Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

On Falling with Elisha Cooper

h1 Tuesday, July 19th, 2016


(Click to enlarge)


 
Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper and I started chatting about his new memoir, Falling, back in May when he was at the Sendak farm as a 2016 Sendak Fellow (hence the mug above), and I’m just now posting our conversation. (The Danielsons are moving to a new home this summer, so I take all the blame for the slow pace of this chat, though since I always enjoy talking with him, let’s just say I did it on purpose.)

Falling (published by Pantheon in June) is sub-titled A Daughter, a Father, and a Journey Back, and it tells the story of discovering a lump under his five-year-old daughter’s ribs and her subsequent diagnosis of cancer. With tenderness, wit, and precision, he writes about the changes in life brought about by the pediatric cancer, outlining his daughter’s treatment and even post-treatment, and the hopelessness he felt as a parent. But, as you can see in our chat below, the book is also infused with a spirit of hope (and, fortunately, his daughter is also now cancer-free). As the Publishers Weekly review notes, it’s a memoir that is poignant but never melodramatic.

Let’s get to it. Finally. I thank Elisha for taking the time to chat. (Bonus: There’s some art below.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #483:
Featuring Jeffery Boston Weatherford

h1 Sunday, May 15th, 2016


” … Of more than 400,000 pilots trained / by the CPTP, only 2,000 are black; / less than half of a percent. / Yet 2,000 dreams of flight / are finally off the ground.”


 
Today I’ve got a bit of art from Carole Boston Weatherford’s newest book, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford and released by Atheneum this month. This is a series of poems, aimed at middle-school readers, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

The poems are powerful, Weatherford bringing to life with vivid language the voices of these aviators, the first African-American military pilots of the war. She writes in a second-person voice—“You see the posters: Uncle Sam Wants You. / If only that meant in the cockpit.”—which brings the reader into the poems with an immediacy. It’s a very effective technique, as it gives space for the reader to imagine him or herself in the events Weatherford’s precise poetry conjures. The poems cover a wide range of tones, as Weatherford notes the pilots’ struggles, as well as their accomplishments. “[Weatherford’s] skill with language,” notes the Kirkus review, “provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men.” The review closes: It’s a “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.”

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Gareth Hinds

h1 Tuesday, March 29th, 2016



 
If you like the artwork of Gareth Hinds, pictured right, you’re in for a treat today. In this, his breakfast visit to 7-Imp, he shares a whole heapin’ lot of artwork, and it’s my pleasure to feature it.

You may have already heard a lot this year about Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. (Pictured above is an early sketch from the book.) It is the 256-page nonfiction account, written by Pamela S. Turner and illustrated by Gareth, of the life of 12th-century samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune, and it has been met with a host of starred reviews. Booklist calls it “pure excitement”; Kirkus calls it a “well-researched narrative told with true grit”; and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books writes, “It’s not often that ‘biography’ and ‘page-turner’ come together in one thought, but Turner’s tale of the twelfth-century warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune is just the work to draw samurai fans from the manga and movie aisles into the nonfiction shelves.” It’s even a book getting early Newbery buzz. Gareth’s eloquent brush-and-ink drawings open each chapter of the book.

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A Visit with Larry Day

h1 Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016


“… Yes, they said, that youngster Roosevelt is going to do big stuff—
exactly like his famous, older cousin, President Ted.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Illustrator Larry Day is in 7-Imp Land today to talk about creating the artwork for Suzanne Tripp Jurmain’s new picture book (Dial, January 2016), Nice Work, Franklin!. The book—which kicks off the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency by emphasizing how much he idolized his cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt—is a lively account of FDR’s challenges and successes as President. Jurmain brings readers an accessible text filled with engaging anecdotes about FDR’s life.

Larry, who has illustrated many books about American history, talks here today about the artwork, what a Wolff pencil is, and why he likes illustrating nonfiction in general.

Enjoy!

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Two Things Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

I’m gonna resort to my favorite, the rock-and-roll hands:

I’m Chicago-bound on Friday to talk about blogging at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books at National Louis University. Since 7-Imp is 10 years old this year, I could talk all day but instead have one hour to fill. If you’re in Chicago and signed up for this, come say hi. Here’s the info.

 

Here At Kirkus, I’m looking at The Stories in Between and “informational literacy and historical thinking.” (If you read it, you’ll see this is take-two on the column that was up for just a little while on Friday.)

 

I’ll be back later this week. Happy reading!

Shaking Up Storytimes . . .

h1 Thursday, January 21st, 2016

We create art and share art, because it helps us express visions of ourselves, our values, our history, or hopes. I resist any notion that this communication must be a one-way street, given from adults on high to children below; as children encounter picture books and their stories and art, I want to empower them to critically engage with the ideas, ideologies, and representations that text and art communicate and to delight in how sharing books and talking about them can foster their own thinking and creativity.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Megan Down Lambert, pictured here, about her new book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge, 2015). If you love picture books, you will be interested in this.

That link is here today.

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Photo of Megan used by her permission and taken by Sean P. Lambert St. Marie.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #463: Featuring
Andrea Dezsö, Jonas Lauströer, & Sybille Schenker

h1 Sunday, December 27th, 2015


“All of the sudden an enormous whale came puffing up to him and cried out,
‘Who said you could catch the subjects of my realm and take them away with you?
This will cost you your life!'”
— Andrea Dezsö’s illustration for “The Three Sisters”


 

“Little Red Cap opened her eyes wide, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing back and forth as they shone through the trees, and all the lovely flowers growing in the forest, she thought: if I take Grandmother a bunch of fresh flowers
she’d like that, too.”
— From
Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated by Sybille Schenker
(Click to see spread in its entirety, including the text)


 

“The hedgehog shut the door behind him and took the path to the field. He had not gone very far from home, and was just rounding the blackthorn bush which stands at the edge of the field, when he spied the hare who had gone out on business
of the same kind—namely, to visit his cabbages.”
— From
The Hare & the Hedgehog, illustrated by Jonas Lauströer
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Good morning, dear kickers. Last week over at Kirkus, I had fairy tales on the mind (that is here, if you’re so inclined to read it), and so today I’m following up that column with art from the books I wrote about. This means I have illustrations from the following books:

  • The Brothers Grimm’s The Hare & the Hedgehog from German illustrator Jonas Lauströer (Minedition, October 2015);
  • The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition, translated and edited by Jack Zipes with illustrations from Andrea Dezsö (Princeton University Press, 2014);
  • Sybille Schenker’s Little Red Riding Hood, translated into English by Anthea Bell (Minedition, 2014).

In that column, I also mentioned Schenker’s Hansel and Gretel (2011), and I’ve got art from that here at 7-Imp.

Enjoy!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Pascal Blanchet

h1 Friday, December 18th, 2015


“She hears faint voices coming from outside. Peeking through the curtains,
she sees a car in front of her house. …”


 
Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got the Grimm Brothers on the mind. That is here today.

* * *

Last week I wrote here about an import and my favorite holiday picture book this year, India Desjardins’ Marguerite’s Christmas, illustrated by Pascal Blanchet (Enchanted Lion, November 2015). I’m following up today with some beautiful spreads from the book.

Enjoy!

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Art from Özge

h1 Thursday, December 17th, 2015



 
As a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week (here) with Özge Samanci, I’ve got art here today from Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey (Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, November 2015).

You can click on each image below (except for the last one and the book cover) to enlarge slightly and see in a bit more detail.

Enjoy!

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A Conversation with Özge Samanci

h1 Thursday, December 10th, 2015

I was afraid of making this book. It was perfect in my mind. I did not want to try and ruin it. But the idea was burning in me. … Living with a book in my mind that long was painful. It was like dragging a heavy suitcase wherever you go.”

 

Today over at Kirkus, I talk to Özge Samanci, pictured here, about her debut book, the graphic memoir Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey.

That Q&A is here today, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some art from Özge’s book.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Özge Samanci taken by Shirley Adams and used by permission.