Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

A House by Kevin Henkes

h1 Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

One of Henkes’s house sketches in watercolor and colored pencil

It was my pleasure to review for the Horn Book the latest picture book from Kevin Henkes. It’s called A House (Greenwillow, September 2021), and that review is here.

Here at 7-Imp today, Henkes shares some early sketches, as well as a few images that served as inspiration for this book. I thank him for sharing.

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Ada and the Galaxies: My Chapter 16 chat
with Alan Lightman and Susanna Chapman

h1 Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

“‘Ama and Poobah,’ shouts Ada. ‘The fog’s gone. I can see the stars!
Wow! Come look. Come look.'”

(Click spread to enlarge)

I’ve got a chat over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16 with author and physicist Alan Lightman and illustrator Susanna Chapman. Lightman wrote, along with Olga Pastuchiv, Ada and the Galaxies (September 2021), illustrated by Susanna. It’s the first children’s book in the inaugural list from MIT Kids Press, an imprint formed in 2020 between the university and Candlewick Press.

That Q&A is here.

And here at 7-Imp, I have a few spreads — and an illustration study (some shells from Susanna). As you will read in the Q&A, the illustrations for this book incorporate images of the Milky Way taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.


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This Very Tree: A Visit with Sean Rubin

h1 Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

“My leaves gave people shade. My branches gave birds a place to rest.
And each year, I was one of the first trees to blossom.
My flowers let everyone know that spring was coming.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Sean Rubin’s This Very Tree (Henry Holt, May 2021), another 2021 picture book offering that marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, is based on, as Sean explains below, research around trauma and its treatment. Dr. Lucy Guarnera (Sean’s wife) taught him, as he notes in the book’s acknowledgments, what it would look like for the survivor tree — the Callery pear tree planted near the Towers in the 1970s, which survived the Towers’ falls — to “experience its trauma and recovery as a human would.”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #756: Featuring Bob Shea

h1 Sunday, August 15th, 2021

It’s a good day to visit Chez Bob by Bob Shea.

Bob is a very hungry alligator, but he’s also lazy. His solution? He opens a birdseed restaurant on his nose in order to attract the birds he’d like to snack on. Birdseed may be the one and only thing on the menu, but Bob does attract a visitor at Chez Bob. After that first bird tells all his friends about the new place, Bob becomes “the talk of the trees. Birds flew in from all over the world to eat on Bob’s face.”

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On Rainbows and Icebergs with Grant Snider

h1 Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Pictured above is a sketch author-illustrator and comics artist Grant Snider made during last year’s pandemic lockdown. Today, he visits to talk about what came out of that experience — his illustrations for Theresa Trinder’s There Is a Rainbow (Chronicle, January 2021), a bright — in more ways than one — book that captures with compassion what the last year was like for many socially isolated children.

Grant also discusses his process for illustrating Travis Jonker’s Blue Floats Away (Abrams), released a couple months after Trinder’s book. This book tells the story of a small iceberg. Blue, just as the title tells you, floats away from his family — unintentionally, that is. On his journey across the ocean, he transforms in many ways. It’s an entertaining tale, with an endearing protagonist at its helm, about the water cycle but also the ways in which climate change is altering our planet.

I thank Grant for visiting to talk about what he did with colored pencils and cut paper last year. …

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Keeping the City Going: An Interview with Brian Floca

h1 Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

It’s a pleasure to talk to author-illustrator Brian Floca today about Keeping the City Going (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, April 2021), what the Horn Book review called a “love letter” to New York City — and to the essential workers that kept cities going during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed paintings — in vignettes and expansive, full-bleed spreads — capture New York City last year, a time when it was “strangely still. Yet “[t]here are still some people out on the streets, driving this and that, heading from here to there. They might be family, friends, or strangers. They’re there because we need them. They’re the people keeping the city going.”

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Lynne Rae Perkins’s The Museum of Everything:
A Peek Into Her Process . . .

h1 Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

I can go on and on about how compelling Lynne Rae Perkins’s newest picture book is (and, better yet, how much respect it has for the child reader), but it would be better if you can somehow find a copy yourself and take it all in. I highly recommend this. The Museum of Everything (Greenwillow), now on shelves, has been met with a host of well-deserved starred reviews.

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Elisha Cooper Makes the Case for His Favorite Cases

h1 Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)

If you’re a regular reader of 7-Imp, you know that author-illustrator Elisha Cooper is fond of creating a compelling case for his books.

I reviewed Elisha’s newest book, Yes & No (Roaring Brook, April 2021), for the Horn Book. That (starred!) review is here, if you’re so inclined to read more about this wonderful book, illustrated (as I note in my review) in the same style as the Caldecott Honor-winning Big Cat, Little Cat.

Today here at 7-Imp, Elisha shares an essay — instead of waxing on about his own book (though, fortunately, he does briefly mention the beautiful case for Yes & No) — about the case covers of some of his favorite picture books. As the picture-book fan I am, I love this post and his eye for color, design, and what generally makes a good case. I’m about to teach this summer my picture book grad course, and you can bet that when I talk to my students about design, I’ll send them to this post. I thank Elisha for sharing.

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Ship in a Bottle:
A Visit with Andrew Prahin

h1 Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

It’s my pleasure to welcome Andrew Prahin to 7-Imp today. I reviewed his newest picture book, Ship in a Bottle (Putnam, May 2021), for BookPage — that review is here, if you’d like to go read about it — and then invited him to come share some process images behind the making of this very entertaining book. He shares generously today, and for that I thank him.

Let’s get to it!

p.s. Don’t miss this 2014 7-Imp post about Andrew’s debut picture book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #744: Featuring Paul Schmid

h1 Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

Author-illustrator Paul Schmid’s newest book, a board book called Bunny! Don’t Play with Your Food (Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2021), features an unforgettable (and determined) protagonist. Bunny gets a carrot for a snack, and what follows is nothing less than sheer drama (even some terror), thanks to Bunny’s abundant imagination. Bunny becomes a Bunnysaur, a Tiger Bunny, a Space Hero, a Giant Sea Monster, and even a zombie. Such drama, spawned by this one snack.

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