Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

My Kirkus Chat with Seymour Simon

h1 Thursday, July 20th, 2017

When I write, I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in trying to teach facts. The facts may change, but the enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”

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This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator Seymour Simon about his newest nonfiction picture book and his career of making books for children, which has spanned over 300 books and nearly 50 years.

That is here.

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Photo of Seymour Simon © Charles Harbutt and used by permission.

My Kirkus Q&A with Leda Schubert

h1 Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Who invented the hot shower? I owe most of my first lines to that brilliant person. I can research and write and think and suffer, and then one morning—if lucky—the shower gods deliver a sentence. It is that sentence that allows me to stop researching endlessly and begin to write ….”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Leda Schubert, pictured here, about her new picture book biography of Pete Seeger, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2017), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Leda’s photo taken by Bear Pond Books.


My Kirkus Q&A with Dave Roman

h1 Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

It is frustrating to see how a willful ignorance is becoming almost a badge of honor for certain people. You see a lot of dismissive statements that are contrary to how science works. So, I think teaching kids that scientists work as a community of fact-checkers who never stop questioning and challenging our assumptions about the world is probably more relevant than ever.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author/illustrator Dave Roman about his work as the series editor for First Second’s Science Comics series of nonfiction graphic novels. I wanted to know, in particular, what it’s like to offer these science titles in a day and age of science-denial, which is what he addresses in the quote above.

The entire Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Dave’s self-portrait above used by permission of First Second.

Greg Pizzoli and The Quest for Z

h1 Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

“… He plunged his knife into its flesh,
but the snake turned out to be very much still alive ….”

Over at BookPage, I talk to author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli about his newest picture book, The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon (Viking, June 2017). It’s a book that is, as I note in my review, a complex and intriguing look at a man for whom European imperialism was unsuccessful — certainly a topic rarely addressed in most K-12 curricula. That Q&A is here, and my review of the book is here.

Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve got some spreads from the book.

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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)


— 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
— 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.

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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.


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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 �