Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Welcoming Elijah

h1 Thursday, January 16th, 2020

“Inside, the boy heard the tale of the Israelites leaving Egypt.
Outside, the kitten heard leaves whispering in the trees.
Still the boy waited. Still the kitten waited.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Today, illustrator Susan Gal visits to share some work-in-process images and final art from her illustrations for Lesléa Newman’s Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail, coming to shelves from Charlesbridge at the end of this month.

It’s the first night of Passover, and a family welcomes their friends and family to a Seder. From inside the house, a young boy spots a kitten outdoors. A compassionate story unfolds, one of the traditions of a Jewish holiday, happening indoors, and a small stray kitten, doing his best to survive outside. How the boy and the kitten meet — and how the kitten finds a home and a name — is the heart of this story. Appended are an author’s note, providing more information about Passover, and a list of some traditional rituals of a Seder. Read the rest of this entry �

My Chapter 16 Q&A with Rita Lorraine Hubbard

h1 Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

(Click to enlarge)

Over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16, I’ve a Q&A with author Rita Lorraine Hubbard about her picture book biography, The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read (Schwartz & Wade, January 2020), illustrated by Oge Mora.

That Q&A is here.

And here at 7-Imp today, I’m including some of Mora’s illustrations from the book.


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Jessixa Bagley on Henry and Bea

h1 Thursday, December 5th, 2019

“It’s always lucky to find someone who understands you, and that’s why Henry and Bea were the best of friends.” Thus opens Jessixa Bagley’s Henry and Bea (Neal Porter/Holiday House, October 2019), the emotionally resonant story of how to truly be there for a friend. Jessixa visits 7-Imp today to talk a bit about the book and share some early sketches.

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On the Road with Barbara McClintock

h1 Thursday, October 31st, 2019

You all know I like to wax rhapsodic about picture books here at 7-Imp. Well, I also review for the Horn Book. And for them, this year, I reviewed Barbara McClintock’s playful and fast-paced (as in, zippy fast) Vroom! (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 2019), one of my favorites of 2019. Perhaps one day they will post that review online, but suffice it to say that this is the dynamic tale of Annie, a girl who loves race cars. She lives for speed, and she sets out one day in her race car to take a grand adventure — a journey mostly of the imagination (and it’s a big one), given that in a mighty short span of time she zips all across the country. It’s a spectacular page-turner of a story, featuring indelible images from McClintock (just look at Annie’s hair flying behind her), as well as a pitch-perfect text with not a wasted word.

Again, I’ve more thoughts in my review (and if it is ever posted online, I’ll come link to it here), but for now Barbara visits to share some preliminary images and final art — and to say a bit about what prompted this story. Hint: It has four wheels. (EDITED TO ADD: The review has since been posted online. It is here.)

I thank her for visiting today.

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Sergio Ruzzier on Roar Like a Dandelion

h1 Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Early drawings
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Title page art for Roar Like a Dandelion

Sergio Ruzzier’s newest book is a special one. Granted, I always like to see what he’s up to in the world of picture books, but Roar Like a Dandelion (Harper, October 2019) is a text from the legendary author Ruth Krauss, who penned over 30 books for children and died in 1993. This is a text that hasn’t seen the light of day until now. (You can read more about that here.) As scholar and author Philip Nel wrote in this post that I highly recommend you read: “For the first time in 32 years, there is a new book by Ruth Krauss!” That exclamation mark is warranted.

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A Visit with Calef Brown

h1 Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

“Mindy’s FAVORITELEVISION / sits upon a ladder. /
She watches the SILLIESTUPIDESTUFF — / it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Today, I’ve a visit from poet and illustrator Calef Brown, who talks about his latest book, Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings, and Serious Nonsense (Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt, June 2019), as well as the book that came before it in 2015 — Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything. He discusses why he sees them as companion books; what they have to do with The Tao of Physics and miniature paintings; and how Twitter can spawn a poem. Or two.

I always like to see what Calef, the “inveterate punster” (as Kirkus has called him), is up to. I thank him for visiting today.

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Solving Impossible Moments with Peter Sís

h1 Thursday, October 17th, 2019

It’s a pleasure to have a visit today from internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Peter Sís, whose work is currently on exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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The Case for River

h1 Thursday, October 10th, 2019

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Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper visits 7-Imp today to talk about the making of the case for his newest picture book, River (Orchard, October 2019). The final case is pictured above. I love love love what he shares below and particularly like that he focuses (very specifically) on the thought and care that goes into the making of a picture book cover.

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Pokko and the Drum

h1 Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Author-illustrator Matt Forsythe visits today to share some early images from his newest picture book, Pokko and the Drum (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, October 2019) — his first book as both author and illustrator. (AND with a fabulous opening line: “The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum.”) I’ve also got some final spreads to share from this droll and beautiful book, one that I love so much and one that looks a lot like … well, like Arnold Lobel meets the Over the Garden Wall universe in a bar and buys it a drink.

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A Visit with Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

h1 Monday, September 30th, 2019


Early next year, Denene Millner’s imprint at Simon & Schuster will publish Alice Faye Duncan’s Just Like a Mama, a picture book about a young girl (Carol Olivia Clementine) whose caretaker (Mama Rose) is someone, as the book description notes, whose blood is not her blood — but who loves the girl as fiercely and lovingly as a biological mother.

The book’s illustrator is Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, a debut artist. If her middle name sounds a wee bit familiar, well … she explains that below. Charnelle visits 7-Imp today to share some of her vivid artwork and to talk a bit about her work. I thank her for visiting.

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