)


“… Rodney was inside, but he wanted to be outside. …”
— From Carmen Bogan’s
Where’s Rodney?,
illustrated by Floyd Cooper

(Click to enlarge spread)


“Lulu climbs the tallest trees in the neighborhood …”
— From Liz Garton Scanlon’s
Another Way to Climb a Tree,
illustrated by Hadley Hooper

(Click to enlarge)


At Kirkus this morning, I’ve got a French picture book import. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Liz Garton Scanlon’s Another Way to Climb a Tree (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, August 2017), illustrated by Hadley Hooper; Carmen Bogan’s Where’s Rodney? (Yosemite Conservancy, August 2017), illustrated by Floyd Cooper; Philip C. Stead’s The Only Fish in the Sea (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, August 2017), illustrated by Matthew Cordell; and Jeanette Winter’s The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid (Beach Lane, August 2017).

I’ve got art from each book today — and, in some cases, some preliminary sketches.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

This Is How We Do It

h1 August 10th, 2017    by jules

I talked to Matt Lamothe last week at Kirkus (here) about about This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World (Chronicle, May 2017).

Today here at 7-Imp are some spreads from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Next Year

h1 August 8th, 2017    by jules

“I remember that morning. So different from all the other mornings: Cool. Clear.
A run-to-my-cousin’s-house-and-play-outside, windless, hopeful day …”

Know what I like to see, dear Imps? The artwork of Gary Kelley. (Here’s a 2014 case-in-point.) He has illustrated a new picture book, coming to shelves next month. Ruth Vander Zee’s Next Year: Hope in the Dust (Creative Editions) is a stark and stirring tribute to the horrors of the American Dust Bowl in the 1930s. But, ultimately, it’s a story of hope (as the sub-title tells us), this story of one family’s extended struggle with dust and drought and a boy who grows into adulthood, determined to preserve the land his family owned.

The author captures with precise and evocative language the before-and-after of the traumatic events of the Dust Bowl. In the opening spread, a young boy plays with his friends: “I remember that morning,” the book opens. It’s Black Sunday, April 14, 1935. It was a “windless, hopeful day.” The next spread shows the same illustration on the book’s cover. It’s a dramatic moment, “like midnight in the middle of the day.” The wordless spread following that is utter blackness, save the family’s tiny home at the bottom of the spread, engulfed in darkness. Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #546: Featuring Bob Shea

h1 August 6th, 2017    by jules

“Well, things are plenty scary right here. See? A kitty drinking milk!
Maybe it’s the kind of kitty that doesn’t like hugs? That’s scary!”

It’s a pleasure to showcase some art and preliminary images today from Bob Shea’s The Scariest Book Ever (Disney-Hyperion, July 2017). Remember last year’s The Happiest Book Ever? Well, now it’s time to get PETRIFIED. Maybe a bit panicky . …

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s the ghost protagonist of this very funny book who is scared. He even intentionally pours some orange juice on himself so that he can disrobe and avoid heading into the scary dark woods without the reader (who sees these scary woods on the title page spread). He knows, after all, there’s a dark hole in the forest, and that “nothing good ever comes out of a dark hole!” Even when the reader is given an opportunity to tell the ghost that it’s an adorable bunny who pops out of said hole, the ghost is still wary. This interaction with the reader continues, the ghost breaking the book’s fourth wall the whole way — and young readers will be thrilled to be one-up on the protagonist, privy as they are to the happy goings-on in the forest — the bunny plans for a spooky, but ADORBS (of course), costume party. Read the rest of this entry »

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

h1 August 4th, 2017    by jules

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got new August picture books that celebrate creative thinkers and problem-solvers and out-of-the-box thinkers of many types. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Eva Lindström’s My Dog Mouse (Gecko, August 2017), originally published in New Zealand in 2015 and translated by Julia Marshall. Today here at 7-Imp, I have some art from the book. (Some of these colors are a bit off, FYI. They’re slightly brighter than they appear in the book.)

Until Sunday …

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