Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

8 at 7-Imp: A Visit from Elisha Cooper

h1 Tuesday, August 11th, 2015



 
Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper is classin’ up the ol’ blog today with a visit to talk about his newest picture book, 8: An Animal Alphabet (Orchard Books/Scholastic, July 2015).

This is my kind of alphabet book, I tell you what. It’s filled with lovely Elisha-Cooper surprises. (First things first: When you get a copy, remove the dustjacket if you can.) As you’ll read below from Elisha, for each letter of the alphabet he’s painted animals whose names begin with that letter. And on each page, one animal is pictured eight times, and it’s the reader’s job to find those animals. The back of the book includes two glorious “Did you know?” spreads that lay out fun facts about each animal in the book. There’s a bit of additional info there, too, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

It’s a beautifully designed book, and if you like to see Elisha’s graceful watercolors as much as I do, you’re in for a treat with this one. His composition choices on these spreads are superb. It’s a truly outstanding alphabet book and has garnered a big pile of starred reviews already.

Here’s more from Elisha about the book, and I thank him for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #444: Featuring Ekua Holmes

h1 Sunday, August 9th, 2015


“I was just six when I dragged / my first bag down a row of cotton.”
(Click to enlarge spread and read poem, “Delta Blues,” in its entirety)


 
I’ve got two spreads today from Carole Boston Weatherford’s new biography in verse of Fannie Lou Hamer, called Voice of Freedom (Candlewick, August 2015). The book is illustrated by Ekua Holmes, who is new to picture books but is a working fine artist. Her collage pieces in this book are simply exquisite.

In free verse, Weatherford tells the story of activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who was known as the voice of the civil rights movement and fought for voting rights for African Americans and racial equality. Weatherford takes readers from her childhood in the Mississippi Delta all the way to her lifelong service award in 1976 from the Congressional Black Caucus. In between—and with great reverence and passion for her subject matter—Weatherford touches upon Hamer’s many accomplishments, including Mississippi’s Freedom Summer, her establishment of grassroots Head-Start programs, her work for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, her appearance at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in New Jersey, and her efforts toward the passing of the Voting Rights Act.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus (and Chapter 16) This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Shane W. Evans and James E. Ransome

h1 Friday, August 7th, 2015


“We worked together a lot. But we played a lot, too. We really loved to go fishing. Sometimes I would complain when I didn’t get a bite right away,
but my granddaddy always said, ‘Patience, son, patience.'”
– From
Granddaddy’s Turn
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

“As long as Lillian still has a pulse, she is going to vote—and so she keeps on climbing, keeps on seeing, this time the second march from Selma.
This march also ends on the bridge, in a prayer ….”
– From
Lillian’s Right to Vote
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
This morning over at Kirkus, I write about two new Asian picture book imports. That link is here.

Also, over here at Chapter 16, I talk to Deanna Caswell, the author of Beach House (Chronicle, May 2015), illustrated by Amy June Bates.

* * *

Last week I wrote here about two new picture books that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Voting Rights Act — Michael S. Bandy’s and Eric Stein’s Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box (Candlewick, July 2015), illustrated by James E. Ransome, and Jonah Winter’s Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Schwartz & Wade, July 2015), illustrated by Shane W. Evans.

Today I’ve got a bit of art from each book. Enjoy.

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Catching Up with Liz Garton Scanlon

h1 Thursday, August 6th, 2015

It became clear to me that [my character’s] family had religious traditions and that she was going to be reckoning with the comfort and the challenges of those traditions as part of her coming-of-age. Then, as Paul fleshed out as a science kid, I realized that faith and science were going to get to play off of each other, which I thought was awesome (and daunting). I worried that readers on ‘either side’ would be offended, but I really believe that discussions around religion and science are way too polarized, so it felt both true and worth it to look at them in a true and blurrier way.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Liz Garton Scanlon about her first middle-grade novel, The Great Good Summer (Beach Lane Books), released this May.

We also talk about her forthcoming picture book, In the Canyon (also Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Ashley Wolff and coming to shelves this month.

That conversation is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art and early sketches from In the Canyon, thanks to Ashley.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Liz used by her permission.

A Visit with Artist Keith Mallett

h1 Tuesday, August 4th, 2015


“And let’s say one day when you were a little older,
you sat right down at a black piano and you commenced to play …”


 
There’s a new picture book biography on shelves, Jonah Winter’s How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, June 2015), illustrated by Keith Mallett (pictured right). The book opens in a tremendously inviting way:

Here’s what could’ve happened if you were born a way down south in New Orleans, in the Land of Dreams a long, long time ago.

Let’s say you had a godmother, and she put a spell on you because she was a voodoo queen. …

Voodoo queen? Hoo boy, my attention is piqued.

Author and illustrator go on to lay out the musician’s early life and rise to fame, as well as his contributions to jazz. They address the whole who-invented-jazz conundrum—“And, to tell the truth of it, maybe Mister Jelly Roll didn’t invent jazz, not exactly, ’cause it took a lot of cooks to make that stew … but he sure did spread it around the towns”—and in an informative closing author’s note [“How Jelly Roll Morton (Might Have) Invented Jazz”], Winter goes into more detail about this and what distinguished Morton from his fellow musicians. Robin Smith captured the book well in the Horn Book’s review: “Much like jazz itself, Winter has created a book filled with ebbs and flows, rhythm and rhyme, darkness and light, shadow and sunshine.”

This is Mallett’s first picture book, though he’s been an artist and designer for more than thirty years. His acrylic paintings in this bio, bustling with energy and filled with beguiling shadows, are rich and reverent. He’s visiting today with some art (sans text) and early sketches from the book — and to talk a bit about his work. He even shares a bit of other art (not from this biography). I thank him for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #443: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Amanda Driscoll

h1 Sunday, August 2nd, 2015


“Together they battled sea monsters …
dodged icebergs …”

(Click to enlarge)


 
It’s the first Sunday of the month (welcome, August!), so I have a debut author-illustrator today. But she’s also local talent (local to 7-Imp Land, that is), and I always like to shine the spotlight when I can on local picture book-creators.

Amanda Driscoll’s first book, Duncan the Story Dragon (Knopf, June 2015), is the story of a dragon who loves to read. As you can probably guess, his problem is that, though his imagination catches fire when he reads, so do his books. Quite literally. All Duncan wants to do is finish a book. So many plots; so many questions. “I want to read those two wonderful words,” he says, “like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake … ‘The End.'” Eventually, Duncan finds a friend to read to him, but I won’t ruin the entire story for you.

Amanda is a graphic designer and artist and lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She’s here today to tell us more about herself, this debut picture book, and her work. I thank her for visiting.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did
Last Week, Featuring Marianne Dubuc and Olivier Tallec

h1 Friday, July 31st, 2015


“Who is in disguise?”
– From Olivier Tallec’s
Who Done It?
(Click to enlarge)


 

“Ambassadors from far and wide would also
travel long distances to pay tribute to him, king of the sheep.”
– From Olivier Tallec’s
Louis I: King of the Sheep
(Click to enlarge)


 

“It’s Monday, and Mr. Postmouse is starting his rounds. …”
– From Marianne Dubuc’s
Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds
(Click to enlarge)


 
Today over at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books about the 50th anniversary of the historic Voting Rights Acts of 1965. That link is here.

* * *

Today here at 7-Imp, I have some art from the three French imports I wrote about last week (here): Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds (Kids Can Press, August 2015), written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc, as well as Louis I: King of the Sheep (Enchanted Lion, September 2015) and Who Done It? (Chronicle, October 2015), each written and illustrated by Olivier Tallec.

Enjoy the art. …

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The Return of Dory

h1 Thursday, July 30th, 2015


Final art:
“That night my brain keeps waking me up with so many questions.”


 

Above: Early sketch


 
Today, author-illustrator Abby Hanlon shares some final art and early sketches from Dory and the Real True Friend (Dial, July 2015), which she and I talked about last week here at Kirkus.

Enjoy the art. …

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A Lisbeth-Zwerger Moment

h1 Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


“Every afternoon, as they were coming from school,
the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden.
It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. …”


 
Because Lisbeth Zwerger has always been one of my favorite illustrators, including one of the artists who made me want to study children’s literature, and because seeing her artwork improves the very quality of my day (and yours, I hope), I have a bit of art today from Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, as illustrated by Zwerger.

Zwerger originally illustrated this story back in 1984, but Minedition has released a new edition (April of this year). In fact, it’s called a “mini-Minedition,” because the book has a tiny trim size.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #442: Featuring Beatrice Alemagna

h1 Sunday, July 26th, 2015


“This morning I heard my sister says these words:
‘birthday—Mommy—fuzzy—little—squishy.’
‘Oh, no!’ I thought. ‘She’s going to give Mom the most amazing present!’
I had to do something too. But what?”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Today I’ve got some illustrations from Beatrice Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy. Originally published in France last year, it’s coming to American shelves in September from Enchanted Lion Books.

Look closely on the title page spread, and you’ll see a quote from Fifi Brindacier (a.k.a. Pippi Longstocking, as she’s known in France):

It’s best for young children to live an orderly life. Especially if they order it themselves.

I love this, and it’s the perfect fit for this story, in which a five-and-a-half-year-old girl named Edith (but her friends call her Eddie) sets out to find a fuzzy little squishy.

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