Archive for the 'Etcetera' Category

This, That, and the Other (the February 2014 edition)

h1 Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I don’t often do this (it pains me to have a 7-Imp post with no art), but I have a few, quick newsy-type notes. I’ll use my rock-and-roll hands, like I did in the most recent This, This, and the Other post back in November, just to keep things interesting:

Today, I’m over at the blog of author-illustrator Brian Lies. It’s not often that I’m the interviewee, but he asked if I wanted to participate in a blog series about favorite characters in children’s lit, and I was totally game.

That link is here.

p.s. We will not discuss the fact that Brian recently visited a library in the county I live in, and I managed to miss it altogether. Not I-knew-about-it-but-couldn’t-go, but I-managed-to-miss-the-announcement-that-he’d-even-be-here. Still kicking myself over that.

I’m happy to have contributed to the Horn Book’s upcoming issue (March/April) all about illustration. Needless to say, I’m eager to read the issue cover-to-cover.

The piece about illustration that I wrote for them is also online now at their site.

Finally, a note for local friends: I’ll be doing story time this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Parnassus Books in Nashville. We’ll be celebrating Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss stories. I hear there will be cupcakes, and what a wonder are cupcakes.

Until tomorrow (when I will have art!) …

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Kadir Nelson

h1 Friday, January 24th, 2014

“Oh, I see. When I am lost, I climb a little higher so I can see all around.
Keep walking, Baby Bear. You are closer than you think. And sing a song—
it will make you feel better.

Thank you, dear Ram.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I wrote a little something in honor of the upcoming ALA Youth Media Awards. That link is here.

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Today at 7-Imp, I’ve got some spreads (sans text) from Kadir Nelson’s Baby Bear, which I wrote about last week.

Some of the colors in these spreads are a bit off, at least according to my computer, which bums me out. I wish I could ensure accurate color reproduction on everyone’s computers, but this is the best I can do.

Enjoy the art! Read the rest of this entry �

So, You Wanna Write a Picture Book?

h1 Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

I write here at 7-Imp (and elsewhere) about picture books. ‘Cause I love them so.

I’ve never, however, tried to write one myself (except that time in grad school when I took a course from Jack Gantos, and HOO BOY, was it one of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do, but I digress). Despite this fact, I get lots of queries from people who want to publish a picture book but don’t know where to begin.

And I’ve found myself telling these people lately about a new handbook from picture book author Linda Ashman (with whom I had a Kirkus chat this past May). It’s called The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books: Tools and Tips for Writing, Polishing and Selling Your Manuscript. If memory serves me right, she released it this past summer. I’m just now getting around to writing a post about it, though as I said, I’ve personally recommended it to several wannabe authors since then.

It’s an e-book, and you can even download the Table of Contents and Introduction here at Linda’s site. It is packed with the type of information those wanting to be published—or even thinking about writing a picture book—would need to know. In fact, I’m super happy that I can now direct folks to this guidebook, given that I do get asked often about how to get one’s foot in the door when it comes to publishing a picture book. There are nine chapters, which instruct readers—with accessibility and wit—in the ways of Prepping a Picture Book Manuscript for Submission. It’s a comprehensive and common-sense guide from someone who knows the ins-and-outs of picture book publishing and who speaks with wisdom. And occasionally throughout the handbook, Linda pauses to chat briefly with editors, agents, etc. in the field. (You know you wanna hear editors and agents weigh in with their responses to the following queries: “Please complete these sentences: I would love to publish more picture books like … and If I read another picture book manuscript submission about [fill in the blank], I will scream.” At least I found those responses really intriguing.) Read the rest of this entry �

This, That, and the Other

h1 Monday, November 4th, 2013

[Edited to Add, Tuesday morning — I meant to say one more thing, dear readers: I am PERPETUALLY behind on email. I get a lot of blog-related emails. I am months behind, but I am making chinks in the stone and slowly getting caught up. If you’ve emailed me about something and you’re thinking I’m rude and incommunicative … well, no, all my emails this morning, as I try to catch up, begin with “sorry it took me months to reply.” Is it weird to wish I had a 7-Imp Administrative Assistant? Anyway, I hope to get back to everyone soon.]

I don’t tend to do news’y-type posts here at 7-Imp, but it’s just time for a few announcements that I find worthwhile for one reason or another:

First, I just have to share this. My favorite musician, Sam Phillips, recently wrote this:

I’ve decided to make November “Art Month.” It seems like a more interesting way to kick off the holidays. Some say that food is the new rock n’ roll, so I say that art is the new food.


Okay, the announcements. I decided to use rock-and-roll hands, instead of boring bullets:

I’m currently in the second year of my two-year term as a member of the ALSC Grant Administration Committee for the American Library Association. It’s truly inspiring to read about what many innovative and enthusiastic librarians across the country are doing. We were encouraged to remind librarians about these grants; as you’ll see, some deadlines have passed, but not all of them. Please spread the word, librarians, and consider applying (if eligible). There are some great opportunities here.

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Speaking of ALSC/ALA, I’m honored to be on the ballot for the Newbery 2016 committee, posted here.

Voting for ALSC members isn’t till Spring, but no matter the results, I am, as I said, honored to even be named there.

Read the rest of this entry �

Picture Book Month 2013

h1 Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

I’ve mentioned Picture Book Month previously here at 7-Imp, but here’s a quick note this morning to say that I’ll be a part of it this year, its third annual celebration.

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November, encouraging everyone to read and share picture books. Founder, Dianne de Las Casas, and Co-Founders, Katie Davis, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin, collaborated on this initiative, pulling together their world-wide connections to launch this celebration.

The Picture Book Month website features what they call a “picture book champion” for every day of November 2013. These folks—authors, illustrators, and many more—will weigh in on why they think picture books are important, and I’ll be one of those folks in early November. The site also includes a themed calendar, picture book links and resources, links to picture book publishers, links to picture book authors/illustrators, links to picture book blogs/review sites, picture book activities, and much more.

I’m all for celebrating picture books.

I’ll be back Thursday with lots of picture book art. Until then …

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Picture Book Month logo creator: Joyce Wan. Image used with permission.

7-Imp Turns 7 Years Old …

h1 Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Honest to Pete, every single year, when September thinks about rolling around, I very nearly forget that August marks the birthday of this blog, started back in 2006 with my best friend, Eisha, though I’ve been blogging solo for years now. And it’s happened once again this year, but I’ve caught it in time. And on its SEVENTH birthday! And since seven is kind of a special number around here, I thought I’d mark it with seven candles.

I still love blogging. I really love art. And I am kinda crazy about picture books. As always, I thank 7-Imp readers, as well as all the authors and illustrators who visit here to talk about their work and techniques and illustrations and thoughts — and who share lots and lots of art here.

Also, it’s only taken me nearly a year, but finally up in one of the headers of this blog is the Mad Tea Party image created specifically for 7-Imp by artist Susan Sorrell Hill. It’s here. Doesn’t it look lovely? Thanks again to Susan for that special gift.

The blog needs updating (for one, I’d love the header to say “a blog about picture books”); some pages need re-organization; and, quite possibly, 7-Imp even needs a new look. But in this day and age of busy social media (more people leave comments anymore at posts about blog posts at social media sites than they do at the actual blogs themselves), I figure it might be a small miracle that 7-Imp is even still around. And, I hope, still relevant. I’m grateful that I still have the opportunity to blog-as-a-hobby about picture books and illustration, which I love. And I’m grateful for the friends and opportunities this blog has brought to my life.

So, here’s to seven more years.

Goodnight What Again?

h1 Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Earlier this week at the New York Times, I read Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic’s “I’m Tired of Reading Out Loud to My Son, O.K.?”

It got me thinking about a few things, so my Kirkus column today is a response to what she wrote. It’s here.

Until tomorrow …

Wild Things

h1 Thursday, July 4th, 2013

(Click to enlarge — Hey, I never thought I’d type that about
something with my own name on it)

Because some of you who weren’t at this past weekend’s ALA conference have asked me: This is the postcard (cover anyway) that Candlewick made for distributing at this past weekend’s conference. This will not be the book’s final cover, but it’s the general idea. One of my ALA roomies—the one and only Allie Bruce, Children’s Librarian at Bank Street College Library—read the beginning portion of our manuscript (since Betsy and I were actually in the same physical space and needed to wrap up some work on it) and didn’t scream in agony. She claims to have enjoyed it, in fact. Whew.

I wish Peter D. Sieruta were here to see this cover, but the ALA event we had to honor and remember him (the primary reason I attended ALA this year) went well, and his brother, John Sieruta, gave him such a lovely tribute. Big thanks to Stephen Barbara for organizing, hosting, sponsoring the entire event.

Publication date should be April 2014!

Celebrate the Life of One of Children’s
Literature’s Luminaries: A Peter Sieruta Event

h1 Friday, May 24th, 2013

It was one year ago at this time that, sadly, Peter D. Sieruta passed away. For those of you who knew Peter and plan to attend this summer’s annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, please note the following information and join us on June 28th, if you can.

What: Celebrate the Life of One of Children’s Literature’s Luminaries: A Peter Sieruta Event
When: Friday, June 28th, 4:30 p.m.
Where: The Lake Erie Room at the Hilton Chicago

How did you best know Peter Sieruta? Was it through his remarkable blog, Collecting Children’s Books (a go-to site for wit and historical tidbits)? Was it from his countless Horn Book articles or his work on the Horn Book Guide? Maybe you met Peter in a bookstore or you were a close personal friend.

Whatever the case, come, mix, and mingle with other friends and fans of the often urbane, always scintillating fellow. This event will be held as a celebration of Peter and his book (co-written with myself and Betsy Bird), Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, slated to hit bookstore shelves in spring 2014.

Please RSVP to Fusenumber8 [at] if you would like to attend this gathering.

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Note: The above photo is an older one of Peter and is used with permission of John Sieruta.

Introducing The Niblings
(Or, More Numbers Before Breakfast Than I’m Used To)

h1 Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The hubba-WHOs? you may be asking …

The Niblings is a new blog consortium, over at Facbeook and Twitter, representing Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Yours Truly), A Fuse #8 Production (Betsy Bird), Nine Kinds of Pie (Philip Nel), and 100 Scope Notes (Travis Jonker).

We considered calling this page “100 Notes on Why 7 8 9,” but it sounded too much like a math page. And when Philip Nel suggested “The Niblings,” we all fell hard for it.

This Facebook page (at will be our space for sharing in one spot links from our blogs and other writings, as well as for sharing other interesting links related to the field of children’s literature. For my part, instead of posting children’s-lit links at my own personal Facebook page, I’ll now share them at this new page, a sort of one-stop resource center for information on children’s literature. Read the rest of this entry �