Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Bagram Ibatoulline

h1 Friday, September 12th, 2014

Today at Kirkus, I write about two picture books, Chieri Uegaki’s Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, illustrated by Qin Leng, and Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winner Frank Morrison. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about two wonderful new books for budding, young photographers, Susan Goldman Rubin’s Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, and Ruth Thomson’s Photos Framed: A Fresh Look at the World’s Most Memorable Photographs. I’ve got a bit of art from Ibatoulline today.

Read the rest of this entry �

Wildness

h1 Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014



 

I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week.

This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.)

Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link is here.

Today, we have a short post on celebrity children’s books (which gets an entire chapter in our book). We have the nice folks at the Horn Book to thank for re-posting a piece Peter once wrote about the celebrity book trend. (And when I read the Twitter response mentioned in this post, I laughed so hard, my husband came in the room to ask me if I was okay.)

Later this week, we’ll look at some feuds, some early exits of children’s lit, a funky Buddha party, films and children’s books, and more. It’s all here.

Until Thursday …

“We used to laugh so hard at The Stupids Step Out that milk would trickle from our noses at the dinner table.”

h1 Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I’m having fun at the site for Wild Things!, where my co-author and I are sharing a story a day, at least till publication of our book in early August — stories, that is, which were cut from our original manuscript. So, yeah. I’m now running two blogs at once — or at least, co-running one and running another, but hey, it’s been fun to share these stories over there. I’ll sleep during the apocalypse.

I posted about it the other day and mentioned our first posts. Here’s what’s going on this week:

  • On Tuesday, we told the story of what happened when Charles Dickens said to Hans Christian Andersen, why don’t you swing by and stay with me sometime? (Big mistake.) That is here.
  • Today, it’s a tribute to James Marshall and a touching story about his resting place. And that is here (and that is where this post title comes from).

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at Twinkles Lowry and Slim Hyman: The Untold Story. Friday, we’ll have a tribute to Nancy Garden, and on Saturday we’ll take a look at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (or When You Might Want to Rethink Buying Your Own Tropical Island).

It’s all here.

In the meantime, see you back here at 7-Imp tomorrow.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #386: Featuring Brian Floca

h1 Sunday, June 15th, 2014


(Click to enlarge)


“The seal’s coat was silvery brown. She was eight feet long—as long as a long surfboard—and she weighed twelve hundred pounds — as much as fifteen Labrador retrievers. The people of Christchurch knew there was something very special about her. She was strong and powerful and regal — like Elizabeth, the Queen of England. And so they named her, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas.”
(Click to enlarge)


 
Good morning, all. First up, it’s Father’s Day, so happy Father’s Day to you dad-readers out there. And happy Father’s Day to all the father figures in our lives. (It just so happens that I wrote here on Friday about some great picture books about fathers — and even some grandfathers can be spotted in some of those pages.)

This morning, Caldecott medalist Brian Floca is sharing some sketches from his latest illustrated book, Lynne Cox’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas (Schwartz & Wade, May 2014), and I’ve got some art from the book as well. And, since Atheneum Books for Young Readers just re-issued (in early June) Brian’s Five Trucks (pictured left), originally released back in 1999 by DK Publishing, I’ve got some art from that as well. And Brian has some early sketches from that book to share, too.

Lynne’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas opens with an Author’s Note about how Lynne once traveled to New Zealand (she is a world-renowned long-distance swimmer and writer and headed there to swim some lakes near Mount Cook), and it was there that she met a boy named Michael, standing along the Avon River near the city of Christchurch, who asked her if she was looking for Elizabeth. When she asked who it was that they meant, the boy explained that Elizabeth was an elephant seal, and both the boy and his sister told Lynne the story of the “Queen of the Seas.”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Edwin Fotheringham and … well, the Wyeths

h1 Friday, June 13th, 2014


“In college, he still dreamed of fields and woods and home. But by his junior year in 1820, he also found new things to love: reading stacks of books, discussing them with friends, and recording ‘new thoughts’ in a journal. He named his journal The Wide World. His thoughts took him everywhere. And when he finished school and set out on his own, he wondered: Could he build a life around these things he loved?”
– Art from Barbara Kerley’s
A Home for Mr. Emerson, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
(Click image to enlarge)


“Ann loved dolls but Andrew’s favorites were trains, a hook and ladder that pumped real water, and his toy soldiers. When he was six, N.C. painted his portrait.
Andrew wouldn’t hold still. N.C. gave him the toy fire engine to hold, but he kept moving, so N.C. left the hands unfinished.”
– From Susan Goldman Rubin’s
Everybody Paints!:
The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
This morning over at Kirkus, since Father’s Day is upon us, I write about some of my favorite picture books featuring fathers. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about two new biographies, Barbara Kerley’s A Home for Mr. Emerson (Scholastic, February 2014), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (Chronicle, February 2014).

Today, I’ve got a bit of art from the Emerson book, and Edwin is also sharing a few sketches and a few words below.

I’ve also got some spreads from the Wyeth biography. It turns out that (legally-speaking), I can post some art from the Wyeth book, if I include the spreads in their entirety. No problem. I’ll share them here. I’ve been a long-time fan of the art that has come from the Wyeth clan—my bookshelves groan under my collection of Wyeth books—and I hope you enjoy the spreads here today.

Until Sunday … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, June 6th, 2014

Today over at Kirkus, I write about two (relatively) new biographies, Barbara Kerley’s A Home for Mr. Emerson (Scholastic, February 2014), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (Chronicle, February 2014), pictured above.

That link is here, and next week I hope to have art from each book.

Until Sunday …

Jason Chin: On Gravity and Temperamental Gouache

h1 Thursday, May 15th, 2014

These paintings were done in watercolor and gouache, and let me tell you gouache can be really frustrating. It was really temperamental, and to be honest, when I handed in the book, I swore I’d never use it again. Of course, for my next book I pulled out the gouache and used it again.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Jason Chin, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Gravity (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, April 2014). That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some of the rejected endings that Jason talks about in the piece.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jason Chin by Deirdre Gill and used with permission.

What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, April 18th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May. It made me want to find my own family photos of girls or women standing on lawns, which are in that piece over at Kirkus. Pictured above is my maternal grandmother.

That column is here today.

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Pictured above is Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. I chatted with him at Kirkus yesterday about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin), illustrated by Catia Chien and also set to be released in early May. “This story,” Rabinowitz tells me, “is not just about a stuttering boy who studied jaguars, but about all children who feel sad, abused, or misunderstood by the world at large ….” It’s a remarkable story. That Q&A is here.

Until Sunday …

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Photo of Alan Raboniwitz by Steve Winter and used with permission.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #373:
Featuring Sophie Benini Pietromarchi

h1 Sunday, March 16th, 2014


(Click to enlarge)

In The Color Book, to be released by Tara Books next month, Sophie Benini Pietromarchi explores color with child readers in a multitude of ways. “If you ask me,” she writes on page one, “I would have preferred to color quietly, instead of talking. I’m marking this great white page with blue ink, but ideally, I would rather not have written any words at all. Color speaks for itself better than words can — you can ‘feel’ color, and it goes straight to your heart.” But despite this, she notes, she wrote the book to invite children to “get to know colors” — by playing with them, contemplating their subtleties and meanings, considering the emotions that they evoke. It’s what she calls a color dance.

It’s a book both poetic and practical. She opens by relaying the feelings she remembers from her childhood — all based on colors. She then explores what colors are capable of by creating a character for each one (the Red Dragon, Mrs. Brown Snail, etc.), and she further discusses colors and moods by devoting an entire chapter to them. In the book’s second section, “The Basics,” she discusses such things as primary colors, complementary colors, and contrasting colors. And she closes the book by suggesting readers create their own books that explore color; her suggestions for readers’ color books are detailed, and child readers could easily follow along.

Pietromarchi, who both wrote and illustrated the book, uses collages, photos, and found objects in nature to lay it all out, and with an infectious passion for art, she invites readers to make connections and create art meaningful to them.

Here are a few more spreads … Read the rest of this entry �

A Quick Art Break, Watercolor-Style

h1 Thursday, March 13th, 2014


“… I remember my aunt Gladys’s house next door. It was also a big stone house, but it smelled different from ours, like old milk, and there was randomness in the way that everything was placed as though it had been dropped in haste wherever it was.
There was also a crucific on the living-room wall.
It was an object that was missing from our living room. …”

(Click to enlarge)


 
Since I chatted at Kirkus last week (here) with author-illustrator and graphic designer James McMullan about his new memoir, Leaving China: An Artist Paints His World War II Childhood (Algonquin, March 2014), I am following up today with two watercolors from the book. Read the rest of this entry �