Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

My Kirkus Q&A with Joe Todd-Stanton

h1 Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

The books I loved best when I was a kid were always very detailed, so I probably pick narratives that will lend themselves to that style. Pretty much every mythology is so rich in back story and characters that it’s a great thing to hang a story around, because it gives you an instant, vast visual language you can then place your character into.”

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Today over Kirkus, I talk with British author-illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton about his debut children’s book, Arthur and the Golden Rope (Flying Eye Books, February 2017), volume one in the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series.

That Q&A is here.

I’ll have even more art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …


Seven Questions Over Breakfast with David Soman

h1 Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Author-illustrator David Soman visits 7-Imp this morning for a cyber breakfast and gives just the right answer to my question about what he would like to have on our cyber-table. “Coffee,” he says. “Coffee and blueberry banana pancakes. With coffee. Sweet Sue’s, a great breakfast joint in somewhat nearby Phoenecia, New York, calls blueberry banana pancakes ‘blue monkeys,’ which is what we call them at home. I love them on the weekends. With coffee. Did I mention coffee?”

Coffee it is, and I’m pleased to say that David shares a whole bunch of art and preliminary images today. Pictured above is an illustration from last year’s The Monster Next Door, released by Dial in September. David both wrote and illustrated this one, though he’s most well-known for the series on which he collaborates with his wife, author Jacky Davis — the bestselling Ladybug Girl series. (If I’m counting correctly there have been over 20 sequels to the opener in the series, Ladybug Girl, published in 2008.) Let us also not forget 2014’s beautiful Three Bears in a Boat, one of my favorite picture books from that year.

But David’s first illustrated picture book, written by Angela Johnson, was published in 1989. He’s been making picture books for a while, in other words, and so it’s a pleasure to talk to him today about his work, his technique, his teaching, and much more. Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting today.

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Putting First Ladies First

h1 Thursday, January 19th, 2017


I’ve got an interview over at Kirkus today with Ruby Shamir and Matt Faulkner, the author and illustrator of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, released this month by Philomel. We talk about leaving the book’s final page empty until the election results came in, what surprising things they learned in their research, and much more.

That is here. I’ll have more art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …

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WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FIRST LADIES. Copyright © 2017 by Ruby Shamir. Illustrations © 2017 by Matt Faulkner and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Philomel Books, New York.

Following Up with Greg Pizzoli

h1 Thursday, January 12th, 2017

As a follow-up to my chat with author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli at Kirkus last week (where I learned what Rubylith is), I’ve got a bit more of his process images from Margaret Wise Brown’s North, South, East, West, coming to shelves this month from Harper.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Chris Appelhans and Steve Light

h1 Friday, January 6th, 2017

— From Steve Light’s Lucky Lazlo


“A greyhound, a groundhog,
a found little
— From Emily Jenkins’s
A Greyhound, a Groundhog
(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Patricia McKissack’s superb new book. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Emily Jenkins’s A Greyhound, a Groundhog (Schwartz & Wade, January 2017), illustrated by Chris Appelhans, as well as Steve Light’s Lucky Lazlo (Candlewick, December 2016).

I’m following up with some art from each book today, and Steve also shares some thoughts on Lazlo, as well as some early sketches and such. I thank him for sharing.

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My Kirkus Chat with Greg Pizzoli

h1 Thursday, January 5th, 2017

I’m really happy with how it came out, but it feels a little unreal. I have a finished copy of the book in my studio and I still feel a strong sense of disbelief when I see my name on the same cover as Margaret Wise Brown. It’s a huge honor.”

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Wanna take to the air with me today with both Margaret Wise Brown and author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli?

Today over at Kirkus, I talk with Greg. We discuss his latest project, his illustrations for a never-before-seen manuscript from Margaret Wise Brown (Harper, January 2017).

That Q&A is here.

I’ll have even more process images and art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …


Javaka Steptoe on Radiant Child

h1 Friday, December 23rd, 2016

I absolutely love and appreciate all of the attention this book is receiving. Not just for me, but because people are looking at Basquiat in a different way. They are seeing more than just the ‘wild child.’ They are also seeing the radiant child; they are seeing his humanity.”

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Yesterday over at Kirkus, I talked with Javaka Steptoe (who visited 7-Imp back in 2008), where we discuss his biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Radiant Child (Little, Brown, October 2016). I’d written about it at Kirkus earlier this year, but it’s one of my favorite picture books this year, and I wanted to ask him all about it. (You can see some spreads from it here in this May post.)

That Q&A is here.

(And don’t miss The Yarn’s coverage of this wonderful book.)

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Photo of Javaka used by permission of Little, Brown and taken by Gregg Richards.

Today, I’m Grateful for . . .

h1 Thursday, November 24th, 2016

I long ago stopped thinking of progress as a straight line. In some ways science was more open to women before the twentieth century, when it had a less practical bent and was seen as a way to worship God’s world. Of course, women were still excluded from professions, by law more than the sorts of bullying we sadly see now, but loving parents fostered the talents of daughters even when they weren’t sure that they could pursue cherished work beyond the home.”

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One thing I’m grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day is my Kirkus chat with Jeannine Atkins. We discuss her new novel in verse, Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (Atheneum, August 2016).

That Q&A is here today.

I hope you’re seated around a table with those you love and feeling grateful.

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Photo of Jeannine taken by Peter Laird and used by her permission.

My Kirkus Chat with Brian Biggs

h1 Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Well, author-illustrator Brian Biggs and I chatted before election results about his new series, and I thought the election would turn out very differently. But right about now I’m all for his vision of communities working together to make good things.

We talk about the series, Tinyville Town, at Kirkus today. That is here. Next week, I’ll follow up with some art here at 7-Imp.

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Photo of Brian Biggs by Sacha Adorno and used by his permission.

A Picture Book is a Machine:
Or, This Machine Tells Stories —
A Guest Post by Susan Rich

h1 Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I admit I’m pretty choosy when it comes to handing the 7-Imp keyboard over to someone, but when I had the opportunity to hand it over to Susan Rich, Editor-at-Large for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, I knew the answer was yes.

In honor of Picture Book Month, Susan is here to explore the mechanics of picture books — in more ways than one. I really enjoy what she has to say, and it all comes with art from Sophie Blackall, Frank Viva, and Christoph Niemann.

I thank her for temporarily taking over, while I fret over election results. Let’s get to it.

(Pictured here is an illustration from an upcoming book she has edited, illustrated by Niemann. More on that below.)


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