Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

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.

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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there are over 200 pieces of artwork here—and includes rare pieces, such as sketches from her notebooks, watercolors, unpublished works (even greeting cards), illustrated letters she sent, handwritten notes/drafts, pen-and-ink studies, and much more.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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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.

Read the rest of this entry �