Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #761: Featuring
My Chapter 16 Q&A with Kathi Appelt

h1 Sunday, September 19th, 2021



 
Kathi Appelt’s newest middle-grade novel, Once Upon a Camel, is the epic story of a camel, some baby kestrels, and the immense power of stories. I had the opportunity to chat with Kathi about this book over at Chapter 16. Our chat is here.

The novel is illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Check out that striking cover above.

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Teaching the Truth

h1 Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021



 

I’m taking a small break from sharing picture book art to signal-book this excellent opinion piece (from just yesterday) at the New York Times from Nashvillian Margaret Renkl, an essay that touches on children’s books too. Click on the image above to be taken to the piece, and if you can’t access it but you contact me, I’ll glady summarize it for you.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #754: Featuring Kazue Takahashi

h1 Sunday, August 1st, 2021


“That evening Mayu went to the forest mailbox with her letter.
Her heart beat faster as she put her letter into the box. Then she ran home.”


 
Those of you who still correspond with friends and family via letter-writing know that to receive a letter from a friend, sitting there in your mailbox amongst all the credit card applications, is to receive a gift. In fact, I received one such gift this week, which brightened my day. Kyoko Hara’s newest illustrated chapter book for children, The Mailbox in the Forest, is a tribute to letter-writing. Originally published in Japan in 2007, it will be on U.S. shelves in September and was illustrated by Kazue Takahashi. (Fans of the fabulous Kuma-Kuma Chan books will recognize that name.)

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My Chapter 16 Q&A with Meg Medina

h1 Thursday, April 1st, 2021



 

I may write about picture books and illustration here at 7-Imp, but if I’m asked if I’d like to interview author Meg Medina about her new novel Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, which Tennessee’s Chapter 16 did ask me, I say yes!

That Q&A is here.

Enjoy!

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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