Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #749: Featuring Aaron Cushley

h1 Sunday, June 27th, 2021

Last time I checked, there were more than 7.5 billion people on planet Earth. It can be difficult, with such a huge number on such a huge scale, to think about what life is like for others — but not when you do some math and shrink that number to 100 (which has certainly been done before, such as here and here). This is the idea behind If the World Were 100 People: A Visual Guide to Our Global Village (Crown Books), written by Jackie McCann, illustrated by Aaron Cushley, and coming to shelves in July.

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Keeping the City Going: An Interview with Brian Floca

h1 Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

It’s a pleasure to talk to author-illustrator Brian Floca today about Keeping the City Going (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, April 2021), what the Horn Book review called a “love letter” to New York City — and to the essential workers that kept cities going during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed paintings — in vignettes and expansive, full-bleed spreads — capture New York City last year, a time when it was “strangely still. Yet “[t]here are still some people out on the streets, driving this and that, heading from here to there. They might be family, friends, or strangers. They’re there because we need them. They’re the people keeping the city going.”

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The People’s Painter: A Visit from Evan Turk

h1 Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Cynthia Levinson’s newest picture book, The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art (Abrams, April 2021), illustrated by Evan Turk, is a force of nature. The book chronicles the life, starting from his childhood in Lithuania, of Shahn (1898-1969), the Jewish artist and activist whose figurative paintings and posters aligned with his social justice causes.

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Code Breaker, Spy Hunter

h1 Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

If, like me, you hadn’t heard of Elizebeth Friedman, author Laurie Wallmark and illustrator Brooke Smart have got you covered in Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars (Abrams, March 2021).

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Juliet Menéndez’s Latinitas

h1 Thursday, January 21st, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)

In the introduction to her book, Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers (Godwin Books/Henry Holt, February 2021), author/illustrator Juliet Menéndez writes that she wishes she had, as a child, discovered the women she features in this book. She adds: “When I first had the idea … I was working as an art teacher in Upper Manhattan. Like me, most of the students at the time were bicultural and had families from places like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. But as I walked through the halls, the posters on the walls were of historical figures like Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Dalí. I asked myself: What if some fresh, new faces, that looked more like my students, were up on these walls?” This was the birth of her book, which features women from all over Latin America and the U.S. and includes life stories that go back as far as the 17th century.

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Speaking the Unspeakable

h1 Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

“Once upon a time on Black Wall Street, there were dozens of restaurants and grocery stores. There were furriers, a pool hall, a bus system, and an auto shop —
nearly two hundred businesses in all.”

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre represents one of the most heinous occurrences of racial violence in American history, yet students won’t read about it in most history textbooks. Acclaimed poet and author Carole Boston Weatherford addresses the story of the massacre and what spawned it in her newest picture book, illustrated by Floyd Cooper and on shelves early next month — Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre (Carolrhoda Books). It’s a tour de force, this one.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #724: Featuring Stephen T. Johnson
and Romana Romanyshyn & Andriy Lesiv

h1 Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

— From Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv’s Sound: Shhh … Bang … POP … BOOM!


— From Stephen T. Johnson’s Music Is …

Who’s up for exploring the world of sound with me today? I’ve got two 2020 picture books here — Stephen T. Johnson’s Music Is … (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, October 2020) and Romana Romanyshyn’s and Andriy Lesiv’s Sound: Shhh … Bang … Pop … BOOM! (Handprint, October 2020). The latter was originally published in Ukraine and is translated by Vitaly Chernetsky.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #719: Featuring Jason Chin

h1 Sunday, November 29th, 2020

Jason Chin’s newest picture book, Your Place in the Universe (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, September 2020), is the kind of book that tiny-me would have looooooved. As a child, I’d sit and think about the immeasurable vastness of the universe and wonder what, if anything, was at the edges of it. Chin’s book is all about scale, size, and distance — on our own planet and in the universe as a whole. And he expertly, and beautifully, structures this small book about such a big cosmological subject — no small task, indeed.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #716: Featuring This Is Your Time

h1 Sunday, November 8th, 2020

I don’t have illustrations for you today, dear Imps, as I normally do. But I want to take a moment to highlight a book that will be on shelves next week — This Is Your Time (Random House), written by civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges.

This is a short (64 pages) and small but powerful book. Ruby Bridges, as you know if you know your American history, was the first Black student—at the age of six—to desegregate an all-white elementary school. We’ve all seen the images of Ruby being escorted by four federal marshals on her first day at William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans on November 14, 1960. Ruby was the subject of the Norman Rockwell painting on this book’s cover.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #714: Featuring James Otis Smith

h1 Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Black Heroes of the Wild West: Featuring Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons, released by Toon Graphics last month, is the first book that James Otis Smith has both written and illustrated. It’s a book that shines a light on Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons—in three separate sets of comics. But there’s also a good deal of additional information provided, particularly in the book’s detailed backmatter. It all adds up to a book that gives readers a perspective on U.S. history that is not often seen and spotlights Black figures in history that have been routinely overlooked. The caption for the painting A Dash for the Timber (1889), which is included in the book’s introduction, says it all: ” … [R]enowned painter of the West Frederic S. Remington shows cowboys as a group of white men. In fact, a large number were Mexican or Native American, and as many as one-third were African American.”

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