Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

Two Things on This Thursday

h1 Thursday, April 14th, 2016



 

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with former Simon & Schuster editor Emma D. Dryden, who now runs her own editorial consulting firm and who talks to me about her new picture book. That chat is here.

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Last week at Chapter 16, I talked to author and illustrator William Joyce about his new children’s novel. That conversation is here, or you can click the image above.

Until tomorrow!

My Q&A with Mildred D. Taylor

h1 Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

I always wrote, even in high school, but my work had been rejected many times. I was living in Los Angeles, working as a proofreader, when a friend told me about the contest, sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books. I heard about the contest on a Thursday, and the deadline for submissions was the following Monday. I spent the weekend rewriting a story I’d been working on, typed it at work on Monday (my co-workers covered for me!), and got to the post office just in time to mail the manuscript.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Mildred D. Taylor, the winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The novel’s birthday is being celebrated in more ways than one—a writing contest and an exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library—and all of that, plus my chat with Taylor, is at Kirkus today at this link.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Mildred D. Taylor used by permission of Dial Books for Young Readers.

A First Second Graphic Novel Preview,
Featuring Art from Mike Cavallaro, Joe Flood,
Faith Erin Hicks, Bryan Konietzko, George O’Connor,
Alex Puvilland, and Maris Wicks

h1 Thursday, February 25th, 2016


From Bryan Konietzko’s Threadworlds,
coming in 2017


 
Last week I spoke here at Kirkus with First Second’s Editorial Director, Mark Siegel, about graphic novels and ten years of First Second Books.

Today, I’m following up with art — a sneak peek at some upcoming graphic novels from First Second.

Enjoy!

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A Visit with Dasha Tolstikova

h1 Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016


“My name is Dasha. I am twelve years old.”
(Click to enlarge)


 
Last year, I read Dasha Tolstikova’s A Year Without Mom, released by Groundwood Books in October. Dasha and I started a conversation about this book at year’s end, and life (as it is wont to do) got in the way quite a bit, interrupting our chat, but we finally wrapped it up and I’m posting it today. Better late than never.

I featured Dasha’s artwork here back in 2013, and it’s wonderful to be talking about this book today. A Year Without Mom is what Maria Russo in the New York Times Book Review called a “perceptive story about change, aloneness, ambition and, ultimately, resilience” and Kirkus Reviews called “fascinating and heartfelt.” This 176-page illustrated book follows Dasha herself through a year in Moscow with her grandparents after her mother goes to America to study advertising. Politics are touched upon—essentially, Gorbachev’s leave with Yeltsin taking up the reins—but the book also tells the universal story of a middle-schooler. Crushes, the dynamics between friends, school — all of this without her mother near.

Dasha visits today to talk about this book and what’s next on her plate. I thank her for sharing.

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A Moment with Gene Luen Yang,
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

h1 Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

I’m not normally in the habit of posting other people’s interviews in full at my site, but what the hell, I’m doing so today.

And that’s because I was very excited to hear on Monday of this week that graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (pictured left in his self-portrait) was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Below is a five-question chat he had with Gina Gagliano at First Second Books. I’m merely hosting them here today.

I can’t wait to hear more from Gene in his two-year term as Ambassador.

As the new Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, what changes would you like to see in America’s reading culture?

Gene: I want us to diversify our reading in every sense of the word “diverse.” I want us to read stories from different cultures about different topics in different formats. I want every person to read at least one book that others don’t expect them to like, at least once a year.

What draws you to YA books and literature?

Gene: I started in the comic book industry, which isn’t as tightly categorized into age demographics as the traditional book market. I didn’t really think of myself as a YA author until I began publishing with First Second Books. They looked at my stuff and decided it fit best in Young Adult.

I think they’re right. My friend and fellow author Marsha Qualey says there’s an equation at the heart of all YA:

Power + Belonging = Identity

Most of my stories are about that equation.

What do you like better — hardcovers or paperbacks?

Gene: You know, I’ve never really thought about it. Each format has its advantages. Hardcovers feel solid and substantial in your hand. Paperbacks are more portable.

I do a lot of my reading on the go these days, so I guess right now I prefer paperbacks.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Thursday, December 24th, 2015



 

I write about picture books for Kirkus, but sometimes … well, you read a children’s novel so great that you ditch your plans and write about that novel instead. That’s what I’m doing today over at Kirkus, writing about Katherine Rundell’s The Wolf Wilder. That is here.

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And, because freelance writing deadlines don’t stop for the holidays, I’ll have a column up over there tomorrow about my favorite Christmas picture books — one is a long-time favorite (Burningham!), and the other is an older one I just discovered this year. That will be here on Friday.

See you Sunday!

A Conversation with Özge Samanci

h1 Thursday, December 10th, 2015

I was afraid of making this book. It was perfect in my mind. I did not want to try and ruin it. But the idea was burning in me. … Living with a book in my mind that long was painful. It was like dragging a heavy suitcase wherever you go.”

 

Today over at Kirkus, I talk to Özge Samanci, pictured here, about her debut book, the graphic memoir Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey.

That Q&A is here today, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some art from Özge’s book.

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Photo of Özge Samanci taken by Shirley Adams and used by permission.

Of Moons and Magic with Melanie Crowder

h1 Thursday, October 29th, 2015

I was … rolling around the idea of negative emotions—grief, regret, shame—and how we allow them to form the walls that imprison us.

I wondered what that prison might look like if it were a tangible thing — and how a person would ever find their way free.”

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I chat with author Melanie Crowder today over at Kirkus about her new middle-grade novel, A Nearer Moon (Atheneum, September 2015).

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo taken by Tiffany Crowder and used by permission of Melanie.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sir John Tenniel

h1 Friday, October 9th, 2015


” … but, when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.”


 
Today over at Kirkus, I write about Michael Rosen’s A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Candlewick, September 2015). That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote (here) about Macmillan’s The Complete Alice, celebrating 150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Today I’ve got a small handful of illustrations from the book — the ones colored by Diz Wallis in 1995.

Enjoy.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Don Brown,
Emily Carroll, Zack Giallongo, and Ben Hatke

h1 Friday, August 21st, 2015


— From Ben Hatke’s Little Robot


 

— From Ian Lendler’s The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Zack Giallongo


 

— From Marika McCoola’s Baba Yaga’s Assistant, illustrated by Emily Carroll


 

— From Don Brown’s Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got three new picture books from debut author-illustrators. Good stuff, these books. That link is here.

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Last week, I had a graphic novel round-up, so I’m following up today here at 7-Imp with a bit of art from each book — Don Brown’s Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 2015); Marika McCoola’s Baba Yaga’s Assistance, illustrated by Emily Carroll (Candlewick, August 2015); Ben Hatke’s Little Robot (First Second, September 2015); and Ian Lendler’s The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Romeo and Juliet (First Second, September 2015), illustrated by Zack Giallongo. To boot, I’ve got a bit of art from last year’s The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.

Enjoy!

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