Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

My Chapter 16 Q&A with Meg Medina

h1 Thursday, April 1st, 2021


I may write about picture books and illustration here at 7-Imp, but if I’m asked if I’d like to interview author Meg Medina about her new novel Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, which Tennessee’s Chapter 16 did ask me, I say yes!

That Q&A is here.


Juana Martinez-Neal on Zonia’s Rain Forest

h1 Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

“In Zonia’s rain forest, green and full of life, she visits old friends and meets new ones.
‘Good morning!’ she says one, two, three, four times.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Meet Zonia. She “lives with those she loves in the rain forest, where it is always green and full of life.” The rain forest calls to her every morning, and we readers follow along as she explores, following a vivid blue butterfly all the way. This is the latest picture book from Juana Martinez-Neal, Zonia’s Rain Forest (Candlewick), publishing this week. Juana visits 7-Imp today to share some images from her trip to the Amazon rain forest and to give us a peek into the creation of these illustrations.

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Tiny Kitty, Big City: A Visit with Tim Miller

h1 Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

It’s a pleasure to have a visit once again from author-illustrator Tim Miller, who takes a deep dive here into his newest picture book, Tiny Kitty, Big City (Balzer + Bray, March 2021), and shares some process images as well. The story, told in short and punchy two-word phrases on each spread, is one of a stray kitten who eventually finds a home — but not after wandering, lost and during winter, throughout New York City. It may be crowded and loud and scary for the tiny creature, but kitty is brave — and survives, thanks to the kindness of strangers.

This book is a love song to cats and New York City. It nearly hums with the magic of the Big Apple in winter, all brought to life in Tim’s vibrant, spacious, and unfussy cartoon style. I thank him for visting today to talk about the gouache (and cat hair) illustrations, how this story was born, and much more. Let’s get to it.

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Your Mama: A Conversation with
NoNieqa Ramos and Jacqueline Alcántara

h1 Thursday, March 11th, 2021

As you can read below in today’s 7-Imp visit with author NoNieqa Ramos and illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara, Your Mama (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) — on shelves next month — sprung to life when Ramos decided to “approach a trope with a fresh perspective.” In this case, that trope is the tried-and-true “yo’ mama” joke, often used to disparage someone and their mother. Here, Ramos and Alcántara turn that joke on its head and pay tribute to mothers everywhere — in particular, an independent, brown-skinned, single Latinx mother who is all. that. And then some.

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Susan Kusel’s The Passover Guest:
A Visit with Illustrator Sean Rubin

h1 Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

“Muriel loved Washington in the springtime. The white buildings stood out crisply against the green lawns. The cherry trees burst into pink blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
She could feel Passover in the air.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Susan Kusel’s The Passover Guest (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, January 2021), illustrated by Sean Rubin, is a reimagining of the great Uri Shulevitz’s 1973 picture book adaptation, The Magician. (In 1904, Polish writer Isaac Leib Peretz orginally published “The Magician” as a short story in Yiddish.) And it is a breath of fresh air, infused with her love of Uri’s book, a childhood favorite of hers; Passover; Washington, D.C. and its cherry blossoms; and the Lincoln Memorial. The book’s richly colored tableaux are brought to us by Sean Rubin, who visits today to talk a bit about the process of illustrating this one.

In the book’s opening spread, seen above, we meet Muriel, who loves Washington in the spring and can “feel Passover in the air.” But it’s 1933, and families everywhere are suffering. Her own family cannot buy all the food necessary for their Passover seder. As she walks home one evening and passes the Lincoln Memorial, she sees “a strange figure dressed in rags, juggling on the steps of the monument.” After she puts a penny in the hat at this feet, he tells her to hurry home.

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Parnassus Books: Chat with
Jessica Young and Rafael López

h1 Monday, March 8th, 2021


I mentioned this in a post last week, but here’s a reminder:

Tomorrow evening, March 9, I’ll chat with author Jessica Young and illustrator Rafael López about their newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event. It starts at 6:00 PM Central.

Here are the details. Come join us, if you’re so inclined.

I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams

h1 Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Title page spread
(Click to enlarge and see with text)

Today, I’ve got a Q&A over at Chapter 16 with author Jessica Young, who chats with me about her newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams (Little, Brown, March 2021), illustrated by Rafael López.

Here is the Chapter 16 chat with Jessica.

Pictured above is the book’s title page spread (sans text), and below are some more spreads from the book. Also! Please do come join me for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event during which I’ll chat with both Jessica and Rafael about this book. That will be next Tuesday, March 9th, at 6:00 PM Central. Here’s the info.

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Mornings With Monet: My BookPage Q&A
with Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré

h1 Thursday, February 25th, 2021

“It is magic.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

“Once I began focusing on Monet, I kept writing drafts that started in his childhood, which is a typical way to connect a young reader to historical biography. I soon realized that Monet’s childhood would bore children, because it was boring me! When I asked myself what I thought a young reader would find interesting, the answer was the boat.
Why would you paint on a boat? How do you paint on a boat?
What happens when you paint on a boat?”

— Barb Rosenstock

Over at BookPage, I’ve a Q&A with author Barb Rosenstock and illustrator Mary GrandPré about their newest collaboration, Mornings with Monet (Knopf, March 2021). It’s a nonfiction picture book, as Barb notes in our Q&A, that begins and ends in four hours and captures Claude Monet one morning (3:30 AM, no less) “on his way to work.” And “work” is painting, from his rowboat (his “studio boat”), on the Seine. It’s a beautifully crafted book, filled with vivid sensory language and richly imagined acrylic illustrations.

Here’s the Q&A, and below is another spread from the book.

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Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure:
A Q&A with Steve Light

h1 Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)


Get out your fountain pens! Steve Light is here.

Pictured above is an early character sketch from Steve Light’s Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure (Candlewick, February 2021). This is a picture book with its own delightfully distinct world, one that Steve had fun building and tells me about below in our art-filled chat today. It’s a wooded world we enter, with animals zipping around in tiny cars on interconnected tree branches (there’s even an acorn car); characters with intricate homes in the trunks of trees; a heading dose of mud; and good friends. Oh, and there are endpapers that feature maps so that little hands can orient themselves — and, as Steve discusses below, even create their own imaginary adventures with locations not in this story.

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The 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour:
A Q&A with Khoa Le and Jane Yolen

h1 Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

(Click cover to enlarge)

I’m happy to be a part of the Association of Jewish Libraries’ 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour with a visit today from author Jane Yolen and illustrator Khoa Le. Their book, Miriam at the River (Kar-Ben, 2020), won a 2021 Sydney Taylor Picture Book Honor.

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