Archive for the 'Nonfiction' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan

h1 Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Happy Sunday to all. Illustrator Jamie Hogan is visiting today to talk about her latest illustrated book, written by April Pulley Sayre and released back at the beginning of this year. It’s called Here Come the Humpbacks! (Charlesbridge, February 2013), and it tells the story of a humpback whale calf and its mother, as well as the dangers they face during migration.

The image above is from one of Jamie’s sketchbooks. It has nothing to do with April’s book (way more on that below); I just like it.

Let’s get to it, since Jamie talks a bit about creating the illustrations for this book and what’s next for her. (I wish we were chatting in person on the beautiful island where she lives in Maine.)

Read the rest of this entry �

A Poetry Break

h1 Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

“At first you’ll joy to see the playful snow, /
Like white moths trembling on the tropic air, /
Or waters of the hills that softly flow /
Gracefully falling down a shining stair. …”
– From Claude McKay’s “To One Coming North”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)

I’m preparing for two presentations about children’s literature this week, on top of my regular work, so I’m going to be brief today. I share some artwork here from Karen Barbour, rendered in watercolor, ink, and collage, from African American Poetry (January 2013, though technically the copyright date is 2012), the latest in Sterling’s Poetry for Young People series.

Edited by Arnold Rampersad (Stanford University) and Marcellus Blount (Columbia University), this is a collection of poetry celebrating the works of African Americans over the last two hundred years. Blount selected the poems, and Rampersad writes the informative introduction. There’s a wide range of poetry here from the likes of Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and many more well-known names, as well as some lesser-known poets. Each poem opens with an annotation, which includes biographical info.

As the Kirkus review notes, one interesting thing about this collection is that “[a]typically, the editors steer largely clear of explicit racial or religious themes in their selections,” with but a couple of exceptions.

See? I really was brief. For once. ‘Cause I really do have my work cut out for me this week. Here’s another piece of Karen’s artwork from the book. (Note: The final illustration as it appears in the book is slightly different from the one below.)

Until later … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, December 7th, 2012

Today at the Kirkus Book Blog Network, I offer up two holiday gift ideas for Children’s Literature Lovers and the Children to Whom They Read. Or two Neat Gift Ideas for People You Actually Like.

To be even more specific, these are gift ideas for the fairy tale lovers in your life.

I write about Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version, released by Viking in November.

I also take a quick look at a new version of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, illustrated by Fulvio Testa, one of Italy’s most renowned artists and illustrators, with an introduction by Italian novelist, philosopher, and essayist Umberto Eco (released by the New York Review Children’s Collection in October).

The link is here.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today, Plus What I Did Last Week: Featuring Kickin’ National Geographic Photos

h1 Friday, August 24th, 2012

“The white egret / marks time / on / one / leg / then / the / other.”
(Click to enlarge spread; photograph of egret is by Cheryl Molennor)

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with author, professor, and blogger Philip Nel, and I ask him about his latest book, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature. That link is here, and next week I’ll follow that up here at 7-Imp with some images from the book (as well as Philip’s interview in its entirety).

* * *

Last week, I wrote about the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, to be released in September and edited by Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. That column is here. This is such a beautiful book. You don’t want to miss it. Today I’ve got several spreads from it.


Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring S. D. Nelson

h1 Thursday, June 28th, 2012

S. D. Nelson’s Fire Chant II. Acrylic on Masonite:
“Come, coyote brothers. Together we will sing up the stars.
Yes, we will sing up the moon.”

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q & A with author Mac Barnett, whose early Spring picture book, Extra Yarn (Balzer + Bray), illustrated by Jon Klassen, was just awarded the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in the Picture Book category. That link is here.

Mac says something over there about picture books, about “shaggy stories,” that I like so much that I might just hug his neck if I ever meet him.

And tomorrow, I’ll have a chat with illustrator Yuyi Morales. Amy Novesky’s Georgia in Hawaii (Harcourt), which Yuyi illustrated, was also named a Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book just a few weeks ago. That Q & A will be here Friday morning.

As always, next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with art art and more art.

* * *

Last week I wrote about Walking on Earth & Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School (Abrams, April 2012), edited by Timothy P. McLaughlin. That link is here, if you want to learn more about the book, and today I’ve got some of S. D. Nelson’s beautiful artwork, as well as some poetry and prose from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Claire A. Nivola

h1 Friday, April 6th, 2012

“So much of diving is an all-too-brief glimpse below the surface. Sylvia had always wanted to know what it was like to live in the sea, to be a part of the daily life of the underwater world. … Using a small flashlight at night, she noticed that the day fish ‘tucked in’ to the same nooks and crevices the night fish had just vacated, each fish often returning time and again to its same resting place—just as we do!”
(Click to enlarge spread and see in its entirety)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Mary Ann Hoberman’s Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn By Heart, illustrated by Michael Emberley. The link is here.

* * *

Last week, I took a look at Claire A. Nivola’s newest picture book, Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. That link is here.

I’ve got some more spreads from the biography today, and Claire is also here to say a bit about her research for this beautiful book … Read the rest of this entry �

A 7-Imp Q & A with Deborah Kogan Ray at
Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month

h1 Monday, March 19th, 2012

“They had a kind of shed made to put us in . . . {the} kind of shed you make for your stock in winter time . . . Oh, how we did suffer with cold.
There was no wood, and the snow was waist-deep . . .”
(Click to see entire illustration with the text)

This morning, I’m visiting the wonderful blog, Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, a site commemorating the month designated to paying tribute to the generations of women whose efforts across many fields have benefited our world. Bloggers from what is called the kidlitosphere, or the community of bloggers specializing in children’s and young adult literature, are contributing, as well as authors (or folks who are both authors and bloggers).

Today’s my day to write something, and I’m so happy they asked me to contribute. I’ve got a Q & A over there with author/illustrator Deborah Kogan Ray about her upcoming (May) picture book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Frances Foster Books, Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Vicky White

h1 Friday, January 6th, 2012

“Tigers are big and they’re beautiful and they’re fierce.
And all this makes life difficult for them these days…”

(Click image to see entire spread with text)

This week at Kirkus, I take a look at 2012 picture book titles I’m particularly eager to see. The link is here this morning.

* * * * * * *

If you missed last week’s column, I wrote about Martin Jenkins’ Can We Save the Tiger? — illustrated by Vicky White and published by Candlewick in February of last year. Beautiful book in every way. That link is here, and above is a spread from the book. Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Rosalyn Schanzer

h1 Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This is the spellbinding opening of Chapter 4 in author/illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer’s Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem, published by National Geographic Children’s Books in September of this year. Two terrified men think they see a beast fly up into the air and turn into the spirits of three witches, while the three accused “witches” are in jail at the time.

The Society of Illustrator’s 2011 Original Art Opening Reception and Awards Presentation will be next Thursday, October 27th, in New York City, and you can bet Rosalyn will be there, as she was awarded the Gold Medal for the aforementioned nonfiction title. Though I was a jury member this year, I can’t make it to the reception, but the least I can do is feature Rosalyn here at 7-Imp right before her big night. (To be fair, I should point out that the two Silver Medal winners, Kadir Nelson and Lane Smith, have previously visited 7-Imp — here and here, respectively.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Remembering 9/11 in the Capable Hands
of Author/Illustrator Don Brown

h1 Friday, September 9th, 2011

“Fire Chief Pfiefer and the other firefighters in the North Tower lobby heard a rumble.
‘I thought … something was crashing through the lobby … We … huddled down at the base of the escalator. [The] whole area … became totally black,’ Pfiefer said.
‘We stayed there until the rumbling stopped.
I never even suspected that the second tower collapsed.’”

(Click to enlarge)

Back in 2009, when he visited me for cyber-breakfast, I sung the praises of the work of Don Brown, whom School Library Journal has described as “a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies.” Brown crafts engaging and accessible nonfiction titles, and his quirky, soft-focused pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are often touched with a subtle, wry humor and energy — and an understated eloquence.

And that would be the case with his latest title (though you can factor “humor” out of the equation, given the subject matter here). In mid-August, Roaring Brook released Don’s account of 9/11, America is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell. Ten years away from the horrific events of 9/11, this is an even-handed, honest account of the attacks that day and how New Yorkers responded. This is quite moving as well, as Don weaves into his narrative several personal stories of those affected by the collapse of the Towers. (In fact, if the very last spread in the book doesn’t at least put a lump in your throat, I don’t wanna know you.)

Read the rest of this entry �