Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

Setting Sail Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, December 29th, 2020



 
I’m back! I return from my unintentional break from the online, networked world. A cyber-hello to one and all.

And just in time to tell you about a book published in October. I find myself at this time of year wanting to talk about the books I missed during the year. Better late than never to tell you about 2020 books that I hope you see before 2021.

And that book today is David Goodner’s Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island (Little, Brown), illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi. This is the first title in a new chapter book series. I’m happy it exists and can’t wait to see the second book. It is especially intriguing to see the ways in which Tsurumi extends the text in this book, given passages like: “Kondo was big. Kezumi was little. They lived on an island with fruit trees and berry bushes and flitter-birds and fluffle-bunnies. …” Clearly, Goodner intended to give the illustrator a ton of space to let their imagination run wild, and Tsurumi does so — with entertaining results.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #716: Featuring This Is Your Time

h1 Sunday, November 8th, 2020



 
I don’t have illustrations for you today, dear Imps, as I normally do. But I want to take a moment to highlight a book that will be on shelves next week — This Is Your Time (Random House), written by civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges.

This is a short (64 pages) and small but powerful book. Ruby Bridges, as you know if you know your American history, was the first Black student—at the age of six—to desegregate an all-white elementary school. We’ve all seen the images of Ruby being escorted by four federal marshals on her first day at William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans on November 14, 1960. Ruby was the subject of the Norman Rockwell painting on this book’s cover.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #714: Featuring James Otis Smith

h1 Sunday, October 25th, 2020



 
Black Heroes of the Wild West: Featuring Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons, released by Toon Graphics last month, is the first book that James Otis Smith has both written and illustrated. It’s a book that shines a light on Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons—in three separate sets of comics. But there’s also a good deal of additional information provided, particularly in the book’s detailed backmatter. It all adds up to a book that gives readers a perspective on U.S. history that is not often seen and spotlights Black figures in history that have been routinely overlooked. The caption for the painting A Dash for the Timber (1889), which is included in the book’s introduction, says it all: ” … [R]enowned painter of the West Frederic S. Remington shows cowboys as a group of white men. In fact, a large number were Mexican or Native American, and as many as one-third were African American.”

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Reading Recommendations Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2020



 

I love to be a part every July of the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature’s (CCYAL) “Best of the Best” conference at the University of Tennessee, in which I gather with other librarians and book critics to discuss the most outstanding books we’ve seen in that year. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t gather this year. But after asking each of us presenters to name a few favorite books of the year, the CCYAL still created a list. If you’d like to see everyone’s recommendations (books published, generally speaking, in the latter part of 2019 and first half of 2020), the list is here. You can also click on the image above to be taken to the list.

Happy reading!

My Chapter 16 Q&A with Renée Watson

h1 Thursday, September 3rd, 2020



 

I had the pleasure once again of interviewing author Renée Watson. We chat over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16. Renée will speak at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books (a Nashville event that will be virtual this year). She will be in conversation with Meg Medina on October 8; see the full festival schedule here.

She and I discuss Ways to Make Sunshine, illustrated by artist Nina Mata; the future of the I, Too Arts Collective; Portland; her hopes for children’s book publishing today; and more.

That interview is here.

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer

h1 Tuesday, June 30th, 2020



 
Today, I’ve got some spreads from one of my favorite summer reads, Gillian Goerz’s Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer (Dial, July 2020). Gillian also shares some early sketches and such from this, her first graphic novel. (Pictured above are drawings of the two main characters.)

This is the story, set in Canada, of two girls who strike up a friendship and — bonus! — solve a mystery together. But that basic summary doesn’t quite capture the many delights of this book. It’s a story whose biggest strength lies in its detailed, whip-smart characterizations.

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Some History-Smashing Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, June 9th, 2020


“[I]t’s more likely that the Pilgrims’ meal included fish, shellfish, and eels.
(Try telling your family you’d like to have eels for Thanksgiving dinner this year,
in honor of the Pilgrims, and let me know how that goes!)”


 
“It totally didn’t happen this way!” says a Mayflower Pilgrim on the cover of Kate Messner’s The Mayflower (Random House, July 2020), illustrated by Dylan Meconis.

If you had to summarize this book in one sentence, that would about cover it. This is the first in Messner’s new series, called History Smashers, though as I understand it, this book is publishing simultaneously with Women’s Right to Vote, another book in the same series. (I haven’t seen that one yet.) The Mayflower will be on shelves early next month, and I’ve got a galley of this refreshing book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #694: Featuring the 2020 BGHB Winners

h1 Sunday, June 7th, 2020



 
If you are familiar with the book Saturday, written and illustrated by Oge Mora, you’ll recognize the characters in this image above. It’s Ava and her mother, the unforgettable duo of the story. Oge posted this image on Instagram recently, and she wrote: “Um…look what rockstar librarian @lizzeppelinii made!! Bout passed out when I saw it. SO COOL.” The librarian’s name is Liz Braithwaite, and she’s a children’s librarian in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also sewed Pokko! I’m in love.

I’m sharing this, because on May 27 the winners of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced, and Saturday won in the Picture Book category. I always look forward every summer to the announcement of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners, but I’m feeling especially celebratory this year, because I had the pleasure of chairing this year’s awards with fellow judges Sujei Lugo and Leo Landry. Last Sunday, I had wanted to do a bit of celebrating of the winners, but I posted something else instead. But here’s some celebrating at 7-Imp today — a short something about each book. Come October, they will all be celebrated at the Horn Book’s (online) awards ceremony. Details on that later. Read the rest of this entry �

The 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

h1 Thursday, May 28th, 2020



 

I had the pleasure of chairing the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards with fellow judges Sujei Lugo and Leo Landry. The awards were announced yesterday. The books we fell in love with are pictured here, but you can head here to the Horn Book for more details.

The Phantom Twin

h1 Tuesday, April 28th, 2020



 
Today, author-illustrator Lisa Brown visits to share some process images from the creation of her newest book, a graphic novel called The Phanton Twin (First Second, March 2020). It’s the story of conjoined twins — the Peabody Sisters, Isabel and Jane — raised, since the age of three, in a carnival sideshow.

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