Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Matt Tavares on Red & Lulu

h1 Thursday, December 7th, 2017

When my kids were little, it turned into sort of a game, where we’d notice the bright red male cardinal out at the bird feeder [in our yard], and we’d try to find the female cardinal. And sure enough, she was usually nearby. It made me wonder what would happen if they ever became separated, and how far one might go to find the other. I felt like there was a story there.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Matt Tavares, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Red & Lulu (Candlewick, September 2017).

The Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …


A Visit with Aaron Zenz

h1 Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

It’s a pleasure to have a visit today from author-illustrator Aaron Zenz, who is here to talk about his winsome new picture book for very young readers, Little Iffy Learns to Fly (Two Lions, October 2017). You can see the intrepid Little Iffy above.

Filled with warm, eye-catching colors and simple sentences (with various font colors emphasizing particular words for emerging readers, such as the repeated “up”s and “down”s in the tale), it’s the story of a baby griffin, who is afraid to fly. “What if he goes up and never comes down?” writes Zenz. Little Iffy’s friends work together to help their friend, making this a sweet story of friendship (and courage — lots of it).

Aaron is here to talk about the story behind the book, and he shares lots of art. I thank him for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Q&A with Chris Harris

h1 Friday, November 24th, 2017

Have you seen Chris Harris’s I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, illustrated by Lane Smith? You may have already read about this book, as it’s received a whole host of starred reviews.

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with Chris, pictured here, about this book, what it’s been like to enter the world of children’s lit (he comes from the world of television — writing and producing, that is), and what it was like to work with Lane.

He also lobs some fruit at me.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some more art and verses from the book.

The Q&A is here.


* * * * * * *

Photo of Chris taken by Cliff Lipson.

My BookPage Q&A with Allen Say

h1 Tuesday, November 21st, 2017


I’ve got a short chat with Allen Say over at BookPage, where he answers some questions about his picture book Silent Days, Silent Dreams. (And I have art from the book and a link to my review of it here at this recent 7-Imp post.)

The BookPage Q&A is here. Happy reading. I love this book.

Zack Rock’s Good Story

h1 Tuesday, November 14th, 2017


Author-illustrator Zack Rock visits 7-Imp again today to share preliminary images and art from his newest picture book, A Good Story (Creative Editions, August 2017). It’s the story of Assistant Bean Counter #1138, whose world is filled with numbers. “Numbers keep the world orderly and ordinary. You can always count on numbers!” At least this is the story that this accountant has been told all his piggy life. Things change when he ends up in a bookstore and discovers stories — and that some things that can’t be counted matter.

It’s a thoughtfully designed book — from the pages made to look like graph paper to the textured cover under the dust jacket — and Zack’s earth-toned paintings are detailed and textured. I always like to see what Zack is up to. Let’s get right to his images and commentary, and I thank him for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Q&A with Sharee Miller

h1 Thursday, November 9th, 2017

The first thing I wanted to be when I was younger was a beautiful princess. The first representations of beauty we see are often princesses. They usually have long straight hair and Eurocentric features. I think this is the point when most girls start to think about their physical appearance, and I wanted little girls with natural hair to see themselves as beautiful princesses.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to debut picture book author-illustrator Sharee Miller about her new book, Princess Hair (Little, Brown, October 2017).

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Sharee courtesy of Darrell Hanley.

My Chapter 16 Q&A with Rebecca Green

h1 Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

I’ve got a post over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16 with local (to me) illustrator Rebecca Green, pictured here.

Her debut picture book, How to Make Friends with a Ghost, was released earlier this year. In fact, I featured some of her artwork here at 7-Imp in August, but her picture book is a particularly good Halloween read.

And, hey, it’s still Halloween week.

The Q&A is here.




My Kirkus Q&A with Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James

h1 Thursday, October 26th, 2017

It feels good when I receive messages from mothers, teachers, librarians, and grandmothers, who have said that Crown has moved them and their children. It has filled them with pride and speaks directly to their soul.
That’s exactly why we do what we do. I want to create a body of work
that will stay with readers for a long time.”


Today over at Kirkus, I talk to author Derrick Barnes, pictured above left and quoted above, and illustrator Gordon C. James, pictured right, about their debut picture book, Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (Denene Millner Books/Bolden/Agate Publishing, October 2017).

That is here.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Derrick Barnes by Victoria Blackshear. Photo of Gordon C. James is courtesy of the illustrator.

Snooping Out Stories with Jack

h1 Friday, October 20th, 2017

All of us should assume that young writers know the particulars of their world better than we know their world.”


Today over at Kirkus, I’ve a chat with award-winning author Jack Gantos about his wonderful new book for upper elementary and middle-grade students, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2017).

That is here.

* * * * * * *

Photo above of Jack at the 2017 Eric Carle Honors was taken by Johnny Wolf Photography.

For the Love of Sister Rosetta Tharpe!

h1 Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Love the Lumberjanes as much as I do? Then you may be interested in my Q&A over at Kirkus today with Mariko Tamaki, pictured above, who has adapted the award-winning comic books series to a novel for middle-grade readers, complete with spot illustrations by Brooke Allen. Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! is on shelves now from Amulet Books.

That Q&A is here.