Archive for the 'Young Adult' Category

A Conversation with James McMullan

h1 Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Remember this award-winning picture book?

Its illustrator, James McMullan (pictured here), who has led a long and distinguished career in graphic design and illustration, has written a new memoir. It’s a fascinating read, and today over at Kirkus I chat with him about this book.

It’s called Leaving China: An Artist Paints His World War II Childhood and was released this month from Algonquin. McMullan was born in North China, the grandson of UK missionaries who had settled there, and in this book he recounts his childhood in brief, impressionistic vignettes accompanied by paintings — first, his privileged life and then his father’s departure for the war, followed by his and his mother’s attempts to escape Japanese occupation.

It’s a book aimed at teens (given that it was published by Algonquin’s young-readers imprint), but as many reviewers have noted, adults would enjoy it as well.

Our chat is here today.

And next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have a couple of paintings from the book.

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Photo of Mr. McMullan taken by Phillip Lehans and used by permission.

What I’m Up To at Kirkus Today,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Daniel Nevins and Marije Tolman

h1 Friday, October 11th, 2013

“And Jacob said to Rebekah, his mother, ‘But Esau is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. If my father touches me, he will think me a thief and I will bring upon myself his curse and not his blessing.’ His mother said, ‘Your curse, my son, will be upon me. Now, listen and go; bring them to me.'”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)

“Flamingoes obtain their color from the shrimp and algae they eat.”
(Click to enlarge)

Today at Kirkus, I write about Amy Schwartz’s newest picture book, Dee Dee and Me. Regular 7-Imp-goers will know I really like Amy’s picture books, and with this new one she, once again, doesn’t disappoint. That link is here.

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Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with Asheville artist Daniel Nevins about creating the artwork for Amy Ehrlich’s With a Mighty Hand (Candlewick, August 2013). Today, I’ve got a little bit of art from the book, including the image at the very top of this post.

And I also wrote here about Jumping Penguins, an international import written by Jesse Goossens and illustrated by Marije Tolman. Featured here today is some art from that book, too. (Please note that some of the spreads featured here from this book are different from the English-language version — both art, in some instances, and text. The cover is also slightly different.)

Read the rest of this entry �

With a Mighty Hand

h1 Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with Asheville artist Daniel Nevins about creating the artwork for Amy Ehrlich’s With a Mighty Hand (Candlewick, August 2013), which consists of Ehrlich’s adaptation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, told as a single narrative. Sub-titled The Story in the Torah, it’s one of the most beautifully designed books I’ve seen this year.

That link is here, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll have a bit of art from it.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Daniel Nevins used with his permission.

“To Face the Lions”

h1 Thursday, September 26th, 2013

From “Sleep Charm”: “This bed is the perfect bed. / Sink into its healing /
cloud-softness, / cheek against cool pillow-white. /
Forget anything you ever wanted, / hoped, or feared. …”

Last week, I chatted here at Kirkus with author and poet Joyce Sidman about her newest poetry collection, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings (Houghton Mifflin), to be released in early October. The book is illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Pamela Zagarenski.

Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve got two spreads from the book (including the poems), as well as some details from some of Pamela’s paintings. I thank Pamela for sharing them.

Also below is one question for Joyce I didn’t have room for in last week’s column, as well as a trailer for the book, which features even more of Pamela’s artwork.

*[This post’s title comes from “Song of Bravery,” one of my favorite poems in the collection: “…But here I go— / bones clicking quietly together, / blood flowing dutifully / from heart to hands and back again— / here I go, stepping out / through the door / of my own shadow: / into the glare of the arena / to face the lions.”]

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Art Break!

h1 Thursday, August 29th, 2013

“My Name Is Santiago … I am Dominican. I live in Detroit. I am Latino.”

Well, there’s always art here at 7-Imp, but it’s I who am taking a break in my work today to post some art from David Díaz.

Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted (here) with Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, both pictured below in this post, about Yes! We Are Latinos (Charlesbridge, August 2013), illustrated by Díaz, a series of narrative poems about the various ways Latinos and Latinas in this country celebrate their heritage. So, today I’ve got some art from the book.

I also didn’t have room in last week’s column for one final question I had for Ms. Ada and Ms. Campoy, so that question is also included below.

Enjoy the art. Read the rest of this entry �

“Poetry is the chisel of language” …

h1 Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Over at Kirkus today, I chat with Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy about Yes! We Are Latinos (Charlesbridge, August 2013), illustrated by David Diaz, a series of narrative poems about the various ways Latinos and Latinas in this country celebrate their heritage.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some illustrations from the book.

The Q&A is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #293: Featuring Andrea Dezsö

h1 Sunday, August 19th, 2012

“…My troll fiancée explodes in frustration. MOTL / and I take the treasure and get out of there. / I’m a king now with three kids and a spaniel. I rule / in the daytime,
but at night I’m just a dad who puts / the kids to bed. …”
— From “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

(Click to enlarge)

Remember how we got a bit dark and grim/Grimm a couple weeks ago? I’m gonna do that again today, because I just can’t pass up the opportunity to post some of the illustrations of Andrea Dezsö.

And, to be clear right off the bat, this is an illustrated book, but it’s not a picture book for young children. This is very much a YA/adult title.

Many of you may have already seen this collection of free verse poems, Ron Koertge’s Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses, released in July by Candlewick. U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis has said it’s “the best antidote I know to the sanctimonious sanitizing of fairy tales.” (Once I read that, I knew I had to read this book myself.)

Here, Koertge isn’t afraid to get gruesome, subversive, and downright nightmarish in his re-telling of 23 classic fairy tales. The blood-red endpapers give you a taste of this, followed by an invitation right off the bat from our author: “Do you want to sleep? Find another storyteller. Do you want to think about the world in a new way? Come closer. Closer, please. I want to whisper in your ear.”

This is the world of Ever After, and this ain’t no Disney.

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Rosalyn Schanzer

h1 Friday, September 16th, 2011

(Click to enlarge)

This week at Kirkus, I’m discussing one of the funniest picture books I’ve seen all year, a German import from Gecko Press, titled Anton Can Do Magic. That link is here this morning.

If you missed last week’s column, I conducted a short Q & A with illustrator Amy June Bates, the Chair of the jury for the Society of Illustrator’s 2011 Original Art award. That link is here. In October, closer to the opening of the Original Art exhibit, I’ll have an interview here at 7-Imp with Rosalyn Schanzer, who won the Gold this year for her book Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem (National Geographic, September 2011). But for now, I open this post with one of the many illustrations she sent me for the interview, one moment from the book. (It’s imp-tastic, isn’t it?)

Here is a group shot of us jury members after a long (but wonderful) day of looking at over 500 picture books.

Front row, from left to right: Hyewon Yum, me, Sophie Blackall, Cecilia Yung, Erin Stead; Back row: Scott Gustafson, Amy June Bates, Sean Qualls, John Bemelmans Marciano.

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Illustration copyright © 2011 by Rosalyn Schanzer and used with permission.

Photo of 2011 Original Art jury by Laurent Linn and used with permission.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week (Plus What
I Did Last Week, Featuring… Well, Amelia Earhart)

h1 Friday, May 6th, 2011

Amelia Earhart’s license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ll have some thoughts on Slog’s Dad from David Almond and Dave McKean, published in February by Candlewick. And that would be because I am such a fan of Almond’s writing and McKean’s artwork, that I always sit up and take notice when they release anything. (Well, as I understand it, this is only their second collaboration, but still… Bliss.)

In fact, Almond stopped by here in 2008 for an interview, and here is the 2009 McKean interview, quite possibly my favorite 7-Imp interview ever.

The Kirkus link is here this morning.

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Last week’s column was a Q & A with author Candace Fleming. If you missed it, it’s here. She discusses the research and writing of her superb biography, Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, published by Schwartz & Wade in February. Below are a couple more images from the book. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Barbara Bottner Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

2010 is grinding to a halt, but before it does, I wanted to invite over to the 7-Imp breakfast nook Barbara Bottner, the author of one of my favorite picture books from this year, Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t). Those of you who saw this post from May of this year know why I (and many others) cheer the book so enthusiastically. (And if you haven’t seen the book yet, by all means, go take a look at the post, though I am re-posting the spreads from it below in this interview.)

Barbara has had a long, rewarding career in children’s literature, writing more than thirty-six books, including picture books, beginning readers, middle grade novels, and YA novels. As discussed below, she’s also dabbled in other fields, including theatre and animation (Sesame Street, The Electric Company). In addition to her writing, she gets a great deal of joy from teaching. Barbara teaches both privately and at Parson’s School of Design in New York City, something she also touches upon in the chat below. “She leads a really tough but also a wise and supportive critique,” author Denise Doyen told me. “I’ve learned a lot from Barbara Bottner (and the seven other writers in her master class who regularly gather ’round her dining room table.) Mainly: to work from passion; to find one’s inner child and then write to, for and with that child in your head and heart; and not to stop at ‘a nice little story’ but to push onward until you find something fresh and uniquely yours.” Read the rest of this entry �