Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

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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Katherine Applegate: My Kirkus Q&A

h1 Thursday, August 20th, 2015

I don’t think there are many middle-grade children’s books that talk about the ‘working poor’ — about the stresses that come when parents juggle multiple low-paying jobs and there still isn’t enough food on the table or maybe even a place to call home. Children may not know what being ‘food insecure’ means, but they understand much more than we give them credit for, especially when it comes to money.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Katherine Applegate about her new middle-grade novel, Crenshaw (Feiwel and Friends), coming to shelves next month.

That conversation is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Katherine used by her permission.

Catching Up with Liz Garton Scanlon

h1 Thursday, August 6th, 2015

It became clear to me that [my character’s] family had religious traditions and that she was going to be reckoning with the comfort and the challenges of those traditions as part of her coming-of-age. Then, as Paul fleshed out as a science kid, I realized that faith and science were going to get to play off of each other, which I thought was awesome (and daunting). I worried that readers on ‘either side’ would be offended, but I really believe that discussions around religion and science are way too polarized, so it felt both true and worth it to look at them in a true and blurrier way.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Liz Garton Scanlon about her first middle-grade novel, The Great Good Summer (Beach Lane Books), released this May.

We also talk about her forthcoming picture book, In the Canyon (also Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Ashley Wolff and coming to shelves this month.

That conversation is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art and early sketches from In the Canyon, thanks to Ashley.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Liz used by her permission.

The Return of Dory

h1 Thursday, July 30th, 2015


Final art:
“That night my brain keeps waking me up with so many questions.”


 

Above: Early sketch


 
Today, author-illustrator Abby Hanlon shares some final art and early sketches from Dory and the Real True Friend (Dial, July 2015), which she and I talked about last week here at Kirkus.

Enjoy the art. …

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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.