Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

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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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan

h1 Friday, September 23rd, 2016

At Kirkus today, I’ve got picture books and grandparents on the mind. That is here.

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Last week I wrote here about Matt Phelan’s Snow White: A Graphic Novel (Candlewick, September 2016), as well as Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones (Scholastic, October 2016). I’ve got a bit of art here today from Phelan’s book, as well as some preliminary images he sent along, but unfortunately I don’t have any images from Tan’s book. You can, however, see some here at his site.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did
Last Week, Featuring Jeffrey Brown, Ben Hatke,
Eric Orchard, Raina Telgemeier, and Øyvind Torseter

h1 Friday, August 26th, 2016

— From Eric Orchard’s Bera the One-Headed Troll


— From Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy & Andy Neanderthal


— From Raina Telgemeier’s
(Click to enlarge)


— From Ben Hatke’s Mighty Jack
(Click to enlarge)


— From Øyvind Torseter’s The Heartless Troll

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got two very funny picture books. That is here. I’ll have art from each book here at 7-Imp next week.

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Last week, I wrote a graphic-novel round-up here. Today, I’ve got a bit of art from each book — Eric Orchard’s Bera the One-Headed Troll (First Second, August 2016); Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts (Scholastic, September 2016); Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy & Andy Neanderthal (Crown, August 2016); Øyvind Torseter’s The Heartless Troll (Enchanted Lion, September 2016); and Ben Hatke’s Mighty Jack (First Second, September 2016);


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, August 19th, 2016


I’ve got a graphic-novel round-up here at Kirkus today.

Until Sunday …

My Q&A with Jonathan Auxier

h1 Thursday, July 21st, 2016

‘What is the point of a storybook?’ is actually a really difficult question to answer because, at the end of the day, stories are largely frivolous: They don’t fill an empty belly or suture a wound or shelter the lost. And yet every reader knows that something almost mystical transpires when the right reader finds the right story. I was trying to articulate the meaning of that transaction. Ultimately, I found the easiest way to answer the question was to invert it and ask ‘What happens if we lose our storybooks?’ And that question became the foundation of the entire novel.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to novelist Jonathan Auxier, pictured here, about his newest book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Abrams/Amulet, April 2016).

That is here this morning.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jonathan used by his permission.


Some Witches Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, June 16th, 2016

“… They all breathe hard from the run. A little harder than usual, because of what is looming above them: the long staircase that leads to the parlor of Zia Pia,
fortune-teller and healer.”

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with John Bemelmans Marciano about his new series, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, The Witches of Benevento. I follow up today with some of Sophie’s art from the books.


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Mischief with Marciano

h1 Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Over pie and coffee, I pitched Sophie a couple ideas. One was nothing more than a setting—a small city in southern Italy I had visited a dozen years earlier. The thing about Benevento is that it was totally infested with witches of all kinds, and for generations kids had to learn strategies on how to avoid them just to get through their day.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator John Bemelmans Marciano, pictured here, about The Witches of Benevento, his new chapter book series illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

That is here this morning. Next week at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some art from the series.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of John used by his permission.


7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #485: Featuring Alexis Deacon

h1 Sunday, May 29th, 2016

I’ve got some art today from author-illustrator Alexis Deacon’s first graphic novel, Geis: A Matter of Life & Death. (“Geis,” a Gaelic word for a taboo or curse, is pronounced gesh.) It will be on bookshelves in July from Nobrow Press. [Edited to Add, 5/30/16: Alexis has illustrated this graphic novel, though Geis is still the first he’s both written and illustrated.]

Let me back up a bit and say that I love to see Alexis’s work, and I was happy to see he’d done a graphic novel. (I just read this 2014 Guardian piece about him and very much enjoyed it, if anyone wants to learn a bit more about him.) This is what the publisher calls a supernatural historical fantasy and is the first in a trilogy. Readers are promised at the book’s close that “soon” we will be able to read Book Two, A Game Without Rules.

The book opens with the death of the great chief, Matarka. Her will declares that “there would be a contest. Fate would choose the one fit to take her place.” Calling upon the Gods, fifty souls are summoned at night — to the confusion of everyone. Thus begins the contest to see who will become the ruler of the island.

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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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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Peter Brown, Milan Pavlovic, and Jillian Tamaki

h1 Friday, May 13th, 2016

“There was only one place Brightbill could have gone. The robot gravesite.
So Roz galloped northward.”
— From Peter Brown’s
The Wild Robot


“‘He’s here!’ she yelled, and ran outside. The moment her father stepped out,
Gertie threw her arms around him, and he
hugged her back so hard he lifted her off the ground.”
— From Kate Beasley’s
Gertie’s Leap to Greatness,
illustrated by Jillian Tamaki


“While I was spying on them, kind of wondering what Kabungo would say next, Miss VeDore looked up and said in her whispery way, ‘Have a seat, dear. And … some tea?'”
— From Rolli’s
Kabungo, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic

Over at Kirkus today, I write about Sergio Ruzzier’s new picture book, This Is Not a Picture Book! (Chronicle, May 2016). That is here. I’ll follow up next week with some art and preliminary images from the book.

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Last week, I wrote here about four new novels, and since three of them are illustrated (Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot, published by Little, Brown in April; Kate Beasley’s Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and coming by way of Farrar, Straus and Giroux in October; and Rolli’s Kabungo, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic and published by Groundwood Books in April), I’m sharing some art from them today. (Peter Brown threw in some early sketches, too.)


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