Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

Rob Dunlavey on David Elliott’s In the Woods

h1 Friday, March 20th, 2020



 
Today, illustrator Rob Dunlavey visits to talk about illustrating David Elliott’s In the Woods (Candlewick, April 2020), a poetry collection that explores 15 creatures in their woodland habitats — from little (the millipede) to large (the moose). Elliott kicks things off with the bear and wraps it all up, gracefully, with the deer. In between, there’s awe, humor, and always keen observation in these short, exquisitely crafted poems. Rob’s illustrations eloquently capture the light and shadows of these homes in the woods, and today, he talks about the creation of some of these spreads.

I thank him for visiting. Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry �

Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children

h1 Tuesday, March 17th, 2020



 
Here’s a post to showcase a couple of spreads from Jonah Winter’s Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children (Schwartz & Wade, February 2020), illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Winter doesn’t approach this story in a traditional picture-book-bio kind of way. That is, we don’t start with the birth of Mary Harris, a.k.a. Mother Jones, and end with her death. Instead, Winter kicks things off with Mother Jones in the midst of her fervent anger: “My name is Mother Jones, and I’m MAD. And you’d be MAD, too, if you’d seen what I’ve seen.”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #681: Featuring Anke Kuhl

h1 Sunday, March 8th, 2020



 
I read just this morning about a well-reviewed book about sex, aimed at children and written by a sex educator, causing all kinds of controversy at a Massachusetts school. To be clear, I haven’t read that particular book, but generally speaking these kinds of stories bum me out. Children deserve, for many reasons, straight-up talk about their changing bodies, sex, and gender identity, and at least here in the South, I find that many adults would just like to pretend students don’t have curiosity about these things all. (What passes for sex education here is pretty dismal.)

That’s one reason I was happy to read Tell Me: What Children Really Want to Know about Bodies, Sex and Emotions (Gecko), a German import (originally published in 2014 and translated by Shelley Tanaka) now on shelves here in the U.S. It is written by Katharina von der Gathen and illustrated by Anke Kuhl. And it is a breath of fresh air. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #679: Featuring Chloe Bristol

h1 Sunday, February 23rd, 2020



 
If you are a fan of Edward Gorey’s books, you may be interested in Lori Mortensen’s new picture book biography, Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey (Versify), illustrated by Chloe Bristol and coming to shelves in March. Evidently, Gorey would have turned 95 this year.

Mortensen writes in a chummy tone — “Greetings, Dear Reader!” the book opens — with hints of (and tributes to) Gorey’s writing style throughout. She kicks things off in 1925 with Gorey as a child, a “dandy boy who looked out his window, drew sausage-shaped pictures of city-bound trains, and taught himself to read.” She marks his introduction to the books that would eventually change his life — such “quaint and curious” and “dark and disturbing” books as Dracula and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The Next President

h1 Wednesday, February 19th, 2020


“And some don’t have a clue yet that one day they’ll be president.”

I reviewed Kate Messner’s The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents (Chronicle), illustrated by Adam Rex and coming to shelves in March, for the Horn Book. And that review has been posted over there. As I wrote in my review, there are picture books aplenty about U.S. presidents, but I recommend you make way for this breath of fresh air. To read the entire review, head here.

Today here at 7-Imp, I have some spreads from the book, and Adam also shares some early sketches. I thank him for sharing.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #675:
Featuring a Picture Book Stack

h1 Sunday, January 26th, 2020



 
I’ve a feature over at BookPage that includes some new picture book selections for Black History Month, which is just around the bend. These are also books to be read and shared all year, ones that pay tribute to the lives of African Americans who have contributed to the arts, sciences, and the written word.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #674: Featuring Beth Waters

h1 Sunday, January 19th, 2020



 
It may be 2020, but here’s one more 2019 picture book, this one released back in September — Beth Waters’s Child of St Kilda (Child’s Play). This is the detailed, 64-page story of a “lost way of life,” a book that took Waters over two years of research and was nominated for the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #665: Featuring Ashley Bryan

h1 Sunday, November 24th, 2019


Today I’ve got some spreads from one of my very favorite 2019 books — Ashley Bryan’s Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, October 2019). This is a 112-page picture book memoir that chronicles the award-winning author-illustrator’s (often harrowing) experiences in the segregated army of World War II (he was drafted in 1943 while an art student at Cooper Union) and, essentially, how his love of art got him through. This is the first time Bryan writes publicly of his war experiences and shares them with the wider world.

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Lucy Knisley on Kid Gloves

h1 Wednesday, September 11th, 2019



 
Author and comics artist Lucy Knisley has written (and drawn) candidly about many stages of her life — her childhood as the daughter of a chef and gourmet (Relish, published in 2012); her trip abroad to Europe/Scandinavia as a single woman (An Age of License: A Travelogue, published in 2014); her marriage to her partner (Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride, published in 2016); and more. And I’m there, so totally there, for these comics memoirs; I hope she continues to document every stage of her life. (As someone there now myself, I’ll be eager to read her take on middle age’hood.)

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Wrinkles

h1 Wednesday, September 4th, 2019



 
Here’s a post to highlight a book it makes me happy to see on shelves, especially given the often disparaging cultural conversations around women (in particular) and aging. But Wrinkles (Phaidon, September 2019) from the artist known as JR is supposed to be a book for children, so does it work for them? I think so.

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