Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

The Magic Touch of Staying in Closer Touch

h1 Thursday, March 16th, 2017

I’ve got something entirely different over at Kirkus today. Instead of talking to a picture book or middle-grade author or to an illustrator, I talk to a volunteer for a literacy program run by Ann Arbor’s Children’s Literacy Network. This non-profit organization’s program, called Staying in Closer Touch, unites incarcerated parents and their children through children’s books. I heard all about it on a recent visit to Ann Arbor and wanted to write about it, should other literacy non-profits want to learn more.

That Q&A with volunteer Bonnie Schramm is here. (Corduroy is mentioned in our chat. Hence, the image here.)

Until tomorrow …

Seven Questions Over Lunch with Viviane Schwarz

h1 Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Although I’ve featured art from her books over the last several years, the last time British author-illustrator Viviane Schwarz visited was 2009. (That was fun.) It’s a pleasure to have her visit today for some coffee. We’re having lunch, not breakfast, because I had a slow start to my day. But we’ll still have coffee, while she shows me some of her art, because she’s a fan. “I have one cup of black coffee,” she said when I asked her about breakfast, “on the sofa, watching whatever black-and-white movie is on. That is a good breakfast. An excellent breakfast is when it’s sunny, and I have time to cook up eggs and marmite soldiers and take them into the park to eat under a tree.”

I had to look up what marmite soldiers are, but I fully approve. I also approve of going to the park. (Right about now, I wish this weren’t a cyber-breakfast and that we were really heading outside.) And I think that what was once going to be breakfast would still serve as a great lunch.

Not only do I enjoy Viviane’s books and her artwork, but I enjoyed reading many of her responses today. I thank her for sharing art in this interview — and for creating some of the pieces, such as the one above, specifically for her 7-Imp visit.

Let’s get to it. ….

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My Kirkus Q&A with Charlotte Riley-Webb

h1 Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

As a painter by profession—and understanding the commitment of time, having previously illustrated six children’s books—I had initially declined this opportunity but reluctantly agreed to read the manuscript. My focus immediately shifted. I went from feeling reluctant to challenged, and then on to privileged and ended up at obligated.”

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This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to painter and illustrator Charlotte Riley-Webb about her paintings for Gary Golio’s new picture book Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song (Millbrook/Lerner, February 2017).

That is here, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll have some more spreads from the book.

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Photo of Charlotte Riley-Webb used by her permission.

The Art of Mike Cavallaro

h1 Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

(Click to enlarge and see page in its entirety)

Last week at Kirkus, I talked to author Adam Rapp (here) about his new graphic novel, Decelerate Blue (First Second, February 2017). Today, I’m following up with some art from the book, which was illustrated by Mike Cavallaro.


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Matt Cordell on Wolf and Bob … and More

h1 Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Matthew Cordell’s January 2017 picture book, Wolf in the Snow (Feiwel and Friends). That review is here, and I invited Matt for a chat that we started early in the year to talk about the book, how it’s changed over the years (you’ll read below that he started working on it in 2013), what else he’s up to (including Liz Garton Scanlon’s and Audrey Vernick’s Bob, Not Bob!), and more.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Adam Rapp

h1 Thursday, February 16th, 2017

[O]ne day I saw this older Asian man walking very slowly in the Astor Place area. If a fellow pedestrian came toward him—while engaged with their smartphone, head down, thumbs pummeling their smartphone screen—the Asian man would wave his hand right in front of their face. It was startling, but it actually forced people to look up and consider where they were going and whom they might be walking toward. I thought the guy was a genius. He was starting a revolution of sorts. Stop. Look up. Consider another human being. Connect. I think that was the moment when the idea for the book came to me.”

* * *

Today over Kirkus, I talk with Adam Rapp about his new YA graphic novel, Decelerate Blue (First Second, February 2017), illustrated by Mike Cavallaro.

That Q&A is here this morning.

I’ll have art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

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Photo of Adam Rapp taken by Sham Hinchey.

My Kirkus Q&A with Joe Todd-Stanton

h1 Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

The books I loved best when I was a kid were always very detailed, so I probably pick narratives that will lend themselves to that style. Pretty much every mythology is so rich in back story and characters that it’s a great thing to hang a story around, because it gives you an instant, vast visual language you can then place your character into.”

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Today over Kirkus, I talk with British author-illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton about his debut children’s book, Arthur and the Golden Rope (Flying Eye Books, February 2017), volume one in the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series.

That Q&A is here.

I’ll have even more art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …


Seven Questions Over Breakfast with David Soman

h1 Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Author-illustrator David Soman visits 7-Imp this morning for a cyber breakfast and gives just the right answer to my question about what he would like to have on our cyber-table. “Coffee,” he says. “Coffee and blueberry banana pancakes. With coffee. Sweet Sue’s, a great breakfast joint in somewhat nearby Phoenecia, New York, calls blueberry banana pancakes ‘blue monkeys,’ which is what we call them at home. I love them on the weekends. With coffee. Did I mention coffee?”

Coffee it is, and I’m pleased to say that David shares a whole bunch of art and preliminary images today. Pictured above is an illustration from last year’s The Monster Next Door, released by Dial in September. David both wrote and illustrated this one, though he’s most well-known for the series on which he collaborates with his wife, author Jacky Davis — the bestselling Ladybug Girl series. (If I’m counting correctly there have been over 20 sequels to the opener in the series, Ladybug Girl, published in 2008.) Let us also not forget 2014’s beautiful Three Bears in a Boat, one of my favorite picture books from that year.

But David’s first illustrated picture book, written by Angela Johnson, was published in 1989. He’s been making picture books for a while, in other words, and so it’s a pleasure to talk to him today about his work, his technique, his teaching, and much more. Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting today.

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Putting First Ladies First

h1 Thursday, January 19th, 2017


I’ve got an interview over at Kirkus today with Ruby Shamir and Matt Faulkner, the author and illustrator of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, released this month by Philomel. We talk about leaving the book’s final page empty until the election results came in, what surprising things they learned in their research, and much more.

That is here. I’ll have more art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …

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WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FIRST LADIES. Copyright © 2017 by Ruby Shamir. Illustrations © 2017 by Matt Faulkner and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Philomel Books, New York.

Following Up with Greg Pizzoli

h1 Thursday, January 12th, 2017

As a follow-up to my chat with author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli at Kirkus last week (where I learned what Rubylith is), I’ve got a bit more of his process images from Margaret Wise Brown’s North, South, East, West, coming to shelves this month from Harper.


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