Archive for the 'Etcetera' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #314: Featuring Priya Kuriyan

h1 Sunday, January 20th, 2013



 
I’m doing something different this Sunday.

Usually, I feature artwork from an illustrator, but today I’m shining the spotlight on International Book Giving Day, which has its own Web presence here and which will be February 14. I like the official poster, featured above, which has artwork from Priya Kuriyan.

Here’s the low-down on the big day, straight from their Web site:

“International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to 1) give a book to a friend or family member, 2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or 3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally. In addition, we encourage people to support the work of nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) that work year round to give books to children.”

I think that’s just about the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Dear Imps, feel free, if you’re so inclined, to spread the word about this initiative. If you or other people you know even want ideas on how to contribute further, there are some great ideas listed here. (You can even purchase bookplates at the International Book Giving Day Zazzle page.)

P.S. Travis Jonker’s post about this is way more fun. Read the rest of this entry �

Instead of My Usual Sunday Kicks,
Some Brief, But Heartfelt, Thoughts …

h1 Saturday, December 15th, 2012

I did have planned for today illustrations from a children’s book and seven of my own separate kicks, as is the tradition here on Sundays at 7-Imp, but I still feel very hushed over the tragic news on Friday. Read the rest of this entry �

Two Quick Notes of the Stephen and Steven Variety

h1 Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

A couple of quick 7-Imp notes here, while I drink my coffee, which I keep meaning to share (the notes, that is, though I’m always happy to share my coffee, too … come on over) …

First up, regarding the video above: I admit that here in 7-Imp Land, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I never really have a schedule for what I’m going to post when, but I can say that it will be very likely that my first “breakfast” interview of 2013 will be with author/illustrator Stephen Savage. That’s ’cause he’s still busy trying to find Walrus and couldn’t quite meet with me for breakfast this month.

Nah? My excuse not working? Okay, really what happened is that we had started planning—good heavens, this was such a while ago that I can’t even remember how long—a video interview. Oh, we were gonna do such fun things with this video interview, I tell you! But … well, the above video (just us planning things out) is effectively as far as we got. (Look how psychedelic the thumbnail image is. Aren’t you intrigued? Those special effects, needless to say, were all Stephen’s doing.)

Now, let me tell you … this Stephen Savage … he missed a calling in film direction, but let’s just say I’m not exactly a video ninja, so we happily decided to do a straight-up, traditional written breakfast interview instead. (Stephen had infinite patience with my video-bumbly self.) We’re going to do it in early 2013, since his new illustrated title with Lauren Thompson will be out then. So, I look forward to that in January: He will tell us more about the new book, as well as about Little Tug (pictured above), which was released in October and which I hope you’ve seen.

Secondly, a note for fellow picture book junkies: In the November 2012 issue of Book Links, there is a wonderful interview with author and illustrator Steven Kellogg by teacher and reviewer (and Nashvillian!) Dean Schneider. (Dean has written and done many good things in this field—do you have all day for me to list them?—but this, written with Robin Smith, makes me cheer every time I see it.) Here’s an excerpt, Steven’s thoughts on picture books:

“The picture book is the art form designed specifically for kids, and it has everything to do with shaping their aesthetic judgment; introducing them to the whole world of art; encouraging them to sharpen their visual literacy. …”

…to which I say, amen. Here is a link to the full article. As you can see, a subscription is required to read it, but I bring it to readers’ attention here, should your local library have access — and because it really is a great interview.

Until tomorrow…

Why I Don’t Have a Post Today (I Blame Mem Fox)

h1 Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Okay, well, this is a post. Clearly. I suppose that should say: “Why I Don’t Have Art Today.”

I spent this past weekend, for one, wrapping up manuscript revisions with my co-author Betsy Bird, but another reason I don’t have a typical post up today is that last night I had the pleasure of hearing author Mem Fox speak at the Nashville Public Library. I figured blogging could wait. She was a wonderful speaker. I was lucky enough to hear her speak to a larger crowd about her life and her writing career, but first to a smaller crowd of educators about literacy. In that first presentation, she talked about children listening to picture books for pleasure and about stories vs. “texts.”

Picture books, she advised, aren’t “texts” from which to pull a long list of questions before even opening the book to read to children. She had pulled an example lesson plan from online and read it to us. It was pretty horrifying — a long set of (what she kept calling “asinine” — and they were!) questions to ask children before launching into a picture book. These “kill” the story, she said, adding that of course conversations will happen after a story, but that generally “great books will do their own teaching, if we trust children to learn,” she said.

Amen and hallelujah.

I can only imagine what she thinks of reading programs like Accelerated Reader. (I’m not a fan.)

She even noted that she doesn’t have discipline problems during story times, if she follows her own advice. If it’s a good book, “the power of the story is the angel on my shoulder” with regard to students listening and paying attention.

She also spoke of reading to children with “zest and vitality,” which she did several times (with her own picture books) throughout the evening. Read the rest of this entry �

From the Desk of 7-Imp …

h1 Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

In Which I Ramble About My Love for Picture Books

h1 Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

As I’ve mentioned previously here at 7-Imp, Candlewick Press is celebrating picture books for one entire year, given their 20th anniversary, and they’re celebrating with a series of videos. Authors, illustrators, bloggers, and other book-lovers have made video tributes to picture books, and Candlewick will be sharing them at this site. (If you missed this video from my co-author, the entertaining Betsy Bird, and the one and only Travis Jonker, then drop everything now and watch it, ’cause it’s fun. They pretty much did it up as right as right can be.)

My video is up today. Here’s the link, or you can watch it above. If you’re going to watch it, you might want to grab a cup of coffee or a pillow, since I may or may not ramble a tiny bit.

Hey, ask a girl to talk about picture books, and that just happens.

EDITED TO ADD: Just found their thus-far video archives. Good stuff. Here it is.

Southern Festival of Books 2012

h1 Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Here’s a quick post to remind those of you who live in or anywhere near Nashville about this year’s Southern Festival of Books, which will be October 12 to 14 at War Memorial Plaza. Here is a taste of what the children’s and YA author line-up will bring. You can click on this image to embiggen it and see it even closer.

Also, a heads-up to those of you who enjoy Judith Viorst’s books: I’m planning a Q&A with her in the near future for Kirkus’ Book Blog Network, and I’ll ask her about visiting the festival and what’s on her plate now — other than the very funny sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus, which is called Lulu Walks the Dogs. Lane Smith will also share some artwork from the books.

Until later …

No, I Don’t Work for the Highlights Foundation,
But I Have to Quickly Say …

h1 Monday, July 30th, 2012

Edited to add, 8/1/12: Neal Porter will now be a special guest at this workshop as well.

…that, if you are an illustrator looking for some professional development/workshop opportunities, I read about this recently and wanted to mention it:

The Highlights Foundation Advanced Illustrators Workshop is a five-day workshop from August 30 to September 3, 2012, during which (according to Highlights), you will “immerse yourself in illustration—oil wash on board, printmaking, pen and ink, watercolors, and more. Daily hands-on workshops will challenge you to sharpen your illustration skills, all under the support and guidance of our highly talented mentors.” (In addition to illustration techniques, they promise that you’ll also explore: dummy preparation; storyboarding; continuity; portfolio expectations; character development; self-promotion; and finding a market.) Read the rest of this entry �

Plan 7 from Impossible Space

h1 Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

What’s Right with Children’s Literature?

h1 Monday, June 18th, 2012

This morning, the tables are turned.

I’m visiting Children’s Literature Network, and questions are being asked of me. “What’s Right with Children’s Literature” is Tom Owens’s wonderful column in which he asks folks, 1) What’s right right now with children’s literature? and 2) What could be done to make that good “better”? I highly recommend exploring his archives to hear what others have to say.

Here’s that link, and I thank Tom for asking me to stop by. I took some coffee with me.