Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

Sea Sirens

h1 Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Over at Chapter 16, I’ve got a review of Amy Chu’s graphic novel, Sea Sirens (Viking, June 2019), illustrated by Nashville art Janet K. Lee.

That is here, and here today at 7-Imp are some spreads from the book.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Lorena Alvarez, Ivan Brunetti, and Mordicai Gerstein (and Others!)

h1 Friday, April 12th, 2019

— From Lorena Alvarez’s Hicotea


— From Mordicai Gerstein’s I Am Hermes!


— From Ivan Brunetti’s Comics: Easy as ABC!

At Kirkus today, I’ve got a visually rich new picture book about celebrating family.

That is here.

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Over at Kirkus last week, I wrote here about Lorena Alvarez’s Hicotea: A Nightlights Story (Nobrow, March 2019); Mordicai Gerstein’s I Am Hermes!: Mischief-Making Messenger of the Gods (Holiday House, April 2019), and Comics: Easy as ABC!: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids (April 2019) from TOON Books and Ivan Brunetti (and other comics artists). Today, I’ve got some art from each book.


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2019 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Blog Tour:
Vesper Stamper and What the Night Sings

h1 Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

(Click to enlarge)

I’m happy to be a part this week of the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award blog tour. You can read more about the award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), at the official Sydney Taylor site. The full blog tour schedule is posted here at the on the AJL blog, and I also list the schedule below at the bottom of this post.

It’s a pleasure to welcome artist and author Vesper Stamper here today to talk about What the Night Sings (Knopf, 2018), her debut illustrated novel and winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers Category. It tells the moving story of 16-year-old Gerta, liberated from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 and attempting to create a new life for herself. Gerta recalls her past, including her love of music (she is a singer and violist); memories of life before imprisonment when she was unaware she was Jewish until the Nazis take her and her father by force; her father’s death at Auschwitz; the suffering she endured in the camps; and more. Post-liberation, she struggles to understand her newfound Jewish identity, to revisit music in her life, to form relationships with others, and to journey to Palestine. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Pénélope Bagieu

h1 Friday, January 4th, 2019

Today over at Kirkus, I write about Shaun Tan’s newest picture book, Cicada.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World (First Second, March 2018). Today, I’ve got a bit of art from the book.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #614: Featuring Jonathan Auxier

h1 Sunday, November 25th, 2018

(Click to enlarge)

Over at Kirkus about two weeks ago, I chatted here with author Jonathan Auxier about his novel Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster (Amulet, September 2018). When I write about picture books over at Kirkus, I always do follow-up posts here at 7-Imp with lots of art, so you’d think there’d be no Sweep follow-up post, seeing as how it’s a novel without any illustrations. But I do have art! Jonathan is sharing his journal sketches, ones he made during the course of writing this book, which you know (if you’ve read it) is a novel that has been many years in the making. You also know, if you’ve read it, that Jonathan has been fascinated with and drawing golems since the age of 19, when he lived for some time in the Czech Republic. (Those older drawings are quite possibly lost to time, he says.) Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Emily Tetri

h1 Friday, November 16th, 2018


Top: Early sketch of Tiger; bottom: final art from the book

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve an interview with author Jonathan Auxier about his newest novel, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Emily Tetri’s Tiger vs. Nightmare (First Second, November 2018). Today, I’ve some art from the book, and Emily also shares some preliminary images — some art from the book pitch and a couple images showing early Tiger and Monster art.


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Meet Yasmin Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

If you haven’t met Yasmin yet, by chance, I’m pleased to introduce her to you today. She is the star of Saadia Faruqi’s debut chapter book for beginning readers, illustrated by Hatem Aly (who visited 7-Imp back here in 2016). Meet Yasmin! (Picture Window Books, August 2018) includes four stories in which this curious, problem-solving second-grader puts her imagination to work — Yasmin the Explorer; Yasmin the Painter; Yasmin the Builder; and Yasmin the Fashionista. As you can tell from the cover sketch above, Yasmin has personality to spare.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #608,
the 2018 Southern Festivals of Books Edition

h1 Sunday, October 14th, 2018

That’s a post title with a handful of numbers, now isn’t it.

Here’s what I’m doing this weekend, and it’s a little bit different. I’m typing this on Friday, because tomorrow (Saturday, which will be yesterday when you read this) I will be at the wonderful Southern Festival of Books alllll day. I will not only be able to kick back and hear a lot of talented authors and illustrators speak (here’s the line-up), but I will also interview Justice Sonia Sotomayor about her two new children’s books. I’m excited to meet her, to say the least.

For Tennessee’s own fabulous and informative Chapter 16, I did an online Q&A with Madame Justice, which you can read here. I also interviewed British author and illustrator Cressida Cowell (whom I hope to hear speak on Saturday) about her newest fantasy novel for children. That is here. (Pictured here is Justice Sotomayor’s adaptation for middle-grade readers of her bestselling memoir.)

I will share seven separate kicks next week. Today (Sunday, the day you’re reading this — confused yet?), all seven kicks (plus some) are that it’s my youngest daughter’s birthday! She is officially a teenager today. We shall party down all day.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

My Kirkus Q&A with Jarrett J. Krosoczka

h1 Friday, August 31st, 2018

The best I can describe it would be to tell you it was like the scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Professor Umbridge punishes Harry by making him write lines over and over with a Blood Quill. Every time Harry writes something on paper, the words get seared into the back of his hand. So there were moments when it was painful and difficult to make this book. My beautiful studio space would get transformed into that small kitchen in Worcester where difficult moments played out. That being said, there were also many wonderful moments to relive. Those scenes brought me great joy, and when the book was finished, I sort of had to mourn the loss of my grandparents all over again. It was truly a gift to spend that time with them again.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka about his graphic novel memoir, Hey, Kiddo, coming to shelves in October.

That is here, and next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some more images from the book.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #600: Featuring Ian Schoenherr

h1 Sunday, August 19th, 2018

— From Chapter 16, “Angelus”: “I pressed into a corner as the hounds, desperate to attack, bayed round me. ‘Back,’ cried a huntsman striding in, whip in hand.”

I’m doing something a little bit different today. I’ve not got a picture book for you this morning, dear Imps. I have a novel.

This is one of my favorite books this year, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s The Book of Boy (Greenwillow, February 2018). I like it so much that I’m reading it a second time — this time, I’m reading it out loud to my daughters.

“This story, like another, begins with an apple,” the book begins. This is the tale, set in Europe in 1350, of a boy who can talk to animals. His name is merely Boy. He is physically disfigured and mercilessly mocked for it. He is called a hunchback, and when he meets a mysterious pilgrim, named Secundus, in the medieval town of France where he lives, his life changes forever. In fact, when Boy leaves with Secundus (Secundus is impressed with his ability to jump and climb) to help the pilgrim find the seven relics of Saint Peter — rib, tooth, thumb, toe, dust, skull, tomb — it’s the first time Boy ever leaves the only home he’s ever known. He pilgrims to the city of Rome with Secundus in the hopes that Saint Peter can remove his hump and make him a real boy.

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