Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Separate Is Never Equal: A Chat with Duncan Tonatiuh

h1 Thursday, May 29th, 2014

I get to visit schools in different parts of the country to read and talk about my books. I see that poor schools in poor neighborhoods are mostly attended by Latino and African American students, while wealthy schools in wealthy neighborhoods are mostly attended by white children. Although Sylvia’s story happened 70 years ago, it is very relevant to children today.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Abrams, May 2014). That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some sketches from Duncan.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Duncan Tonatiuh used with permission of Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Dan Santat
(Your Coffee Pot Will Thank You)

h1 Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

I think many people in the field of children’s lit would agree that author-illustrator Dan Santat is one of the hardest-working people out there. In fact, Minh Le at The Huffington Post said as much recently.

I also happen to think he’s one of the most talented. Carolyn Juris at The New York Times notes what I like the best about his work when she described his mixed-media illustrations as “wild-eyed” and looking “as though they could bound right off the page and onto the screen.” That wild energy is part and parcel of what makes his work so intriguing, and there is often a refreshing irreverence for what your typical grown-up thinks a picture book should be. And his comic timing? I think up-and-coming illustrators could learn a lot about such pacing by studying Santat’s illustrated titles.

His newest picture book, just out on shelves, is called The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown). It’s a wildly imaginative story of friendship, tender and restrained. “[W]hile his immense talent was always evident, Beekle takes his artistry to a new level,” Le adds over at The Huffington Post piece. Below, Dan shares artwork from this book, as well as some deleted scenes and rejected covers. Read the rest of this entry �

The DVD Extras

h1 Thursday, May 22nd, 2014


(Click to enlarge)


(Click each image to enlarge)

Over at Kirkus last week, I chatted with author-illustrator Jason Chin about his newest picture book, Gravity (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, April 2014). Today I’m following up with some art from the book, as well as some of the clay models and rejected endings that he mentioned in the column. (Rejected endings! It’s like DVD extras!)

That link is here, if you need a refresher as to what Chin was sharing about the creation of this book.

Enjoy!

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Jason Chin: On Gravity and Temperamental Gouache

h1 Thursday, May 15th, 2014

These paintings were done in watercolor and gouache, and let me tell you gouache can be really frustrating. It was really temperamental, and to be honest, when I handed in the book, I swore I’d never use it again. Of course, for my next book I pulled out the gouache and used it again.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Jason Chin, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Gravity (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, April 2014). That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some of the rejected endings that Jason talks about in the piece.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jason Chin by Deirdre Gill and used with permission.

A Bit of Belize Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, April 24th, 2014


“Back in the jungle, I know all the jaguars in the study area from their tracks. But one day I come across a completely new track—the biggest male jaguar tracks I have ever seen. I follow the prints for hours. Not wanting to be caught in the jungle at night without a flashlight, I turn around to go back to camp.
There, right behind me, is the jaguar.
He must have been following
me!”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Last week, I chatted here with Dr. Alan Rabinowitz about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin, May 2014), illustrated by Catia Chien.

For those who’d like to see some art from the book, I share that here today.

Until tomorrow …

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Star Child: A Visit with Claire A. Nivola

h1 Monday, April 21st, 2014


“Slowly you will learn to take care of yourself.”


 
Claire A. NivolaIn early May, fans of the work of Claire A. Nivola will be happy to see Star Child hit shelves (Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux). It’s an extraordinary, brand-new story from Claire, and I like it a lot. I reviewed this for BookPage, so you can read about it here.

Today, Claire (pictured here) is visiting to talk a bit about the book, and we can also take a look at some of the art from it.

I interviewed Claire here at 7-Imp in 2011, and it remains one of my favorite interviews. To make sense of what we talk about here today (assuming you haven’t already seen, say, an early copy of the book), since it’s an unusual story, be sure to read the review first and then return, if you’re so inclined, for her thoughtful responses.

I’m always happy when she visits 7-Imp, and I thank her for taking the time to do so.

Enjoy.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #378: Featuring Laurie Keller

h1 Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Happy Easter and Passover to one and all. You’d think I’d have bunnies for you today, given the Easter holiday anyway, but nope. I’ve got doughnuts. Lots of doughnuts.

Back at the beginning of the month, I chatted with author-illustrator Laurie Keller over at Kirkus about her new chapter book series about Arnie the Doughnut. The first two books in the series are Bowling Alley Bandit, published last year, and Invasion of the Ufonuts, released in February of this year. These are published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and were inspired by Laurie’s beloved 2003 picture book, Arnie the Doughnut. We talked (here) about writing funny books for children, slapstick humor, schools visits, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Today, I follow up with some treats from Laurie. She shares some sketches and, well … she pretty much shows us how she does what she does. And I really appreciate her sharing. It’s fun stuff, and it’s neat to get an inside look at it all.

Without further ado, here’s Laurie …

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Julie Fortenberry

h1 Tuesday, April 15th, 2014


 
Illustrator Julie Fortenberry is visiting 7-Imp today, and as you can see above, she brought her breakfast along — Cheerios with blueberries and coffee with milk. It looks just right to me (and healthy to boot), and I’m ready to chat with her over coffee.

I should say that Julie, who started her career as an abstract painter, is an author-illustrator, actually. Earlier this month, she saw her writing debut, though previously she’s illustrated others’ books. You can read more below about The Artist and the King, her author-illustrator debut and what Kirkus calls in their review “a nod to art’s twin powers of subversion and of transformation.” It was published by Alazar Press (whom we have to thank for re-printing Ashley Bryan’s compilations of Black American spirituals, but Julie talks about that below too).

Those of you familiar with the work of Kar-Ben Publishing (a division of Lerner Publishing Group), who publish new children’s books with Jewish content each year, may instantly recognize Julie’s work. As you’ll see below, she’s illustrated many of Jamie Korngold’s stories about a Jewish girl, the cheery and ever-resourceful Sadie.

Let’s get to it, and I thank Julie for visiting. (I’d like to take this opportunity, by the way, to thank Julie seven-thousand-fold for her blog about children’s book illustrations, which she writes with artist Shelley Davies. Oh, how I’ve enjoyed it over the years.)

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Tap Tap Boom Boom‘ing Before Breakfast:
A Visit with Author and Bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle

h1 Monday, April 14th, 2014


(Click spread to enlarge)

Earlier this month, I reviewed Elizabeth Bluemle’s Tap Tap Boom Boom (Candlewick, March 2014), illustrated by G. Brian Karas, for BookPage. What a good book it is, and that review is here over at the wonderful BookPage site.

Today, I’m following up with a couple of spreads from the book — and a chat with Elizabeth. She not only writes, but nearly 20 years ago, she also opened a bookstore along with Josie Leavitt, The Flying Pig Bookstore in Vermont, and she co-writes over at ShelfTalker (at Publishers Weekly), also with Josie.

I took the opportunity to ask Elizabeth today about Tap Tap Boom Boom, but also what she calls the World Full of Color diversity database. I also asked her simply, what are you reading now? (I love this question so much that I’d love to start a simple blog series where I ask authors and illustrators just that one question — short posts with short answers. Would I have time for this, though? Ay, there’s the rub.)

Anyway, enjoy my chat with the ever-curious, always-learning Elizabeth Bluemle … And, really, if you haven’t seen Tap Tap yet, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of my favorites thus far this year.

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeremy Holmes

h1 Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I’m pleased to welcome illustrator Jeremy Holmes to 7-Imp this morning for breakfast. Back in 2010, I wrote about Jeremy’s delightfully creepy and beautifully bizarre adaptation (Chronicle Books, 2009) of the mother of all cumulative children’s folk songs, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” (complete with a slip cover and closing eyes on the lady’s head when she kicks the bucket). This book went on to win him a Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima Award.

And it’s this Old Lady, which Jeremy notes at his site, who opened his eyes to the “imaginative and playful world of the picture book” (from primarily the world of graphic design, that is).

Jeremy’s here today to talk about his road to publication and what’s on his plate now — and he shares lots of art, especially from his latest illustrated book, J. Patrick Lewis’ and Douglas Florian’s Poem-mobiles (Schwartz and Wade, January 2014). Fitting, since it’s National Poetry Month. Rah!

I’m very good with Jeremy’s favorite breakfast: English muffins toasted with a smear of salted butter; one egg over hard, heavily peppered; “some pancetta, if ya’ got it, but Canadian bacon will do in a pinch”; a small glass of OJ; and a cup of strong, slightly creamed and sweetened coffee. (He got the coffee JUST RIGHT!)

I thank him for visiting. Without further ado …

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