Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #744: Featuring Paul Schmid

h1 Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

Author-illustrator Paul Schmid’s newest book, a board book called Bunny! Don’t Play with Your Food (Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2021), features an unforgettable (and determined) protagonist. Bunny gets a carrot for a snack, and what follows is nothing less than sheer drama (even some terror), thanks to Bunny’s abundant imagination. Bunny becomes a Bunnysaur, a Tiger Bunny, a Space Hero, a Giant Sea Monster, and even a zombie. Such drama, spawned by this one snack.

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The People’s Painter: A Visit from Evan Turk

h1 Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Cynthia Levinson’s newest picture book, The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art (Abrams, April 2021), illustrated by Evan Turk, is a force of nature. The book chronicles the life, starting from his childhood in Lithuania, of Shahn (1898-1969), the Jewish artist and activist whose figurative paintings and posters aligned with his social justice causes.

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“Who Wants What … and Do They Get It?”:
A Visit with Katherine Tillotson

h1 Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

“And Little Billy has the best.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

I’m heading back to last Fall today in order to share a picture book that was published then that I loved, the late and exceedingly talented Richard Jackson’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff: The FULL Story (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, September 2020), illustrated by Katherine Tillotson. I reviewed this one for the Horn Book; that review is here.

Katherine visits today to talk a bit aout creating the illustrations for the book — I thank her for sharing — and as I revisit the book, I’m impressed all over again. Jackson’s writing is delicious (just look at the sentence construction alone in the second final spread below), and Tillotson’s illustrations are remarkably textured — and filled with great mischief!

Let’s get to it. … Read the rest of this entry �

How to Apologize Before (and After) Breakfast:
A Chat with Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka

h1 Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

David LaRochelle’s How to Apologize (Candlewick, May 2021), illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, is a class-act primer on a difficult subject — how to say you’re sorry. It’s a challenge for even the best of humans to put their pride aside and accept and admit a wrong-doing. But David and Mike — and some gators, elephants, bulldogs, and meerkats — have your back in a book that covers it all: the universality of mistakes, the pain it can cause, how difficult it can be to apologize, why making excuses is a no-go, and much more. How do you apologize sincerely? What if the mistake happened eons ago? Should you try to fix your mistake? This book may be marketed for preschool to second-graders, but I know a lot of adults who could apply its emotionally astute wisdom to their own lives.

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Mel Fell: A Visit with Corey R. Tabor

h1 Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Title page spread
(Click to enlarge)

I’ve got a review over at the Horn Book of Corey R. Tabor’s Mel Fell (Balzer + Bray, February 2021), a book that makes me want to snap my fingers and instantly appear in a story time somewhere — because sharing this book will make a child’s day. (Instantly appearing in a story time may actually frighten the poor children, so I’ll be sure to ease into it.)

That review is here if you’d like to read all about the book. Corey also visits today to talk about the book’s genesis and how he created the illustrations for it. I loved reading all about the making of this one, and I’m pleased to share it with 7-Imp readers. Big thanks to Corey for sharing.

Let’s get to it …

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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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