Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

Mischief with Marciano

h1 Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Over pie and coffee, I pitched Sophie a couple ideas. One was nothing more than a setting—a small city in southern Italy I had visited a dozen years earlier. The thing about Benevento is that it was totally infested with witches of all kinds, and for generations kids had to learn strategies on how to avoid them just to get through their day.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator John Bemelmans Marciano, pictured here, about The Witches of Benevento, his new chapter book series illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

That is here this morning. Next week at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some art from the series.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of John used by his permission.


Father’s Day at Slate

h1 Tuesday, June 7th, 2016


I joined a few other children’s lit colleagues over at Slate Magazine to discuss children’s books that celebrate fatherhood. Click on the image above to see the gallery of titles.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #486: Featuring Lisa Brown

h1 Sunday, June 5th, 2016

“Inside the airport you stand in lines.
You stand in lines to get your ticket. You stand in lines to check your bags.
There are lines for the restrooms. There are lines to go through security.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Arriving just last month (is it already June?) on bookshelves was Lisa Brown’s newest picture book, The Airport Book (A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press). Have you seen it, dear Imps? It follows a family of four on a trip, who make their way through an airport. And it is, as the title tells you, all about the airport experience itself.

This makes me happy, because have I ever said that I love to people-watch in airports? I do. (The tearful goodbyes! The happy hellos! The relieved goodbyes! The resentful hellos!) And if you follow Lisa’s work, you know she does daily sketches, which are often of people. And I like her daily sketches very much. So, this book combines two very good things — that is, an airport with lots of Lisa Brown-rendered people in it.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Faith Ringgold

h1 Friday, June 3rd, 2016

“We are ALL Americans,
Just the same.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning at Kirkus, I have two new picture books (one will be on shelves in September) all about defying labels. That is here.

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Last week, I talked here with Faith Ringgold. I’m following up today with two spreads (one above) from her new book, We Came to America (Knopf, May 2016).


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The Rabbit hOle, the world’s first ExploraStorium

h1 Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

By now, you may have already read about The Rabbit hOle, the ambitious new project from the owners of Reading Reptile, a children’s bookstore in Kansas City, Missouri. The video above is a great introduction to the project, and not just for the reference to rye whiskey.

This Kansas City Star article from April of this year is a good way to get the low-down on the project. As noted there, what Deb and Pete are going for is “a huge immersive museum and attraction called The Rabbit hOle, an ever-changing celebration of children’s literature. They’ve deemed it the world’s first Explorastorium.” They also like to think of it as a National Center for the Children’s Book. You could also watch this:

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Meeting Your Match

h1 Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Here’s a quick post to show off the artwork of Dutch illustrator Martijn van der Linden, who illustrated Maranke Rinck’s The Other Rabbit (Lemniscaat). I believe this book was released here in the States last Fall (and it may have even been released in the Netherlands the same year, though I’m not sure about that), and I’m just slow in getting to it. Better late than never.

I like this enchanting import. It opens with two spreads that show a memory game in process. You know, like this. One card has been overturned, and it shows Rabbit. “Rabbit,” the text says, “is looking for the other rabbit.” On the next memory-game spread, we see that, instead of another rabbit, there is (on another overturned card) an airplane. Rabbit hops in the plane (the spread featured above) to find the other rabbit.

Along the way, he meets a whole host of animals, including birds who join him in the air. But, all in the name of pairing off, the birds meet some other birds and head off in another direction. Rabbit is alone again. When he lands on an island, he meets a king, a chicken, and a group of various creatures on the island. Each one of them pairs off. When Rabbit meets a dragon and asks if she has the other rabbit, the dragon tells Rabbit that, without the rabbit, she’ll be all alone. However, with the help of a beetle, Rabbit outsmarts the dragon — in the friendliest possible way. And I won’t give away the very end. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #485: Featuring Alexis Deacon

h1 Sunday, May 29th, 2016

I’ve got some art today from author-illustrator Alexis Deacon’s first graphic novel, Geis: A Matter of Life & Death. (“Geis,” a Gaelic word for a taboo or curse, is pronounced gesh.) It will be on bookshelves in July from Nobrow Press. [Edited to Add, 5/30/16: Alexis has illustrated this graphic novel, though Geis is still the first he’s both written and illustrated.]

Let me back up a bit and say that I love to see Alexis’s work, and I was happy to see he’d done a graphic novel. (I just read this 2014 Guardian piece about him and very much enjoyed it, if anyone wants to learn a bit more about him.) This is what the publisher calls a supernatural historical fantasy and is the first in a trilogy. Readers are promised at the book’s close that “soon” we will be able to read Book Two, A Game Without Rules.

The book opens with the death of the great chief, Matarka. Her will declares that “there would be a contest. Fate would choose the one fit to take her place.” Calling upon the Gods, fifty souls are summoned at night — to the confusion of everyone. Thus begins the contest to see who will become the ruler of the island.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I
Did Last Week, Featuring Too Many Artists to List Here

h1 Friday, May 27th, 2016

Today at Kirkus, I’ve got something a bit different — a thank-you to teachers who read aloud in the classroom. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote a Fall Picture Book preview (that is here), so today I’ve got a bit of art from each book. Well, there’s one exception: I’m going to write more later about Vera B. Williams’s Home at Last (Greenwillow, September 2016), illustrated by Chris Raschka. But today I have art from:

And I’m opening the post with an image from Bob Shea’s The Happiest Book Ever! (Disney-Hyperion, October 2016). (There’s one more illustration and the book cover below.)


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My Q&A with Faith Ringgold

h1 Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I do love the creativity and energy of children. My foundation, the Anyone Can Fly Foundation, is devoted to teaching children about the African American artists that have been left out of the historical canon.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Faith Ringgold, pictured here. Tar Beach, her first picture book and a Caldecott Honor book, is 25 years old this year. At Kirkus, we talk about that and her new book, We Came to America.

That is here this morning.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Faith Ringgold taken by Grace Matthews and used by permission of Knopf.


A Child of Books

h1 Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Arriving on bookshelves in September (Candlewick) will be Oliver Jeffers’s and Sam Winston’s A Child of Books, and today I’ve got a little sneak peek. First, they have created one of those newfangled book trailer dealios (to be exact) for the book, which is above. (It’s always fun to hear that Belfast accent.) Also, I have a wee tiny Q&A with the two below, and best of all, I’ve got two spreads from the book.

The book is a celebration of reading and words and story and has been described as a “prose poem.” It features a sort of orphan, a young girl who is “a child of books” and whose home is a “world of stories.” She invites a young boy to join her on a journey in her imagination, one buoyed by a love of narrative. The art is playful, incorporating the text of iconic children’s stories (apparently, forty of them), and even, at one point, lullabies. There’s a lot for observant readers to pore over in this book. As you can see here, typographic artist Sam Winston was the perfect collaborator for this one. (“A continuing theme is his exploration of the hidden narratives found in canonical bodies of text.”) Here is a 2014 interview with Sam at typorn, and I’ve featured Jeffers’s work several times here at 7-Imp, but here’s my 2010 breakfast interview with him.

They talk a bit below about their collaboration on this project.


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