Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

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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Parnassus Books: Chat with
Jessica Young and Rafael López

h1 Monday, March 8th, 2021


I mentioned this in a post last week, but here’s a reminder:

Tomorrow evening, March 9, I’ll chat with author Jessica Young and illustrator Rafael López about their newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event. It starts at 6:00 PM Central.

Here are the details. Come join us, if you’re so inclined.

I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams

h1 Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Title page spread
(Click to enlarge and see with text)

Today, I’ve got a Q&A over at Chapter 16 with author Jessica Young, who chats with me about her newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams (Little, Brown, March 2021), illustrated by Rafael López.

Here is the Chapter 16 chat with Jessica.

Pictured above is the book’s title page spread (sans text), and below are some more spreads from the book. Also! Please do come join me for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event during which I’ll chat with both Jessica and Rafael about this book. That will be next Tuesday, March 9th, at 6:00 PM Central. Here’s the info.

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Mornings With Monet: My BookPage Q&A
with Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré

h1 Thursday, February 25th, 2021

“It is magic.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

“Once I began focusing on Monet, I kept writing drafts that started in his childhood, which is a typical way to connect a young reader to historical biography. I soon realized that Monet’s childhood would bore children, because it was boring me! When I asked myself what I thought a young reader would find interesting, the answer was the boat.
Why would you paint on a boat? How do you paint on a boat?
What happens when you paint on a boat?”

— Barb Rosenstock

Over at BookPage, I’ve a Q&A with author Barb Rosenstock and illustrator Mary GrandPré about their newest collaboration, Mornings with Monet (Knopf, March 2021). It’s a nonfiction picture book, as Barb notes in our Q&A, that begins and ends in four hours and captures Claude Monet one morning (3:30 AM, no less) “on his way to work.” And “work” is painting, from his rowboat (his “studio boat”), on the Seine. It’s a beautifully crafted book, filled with vivid sensory language and richly imagined acrylic illustrations.

Here’s the Q&A, and below is another spread from the book.

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Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure:
A Q&A with Steve Light

h1 Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)


Get out your fountain pens! Steve Light is here.

Pictured above is an early character sketch from Steve Light’s Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure (Candlewick, February 2021). This is a picture book with its own delightfully distinct world, one that Steve had fun building and tells me about below in our art-filled chat today. It’s a wooded world we enter, with animals zipping around in tiny cars on interconnected tree branches (there’s even an acorn car); characters with intricate homes in the trunks of trees; a heading dose of mud; and good friends. Oh, and there are endpapers that feature maps so that little hands can orient themselves — and, as Steve discusses below, even create their own imaginary adventures with locations not in this story.

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The 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour:
A Q&A with Khoa Le and Jane Yolen

h1 Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

(Click cover to enlarge)

I’m happy to be a part of the Association of Jewish Libraries’ 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour with a visit today from author Jane Yolen and illustrator Khoa Le. Their book, Miriam at the River (Kar-Ben, 2020), won a 2021 Sydney Taylor Picture Book Honor.

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Peter Sís on Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero
of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

h1 Thursday, January 28th, 2021

“Nicky set up an office in a hotel in Prague. He made lists of children. …”
(Click illustration to enlarge)

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review of Peter Sís’s Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued (Norton Young Readers, January 2021). That review is here.

I also had the pleasure of asking him some questions about this remarkable book. That Q&A is here.

Below are some spreads from the book.

(And if you’re wanting more Sís today: Here is my 2019 7-Imp interview with him, and here is an excellent NPR piece, posted yesterday, about the new book.) Read the rest of this entry �

Juliet Menéndez’s Latinitas

h1 Thursday, January 21st, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)

In the introduction to her book, Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers (Godwin Books/Henry Holt, February 2021), author/illustrator Juliet Menéndez writes that she wishes she had, as a child, discovered the women she features in this book. She adds: “When I first had the idea … I was working as an art teacher in Upper Manhattan. Like me, most of the students at the time were bicultural and had families from places like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. But as I walked through the halls, the posters on the walls were of historical figures like Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Dalí. I asked myself: What if some fresh, new faces, that looked more like my students, were up on these walls?” This was the birth of her book, which features women from all over Latin America and the U.S. and includes life stories that go back as far as the 17th century.

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