Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

Abby and the Really Truly Good Book

h1 Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

I pick up my kids every day from the school bus at 2:45, so within an already tight production schedule, I have a limited time each day to work. But that also means I have limited time to worry. When I’m working, I focus on making the best book possible for myself, my kids, and my editor. Beyond that, I don’t allow myself to think too much about how the book is going to be received, because those thoughts are so counter-productive to creative work.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Abby Hanlon, pictured here, about her newest book, Dory and the Real True Friend (Dial, July 2015), which sees the return of one of my favorite characters. (Dory, of course.) That link is here.

Last October (here), Abby and I talked about the first book, Dory Fantasmagory. It’s an art-filled post, my favorite kind of post.

Both of these books are the kind of funny that makes your sides hurt from all the laughing.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the new book, as well as some early sketches.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Abby taken by Sophie Elbrick and used by her permission.

A Moment with the Art of Ted & Betsy Lewin

h1 Thursday, July 16th, 2015


“We saw magnificent Masai warriors, called Marons,
and women mantled in beautiful beadwork.”

(Click to enlarge)


 
Last week at Kirkus, I chatted with Betsy and Ted Lewin about their new book, How to Babysit a Leopard: And Other True Stories from Our Travels Across Six Continents (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2015). That Q&A is here.

Today, I follow up with a bit of artwork from the book.

Enjoy.

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Globe-Hopping with the Lewins

h1 Thursday, July 9th, 2015

As children we were both fascinated by a book called I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson. It’s about her and her husband Martin’s travels to wild places around the world. We both aspired to their kind of life, and our childhood dreams came true. Our book is the culmination of all our travels. … We wanted to make this a true representation of what it felt like to be in these places. It would be less than honest if we made all our adventures look like a piece of cake.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Betsy and Ted Lewin, pictured here, about their new book, How to Babysit a Leopard: And Other True Stories from Our Travels Across Six Continents (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, June 2015).

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have a few of the watercolors from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of the Lewins used by their permission.

A Chat with Jeanne Birdsall

h1 Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Because both Skye and Batty grew out of parts of my personality (as did Jane and Rosalind, though not so much), some of the tensions between the two sisters came from internal struggles of my own. … [W]riting about Batty’s struggles was hard. I had to spend a lot of time re-living scared and lonely parts of my childhood.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Jeanne Birdsall, pictured here, about the latest novel in the Penderwick series, The Penderwicks in Spring (Knopf, March 2014).

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jeanne taken by William Diehl and used by her permission.

Author Tracey Baptiste on The Jumbies

h1 Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The stories about jumbies were part of regular conversations when I was growing up. People talked about La Diablesse and douen and all the other, as if they’re walking down the road or lived at your neighbor’s house. They were very much alive to me, even though I knew they were probably just stories. And I also read and listened to fairy tales, which were just as scary, but they were also in books that were so beautifully illustrated, and I felt like all the kids who grew up hearing jumbie stories got cheated. Where were our fairy tale books? Where were our beautiful illustrations? I figured I’d have to make those books myself.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got a middle-grade novel on the mind. I talk to author Tracey Baptiste, pictured here, about her newest novel, The Jumbies (Algonquin, April 2014), a book unlike any other you’ll read this year.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Tracey taken by Latifah Abdur Photography and used by her permission.

Jay Hosler and Sentient Beetles Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Here’s a book I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while, Jay Hosler’s Last of the Sandwalkers (First Second, April 2015). If you haven’t seen an early copy of this book, you’re in for a treat, especially if you love science and/or graphic novels. That’s because it’s a graphic novel created by a biology professor/entomologist and cartoonist, and it tells the story of Lucy, a beetle (a “sandwalker”), who loves to explore and investigate. She lives in a community of beetles, which includes a group of elders who harbor a secret about the world beyond the palm tree in the desert where they live. Lucy, who puts the spunk in spunky, heads out into the wild world to discover its secrets, even breaking the rules to do so — and learns that beetles aren’t the only creatures in the world.

This is an entertaining story that packs in a lot of science — but also much more. As the Publishers Weekly review notes, Hosler “mingles themes of family, forgiveness, and freedom of ideas, and even manages to make big-eyed, mandibled crawlers emotive without getting too cartoony.” There’s a lot of adventure packed into this graphic novel.

First Second invited Jay, pictured above, to visit a small handful of blogs and share, at each one, an original drawing, as well as beetle facts. An original drawing. I just couldn’t say no, given that 7-Imp is, for all intents and purposes, an art blog. And I’m happy to post about the book, given it’ll be a big hit, in particular, with children who love to read about science (but not limited to just them, by any means). Pictured above is the Bark Beetle. They’re characters in the book, but below are all kinds of fun facts about them, straight from Jay:

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A Conversation with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

h1 Thursday, March 19th, 2015

It’s really hard for me to say where this story came from. It’s not like any of my other novels. I was researching first-person accounts of World War II and the homefront in England, and the child evacuations always interested me, but Ada herself seemed to spring out of nowhere — and then Susan, and then Jamie. I had arguments with Jamie in my dreams. This one was somehow buried in my subconscious.”

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I’ll get back to picture books tomorrow, but over at Kirkus today I talk to author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley about her newest children’s novel, The War That Saved My Life.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

 

Photo of Kimberly taken by Katie Bradley and used by permission of the author.

A Moment with Emily Gravett’s Art — and Sketchbook

h1 Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with poet and author A. F. Harrold about his children’s novel, The Imaginary, released overseas last year but coming to American shelves in early March from Bloomsbury. That conversation is here. Today, I’m following up with some of Emily Gravett’s art from the book, as well as some peeks into her sketchbook for this one. (That’s an early sketch pictured above.)

I thank her for sharing. Enjoy the art.

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A Conversation with A. F. Harrold

h1 Thursday, February 19th, 2015

I think poetry and writing for children have something in common, which I think of as ‘get on with it.’

Children’s stories that are full of waffle and verbiage are boring. We want the story to kick off as quickly as we can and to tell us only what we need and to roll downhill like a snowball until the end.

And poetry is similar: It’s all about cutting and cutting until all you have left are the handful of words that do the job.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to British author and poet A. F. Harrold, pictured here, about his children’s novel, The Imaginary, illustrated by Emily Gravett and originally released in the UK last year. It will come to American bookshelves in early March.

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some of Emily’s early sketches.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of A. F. taken by Naomi Woddis and used by his permission.

The Real World at a 45-Degree Angle

h1 Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

See that post title? It’s a phrase that illustrator Nicholas Gannon once used when he visited 7-Imp back in 2011. (I’m fond of the phrase.) Back then, Nicholas was an unpublished author-illustrator, but now he’ll see the publication this year (later in the Fall) of his first illustrated children’s novel, The Doldrums (Greenwillow). I find this exciting.

Today, in honor of this news, I’m sharing a few peeks inside the book. Be sure to visit that 2011 post, if you’re so inclined, to see even more art from Nicholas. In fact, you can read there the genesis of this book; it all started with The Doldrums Press.

Congrats to Nicholas!

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