Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

Where John Keats Meets Chris Raschka . . .

h1 Tuesday, April 25th, 2017


“For nothing would he do / But scribble poetry …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
It’s National Poetry Month, and I’m specifically marking it today—though I hope you celebrate it year-round by reading poetry no matter the month—with the beautiful A Song About Myself: A Poem by John Keats (Candlewick, March 2017). Keats evidently wrote this poem in a letter to his young sister, Fanny, while he was visiting Scotland, and now it’s in picture-book form, illustrated by the one, the only Chris Raschka. (Ezra Jack Keats also illustrated this back in ’65 as The Naughty Boy, published by Viking Press.)

“When John Keats was just twenty-two,” Raschka writes in the book’s closing Illustrator’s Note, “he decided to get out of London and go for a walk. … Arrived in the hills of Scotland, he wrote a letter to his sister. … And at the end of traveling twenty miles through the mountains he wrote …: ‘We have walked through a beautiful country to Kirkcudbright—at which place I will write you a song about myself.’ This is where his poem sits in the letter — a poem he did not think much of and which does not really have a title.” Raschka adds:

John Keats is remembered as one of the greatest romantic artists of all time …. He can also be remembered as a loving brother, who wanted to make his sister laugh with a funny little rhyme ….

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
R. Gregory Christie, Nate Powell, and Eugene Yelchin

h1 Friday, February 3rd, 2017


From John Lewis’s and Andrew Aydin’s March: Book Two,
illustrated by Nate Powell

(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST ELOQUENT PROFOUND AND UNEQUIVOCAL PLEAS FOR JUSTICE AND THE FREEDOM OF ALL MEN EVER MADE BY ANY PRESIDENT,’ telegrammed Dr. King as soon as the speech was over.”
— From Shana Corey’s
A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech,
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie


 

From Carmen Agra Deedy’s The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!,
illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

(Click to enlarge)


 
This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got three new picture books that make me wish I could snap my fingers and be in an elementary language arts classroom right about now. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about the third book in John Lewis’s and Andrew Aydin’s March trilogy (Top Shelf Productions), released last year and illustrated by Nate Powell; Carmen Agra Deedy’s The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic, January 2017), illustrated by Eugene Yelchin; and Shana Corey’s A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and coming to shelves from NorthSouth Books in April.

Today, I’ve got art from all three books in the March trilogy, as well as art from Yelchin and Christie.

Until Sunday …

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Chris Appelhans and Steve Light

h1 Friday, January 6th, 2017


— From Steve Light’s Lucky Lazlo


 

“A greyhound, a groundhog,
a found little
roundhog.”
— From Emily Jenkins’s
A Greyhound, a Groundhog
(Click to enlarge)


 
This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Patricia McKissack’s superb new book. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Emily Jenkins’s A Greyhound, a Groundhog (Schwartz & Wade, January 2017), illustrated by Chris Appelhans, as well as Steve Light’s Lucky Lazlo (Candlewick, December 2016).

I’m following up with some art from each book today, and Steve also shares some thoughts on Lazlo, as well as some early sketches and such. I thank him for sharing.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Elizabeth Baddeley

h1 Friday, December 16th, 2016


“Celia Amster Bader thought girls should also have the chance to
make their mark on the world. So she took Ruth to the library.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


 
Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got John Burningham on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Debbie Levy’s I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster, September 2016). Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve a bit of art.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

The Art of Christina Balit

h1 Thursday, December 15th, 2016


“A giant the size of a palm tree lumbered in. His teeth were boar tusks, his blubbery lips flopped against his chest, his eyes burned like torches, his nails curled into lion claws. He picked me up and felt me like a butcher feels a lamb. …”


 
Last week, I chatted here with Donna Jo Napoli about her new book, Tales From the Arabian Nights (National Geographic, October 2016), illustrated by Christina Balit. Here today is a bit of art from the book.

Enjoy!

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Diving Into the World of Beatrix Potter

h1 Tuesday, December 13th, 2016


Illustration for The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, 1903
(Click to enlarge)


 
Here’s a quick post to remind you that it’s still a good time to be a Beatrix Potter fan, as the world celebrates her 150th birthday this year. One of the best ways to celebrate it, I’ve found, is by reading The Art of Beatrix Potter: Sketches, Paintings, and Illustrations, released by Chronicle last month.

What a treat this book is! It features a whole heapin’ lot (to be precise) of her artwork—per the publisher, there are over 200 pieces of artwork here—and includes rare pieces, such as sketches from her notebooks, watercolors, unpublished works (even greeting cards), illustrated letters she sent, handwritten notes/drafts, pen-and-ink studies, and much more. Organized geographically (London and the South Coast; Scotland; The Lake District; Wales and Beyond), it is packed with information and art — information about her life and her inspirations. The text is from author, editor, and image researcher Emily Zach. There’s a foreword by Steven Heller, who teaches at the School of Visual Arts. Linda Lear, who previously wrote a biography of Potter, writes the introduction. And Scottish illustrator and painter Eleanor Taylor writes a reverent afterword. Her words stick with me: Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #513: Featuring Isabelle Arsenault

h1 Sunday, December 11th, 2016


“The river’s soil nurtured a garden where Louise and her family grew geraniums, peonies, asparagus, and cherry trees; apples and pears, purple tamarisk,
pink hawthorn, and sweet-smelling honeysuckle.
Along its banks, her father planted poplars.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
I’ve got some spreads today from Amy Novesky’s superb March picture book, Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois (Abrams), illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. This is an exquisite biography of Bourgeois, the French-American artist known for her sculpture and installation art.

The book opens with Louise as a young girl and places a particular emphasis on her close relationship with her mother, who restored tapestries and actively taught young Louise about the repair of fabrics and about “form and color and the various styles of textiles.” Novesky likens Louise’s mother to a spider, quoting Bourgeois who once said about her mother: “Deliberate … patient, soothing … subtle, indispensable … and as useful as an araignée.” The author also uses the river near Louise’s chilhood home as a theme in the book as well: “The river provided flowers and fruit, a lullaby, and a livelihood.” Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Chat with Donna Jo Napoli

h1 Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The tales come in so many different forms, and they deal with so many different topics. It was exceedingly difficult to choose just a few and still do justice to the sources. I wanted to give the reader a sense of the intricate and decorative nature of the structure of the whole, as well as an appreciation of the breadth of genres. But even more important than that was to select stories by the nature of what they would mean to Shah Rayar and how they could help him and Scheherazade expose their souls to one another.”

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Today over at Kirkus I talk with the one, the only Donna Jo Napoli, where we discuss her new book, Tales From the Arabian Nights (National Geographic, October 2016), illustrated by Christina Balit.

That Q&A is here today. Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some illustrations from the book.

(P.S. One of my favorite parts of this Q&A? “David Wiesner and I have made a graphic novel, a first for both of us, called Fish Girl.”)

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Photo of Donna Jo used by her permission.

Rediscovering Misuzu Kaneko with David Jacobson

h1 Thursday, October 27th, 2016


It took many, many rewrites to find the right degree of honesty, simplicity, and child-friendliness. In the end, I think we made the right decision.
Most people tell us they’re glad we handled the story the way we did.
Even one of the folks who opposed the inclusion of her death wrote me recently to say she had changed her mind. She was glad we decided to talk about Misuzu’s tragic end, because it helps us appreciate
her character and her poetry that much more.”

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Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with author David Jacobson about Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri and translated by Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi (Chin Music Press, September 2016). Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some spreads from the book.

The Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow . . .

My BookPage Chat with Melissa Sweet

h1 Tuesday, October 11th, 2016


“Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time, waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. … Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)


 
I’ve got an interview with Melissa Sweet over at BookPage. Go, go, go read it if you’re so inclined, because I really enjoyed our phone chat. That is here over in BookPage land.

We discussed her brand-new biography. It’s called Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2016) — and it’s some book. Here at 7-Imp today, I’ve got some studio images and preliminary images from Melissa, as well as a bit of final art (which you can come back and look at when you’re done with the interview). That is below. I thank Melissa for sharing.

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