Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Michael Emberley

h1 Tuesday, July 7th, 2015



 
Well, dear readers, it’s been a while since I’ve done a breakfast interview. Since I’ve been teaching this summer, it takes me longer to get to these more time-intensive Q&As. My visitor today, illustrator Michael Emberley, deserves an award (or a free breakfast perhaps) for his patience with me. We started talking last year about doing this interview.

And I’m really glad we got around to it. I enjoy seeing his illustration work, and I really enjoyed chatting with him and hearing his responses to these questions. Emberley, the son of legendary illustrator Ed Emberley, has been illustrating since 1979. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but now makes his home in Ireland, near Dublin. (I highly recommend taking time to read this page of his site, where he talks about why he started illustrating and why he decided to stick with it: “I began illustrating because I needed money, but now I truly appreciate what I do. I can keep myself from being bored by doing a variety of book projects and using different techniques. This is more difficult than mastering one style but it is the only way for me.”)

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A Conversation with Emily Hughes

h1 Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The idea of sustainability, respect and nurturing of the land, is not a foreign concept to me, especially because in Hawaii there are lots of traditional morals linking to the earth. …

‘Malama ka aina’ means to respect the land, and they are strong words that resonate in the islands. ‘Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Āina i ka Pono’ is the state motto of Hawaii, and I think shines closer to the book: ‘The life of the land is perpetuated by righteousness.’”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Emily Hughes, pictured here, about her newest picture book, The Little Gardener (Flying Eye Books, August 2015), as well as last year’s Wild.

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art here at 7-Imp from each book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Emily used by her permission.

Bright Skies with Aimée Sicuro

h1 Thursday, June 18th, 2015


“With the city suddenly darkened,
Phoebe and Dad sat in the store, listening to the rain. …”


 
Since I chatted last week (here) with author Uma Krishnaswami about her newest picture book, Bright Sky, Starry City (Groundwood, May 2015), I’m following up here today with some spreads from the book, which was illustrated by Aimée Sicuro.

Enjoy the art.

(Note: Some of the text in the spreads featured below varies slightly from the text in the final copy of the book.)

 
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Exploring the Skies with Uma Krishnaswami

h1 Thursday, June 11th, 2015

The picture book is such a fabulous form! The great joy of writing picture book text is that I can hold the whole idea in my mind at once, all the way through the process of writing and rewriting. It’s like working with a small jewel.”

Today over at Kirkus, I talk with Uma Krishnaswami about writing picture books, her teaching, and her newest book, Bright Sky, Starry City, illustrated by Aimée Sicuro.

That Q&A is here, and I will have some art from the book next week here at 7-Imp.

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Photo of Uma is used by her permission.

The Many Sides of Sophia

h1 Thursday, June 4th, 2015


“Sophia’s birthday was coming up, and she had five things on her mind –
One True Desire and four problems.”


 
Since last week over at Kirkus, I chatted with Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail about One Word from Sophia, coming to shelves in mid-June from Atheneum Books for Young Readers (that Q&A is here), I’ve got some art and early sketches from Yasmeen today.

I thank her for sharing.

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The Copacetic Club

h1 Thursday, May 28th, 2015

‘Loquacious’ (used in the book), along with ‘copacetic,’ were two words I learned from my sister’s boyfriend. When I was a kid, I loved knowing these big words. It made me feel grown-up. In fact, when my friends and I used to greet each other with ‘How ya doin’?’, the correct response was ‘copacetic.’ It was like a code or our own secret language, hidden right there in English vocabulary. If you knew the response, you were in the ‘copacetic club.’”

Today over at Kirkus, I talk with Jim Averbeck, quoted above, and Yasmeen Ismail, both pictured here, who are the author and illustrator (respectively) of the new picture book One Word from Sophia (Atheneum), which will be on shelves in June.

That Q&A is here, and I will have some art and early sketches from it next week here at 7-Imp.

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Photo of Jim taken by Tim O’Meara and used by his permission.

Photo of Yasmeen taken by Olivia Hemingway Photography and used by her permission.

A Chat with Jeanne Birdsall

h1 Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Because both Skye and Batty grew out of parts of my personality (as did Jane and Rosalind, though not so much), some of the tensions between the two sisters came from internal struggles of my own. … [W]riting about Batty’s struggles was hard. I had to spend a lot of time re-living scared and lonely parts of my childhood.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Jeanne Birdsall, pictured here, about the latest novel in the Penderwick series, The Penderwicks in Spring (Knopf, March 2014).

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jeanne taken by William Diehl and used by her permission.

A Visit with Ovi Nedelcu

h1 Tuesday, May 12th, 2015


From the sketchbooks


 
You may have seen this recent Horn Book article by Betsy Bird on illustrators who come from an animation background. Today’s visiting illustrator, Ovi Nedelcu, is one of those, and he’s here today to share artwork and talk about his experiences.

Ovi, a character designer and story artist who lives in Portland, has been working in animation full-time for the past fifteen years for various studios, such as WB, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Sony — but mostly at LAIKA, working on both Coraline and The Boxtrolls. He’s not new to publication—his first published work was for DC comics back in 1998, and since then he’s published a comic book series and has illustrated a couple of picture books—but Just like Daddy (POW! Kids Books), out on shelves now, is his debut as an author-illustrator. It’s the story of one preschooler’s grand perceptions of his father’s day, juxtaposed with the everyday reality of his 9-to-5 job. It’s a warm story propelled by Ovi’s expressive cartoon art.

Ovi also talks about the book below, so let’s get right to it. I thank him for visiting. Read the rest of this entry �

Author Tracey Baptiste on The Jumbies

h1 Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The stories about jumbies were part of regular conversations when I was growing up. People talked about La Diablesse and douen and all the other, as if they’re walking down the road or lived at your neighbor’s house. They were very much alive to me, even though I knew they were probably just stories. And I also read and listened to fairy tales, which were just as scary, but they were also in books that were so beautifully illustrated, and I felt like all the kids who grew up hearing jumbie stories got cheated. Where were our fairy tale books? Where were our beautiful illustrations? I figured I’d have to make those books myself.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got a middle-grade novel on the mind. I talk to author Tracey Baptiste, pictured here, about her newest novel, The Jumbies (Algonquin, April 2014), a book unlike any other you’ll read this year.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Tracey taken by Latifah Abdur Photography and used by her permission.

Of Sentient Cakes
and Hairy Hands with Rowboat Watkins

h1 Wednesday, April 29th, 2015


Author/illustrator Rowboat Watkins and I had a long conversation about his picture book, Rude Cakes, coming to shelves in June from Chronicle Books — and I’m posting the conversation today. The book is the surreal story of cheeky, impudent cakes (words I never thought I’d string together)—throw in some cyclopses with some unexpected behavior traits—and it’s funny and entertaining. There are some spreads from it in our chat below. (Pictured above is a sketchbook image.)

Rowboat and I also talk below about picture books and elbow room; Sendak (Rowboat was a Sendak Fellow several years back); giant paper legs growing up hallways; resolute poodles; four-horsepower Super Rosengarts, both metaphorical and very real; the severities of plain white walls; and much more. This is essentially a conversation for the die-hardiest of die-hard picture book fans—I can’t promise the absence of a digression or two—and I enjoyed every second of it. Later in our chat, Rowboat writes:

Anything that betrays its own messy history of becoming itself makes my eyes widen.

… which I’d pretty much like to tattoo on my forehead.

Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting. Read the rest of this entry �