Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Noodlephant: A Conversation with
Jacob Kramer and K-Fai Steele

h1 Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

It’s a pleasure to have a visit here today at 7-Imp from author Jacob Kramer and illustrator K-Fai Steele. They are here to chat about their upcoming picture book, Noodlephant (on shelves in January from Enchanted Lion). In fact, this is the debut book for each of them, though 7-Imp readers may remember that K-Fai visited here back in 2017.

This is the story of an elephant, who loves noodles so much that she is famous for her pasta parties and her friends call her Noodlephant. In Noodlephant’s busy town live the kangaroos, always making and enforcing the laws. Unfortunately, the laws are such that they favor the ones in charge. One day, while shopping for a party, a kangaroo notifies Noodlephant that the laws say that noodles are for kangaroos and that “elephants shall only eat sticks and branches.” Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Emily Tetri

h1 Friday, November 16th, 2018


Top: Early sketch of Tiger; bottom: final art from the book

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve an interview with author Jonathan Auxier about his newest novel, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Emily Tetri’s Tiger vs. Nightmare (First Second, November 2018). Today, I’ve some art from the book, and Emily also shares some preliminary images — some art from the book pitch and a couple images showing early Tiger and Monster art.


Read the rest of this entry �

Pearl: A Visit with Molly Idle

h1 Wednesday, October 17th, 2018


Early sketch and final spread: “Some tended to the towering forests of kelp
rising from the ocean floor.”

(Click each to enlarge)

Author-illustrator Molly Idle visits 7-Imp today to talk about her newest picture book, Pearl (Little, Brown, October 2018). It’s the story of a small mermaid, eager for a big job. When her mother tells her that Pearl’s job is to care for and keep safe a single grain of sand, Pearl is disappointed. She doesn’t truly hear her mother’s words: “The smallest of things can make a great difference, Pearl.” (And that’s all I’ll tell you about the plot so that I don’t ruin the read for you.)

Molly is here to talk today about creating the book, and she shares work-in-progress images and final art from this glimmering beauty of a thing, filled as it is with flowing lines, expert compositions, and a drop-dead gorgeous palette. Let’s get to it, and I thank her for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �

Matthew Cordell’s King Alice

h1 Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Caldecott Medalist Matt Cordell’s newest picture book, King Alice (Feiwel & Friends, October 2018). That is here.

Today, Matt shares some sketches, studies, and final pieces from the book. I thank him for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �

Illustrator Rafael López on The Day You Begin

h1 Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Illustrator Rafael López visits 7-Imp today for an art-filled discussion about his illustrations for Jacqueline Woodson’s The Day You Begin (Nancy Paulsen Books, August 2018). I mentioned this book in a recent Kirkus column as being a wonderful back-to-school title, but it’s a book to share with children any day of the year, this story of how our differences make us special. Centered in a school room, readers meet Angelina. “There will be times when you walk into a room,” the book opens, “and no one there is quite like you.” It’s a story of making connections and finding one’s voice, but it’s more, as Rafael explains below. It’s about accepting people as they are.

Let’s get right to it, since Rafael shares so generously below. I thank him for sharing today. (If you want more of Rafael’s art, his 2011 breakfast interview here at 7-Imp is one of my favorites.)

Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Q&A with Jarrett J. Krosoczka

h1 Friday, August 31st, 2018

The best I can describe it would be to tell you it was like the scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Professor Umbridge punishes Harry by making him write lines over and over with a Blood Quill. Every time Harry writes something on paper, the words get seared into the back of his hand. So there were moments when it was painful and difficult to make this book. My beautiful studio space would get transformed into that small kitchen in Worcester where difficult moments played out. That being said, there were also many wonderful moments to relive. Those scenes brought me great joy, and when the book was finished, I sort of had to mourn the loss of my grandparents all over again. It was truly a gift to spend that time with them again.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka about his graphic novel memoir, Hey, Kiddo, coming to shelves in October.

That is here, and next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some more images from the book.

Until tomorrow …

The Making of Dreamers: Yuyi Morales’ Photo Essay

h1 Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Coming to shelves early next month will be a new picture book from Yuyi Morales, called Dreamers (Neal Porter Books). In this splendid picture book — have mercy, it is a beautiful thing — she tells her own immigration story.

I’m not going to say much about the book today, because I will be writing about it soon for BookPage. (When I do so, I will link to that here from 7-Imp.) But today, I’m giving 7-Imp over to Yuyi, who is sharing a photo essay about the making of this book. (This is very similar to what she did here in 2014 for the making of Viva Frida, and that is one of my favorite posts in over a decade of blogging.)

I thank Yuyi for sharing. You can click on each image in this post, especially if you want to see larger versions of some of them.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #599: Featuring E. B. Goodale

h1 Sunday, August 12th, 2018

“Lula says: ‘This is hard work, Daddy.’ ‘It is,’ Daddy says.
‘But see what we’ve done already, even without Akaraka.’
‘Daddy!’ Lula laughs. ‘Akaraka can’t sweep.’ ‘Oh?’
‘She’s an imaginary girl.'”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Has anyone else noticed how many superb picture books former editor and now-author Richard Jackson has been penning? I tell you what, they have been some of my favorite picture book texts in the last couple of years. Last year’s This Beautiful Day, illustrated by Suzy Lee; last year’s All Ears, All Eyes, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson; and 2016’s In Plain Sight, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, are but a few examples. The legendary editor retired in 2005 and has taken up picture book-writing. Here is a great PW piece about him, published two years ago.

His newest picture book — A Kiss for Akaraka (Greenwillow), illustrated by E. B. Goodale — will be on shelves in late September. This is the story of a father and daughter (Lula) outdoors, raking leaves and discussing the girl’s imaginary friend, Akaraka. I just read the Kirkus review for the book, where the reviewer writes: “Questions about what we see and what we don’t see, what we know and what we don’t know ripple through this beguiling book like a playful October wind.” Ah, yes. Well-said. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Laura Vaccaro Seeger

h1 Friday, August 10th, 2018

(Click to enlarge)

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got some recommended picture books, all new to shelves, for back-to-school.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s Blue (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook), coming to shelves this September. I’m following up today with a visit from Laura, who talks about her process, while sharing lots of art. I thank her for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �

Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch

h1 Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

“He loaded up the pumpkin and drove to town.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch (Greenwillow, August 2018). The review is here, and Brian visits today to talk about the process behind this moving picture book. I thank him for sharing.

Let’s get right to it.

Read the rest of this entry �