Archive for the 'Young Adult' Category

To Be Foiled After Breakfast

h1 Monday, November 22nd, 2010

“{R}ocker turned colorist turned animator turned cartoonist” is how one of my guests this afternoon has been described. Illustrator Mike Cavallaro, pictured below, is visiting the 7-Imp cyber-salon, joining me for some impossibly strong coffee way after breakfast (believe me, I’m usually good for an afternoon cup), along with author Jane Yolen (who visited 7-Imp in ’08 for an extensive interview), to discuss Foiled, their YA graphic novel release from this year. (April, to be exact. Sometimes I’m just slow on the uptake. Or, okay, busy. I get busy. Anyway.)

Foiled, released by First Second Books, is an urban fantasy (described by Kirkus as “an absolute must-read” for fantasy lovers), which introduces us to the spunky Aliera, a New York City tenth-grader who is a talented fencer, not to mention color-blind, a bit of an outcast, and very much an introvert. When she’s not fencing, she’s playing role-playing games with her wheelchair-bound cousin. When the Lank-Thompson-esque new boy, Avery Castle, shows up at school—cute, charming, and quite the flirt—Aliera finds herself falling for him, despite her better judgment. Turns out Avery is interested in her, after all — or, really, her new (though used) ruby-handled foil. It’s on a planned date that leads her to Grand Central Station that the high fantasy begins (involving mysterious, unseen dimensions, some faeries, Cavallaro’s switch from two-toned illustrations to vibrant color, and much more), and Aliera learns that her world is more than what it appears to be on the surface — and that she has an important role in it all. As Publishers Weekly wrote, it’s a story of “romance, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and drama, all rolled into a strong narrative.” Read the rest of this entry �

Calling all artists . . .

h1 Monday, January 25th, 2010

Back in 2008, I received an ARC for this book, James Kennedy’s YA fantasy, The Order of Odd-Fish (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, August 2008). It instantly appealed to me, but it lay dormant in my to-be-read pile, an unfortunate occurrence that happens all too much in my life.

Just last week, the author (who, as you may know, upset Neil Gaiman in a series of mentally- and physically-fatiguing contests for the Newbery) contacted me about a super-keen art project of sorts that currently swirls around this book, which you may have already read about over at A Fuse #8 Production. Since I focus so heavily anymore on illustration/art here at this blog, I decided to do a post about his call for submissions.

First, let me say, I finally started the book. I haven’t gotten far, but I can say I never thought I’d see these words together in a sentence: “And Lily Larouche still had on her desk, floating in a jar of formaldehyde, the lonely eyebrows of President Eisenhower.” In fact, it looks as if the paperback version will be out next month:

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One Impossibly Crazy
2009 7-Imp Retrospective Before Breakfast

h1 Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Early this year, I did a 2008 7-Imp retrospective post — merely because, evidently, I’m crazy. (These things take a bit of time to compose.) I decided this week to write what you see here, yet another retrospective post — this one for 2009, of course.

I don’t know why I do this. I find it strangely beguiling is all I can say. Yes, I looked forward to drafting this post. I’m a sucker at the end of every year for those retrospective round-ups and best-of lists of all sorts that one sees everywhere—both online and in print—about entertainment and literature and politics and on and on. (And, now that it’s the end of a decade, my head’s about to explode with all the looking-back-on-the-naughts lists.)

{As but one example: Ooo! Ooo! This at 100 Scope Notes is fun.}

So, what can I say? It’s my warped idea of fun. It’s tidy fun.

This spiffy and sinister gentleman here, introducing this year’s retrospective, which highlights some of the folks who have visited 7-Imp this year, is Alfred. He came to life as a sketch at the hands of author/illustrator Matt Phelan. After I interviewed Matt in September of this year, he gave Alfred permission to pack his bags and take up permanent residence at 7-Imp and introduce the Pivot Questionnaire for each interview. It seemed only fitting that he’d usher us into this post. My, he’s serious about this retrospective, isn’t he?

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast
(the Winter Blog Blast Edition) with Jim Di Bartolo

h1 Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Freelance illustrator Jim Di Bartolo is one happy man. First, if we’re keeping our priorities straight, there’s his brand-new daughter, Clementine Pie, who—as you can see below—is so STINKIN’ adorable that he’s considering having her for breakfast. He’s also getting RIGHT TO his daughter’s introduction to Neil Gaiman’s world, as you can see left. He’s not gonna waste any time, no sirree. Smart.

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Dance Party!

h1 Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Jules: We’re here this morning with guest Adrienne Furness of What Adrienne Thinks About That to welcome authors Sara Lewis Holmes and Tanita S. Davis with some strong cyber-coffee before breakfast and Q&As about their new titles — Sara’s Operation Yes (Arthur A. Levine Books, September 2009) and Tanita’s Mare’s War (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 2009). Sara’s novel is about a group of middle-school students on a North Carolina Air Force base and their inspiring teacher, Mrs. Loupe, who brings them together with improv theatre, only to find that Mrs. Loupe will need their support in turn after her brother is reported missing in Afghanistan. Tanita’s novel, told in alternating chapters, tells the present-day story of two girls on a road trip with their eccentric grandmother and the grandmother’s own tales of having joined the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a novel—that didn’t have illustrations in it—but when two friends write really great books, you find yourself wanting to crow about them. Right, Adrienne?

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David Small’s Stitches

h1 Monday, August 24th, 2009

Last year, Caldecott-Medal winner David Small was here for seven questions over breakfast, and he mentioned Stitches as one of his forthcoming titles, sharing this sketch here at that time (June ’08):

In today’s post are some panels from the completed book, his new graphic novel memoir for adults, to be released in early September from W.W. Norton & Company. The publisher likes to call it a “silent movie masquerading as a book” — and a tale of redemption, which it most certainly is. And one wrapped around my favorite theme, as I’ve said so often at the blog that you’re probably tired of reading it: The power of art to transform and heal.

But there are also some truly terrifying moments in this book of survival, including the ones pictured just below. The young David is six and has gone with his brother and mother to pick up their father at the hospital where he works. David’s wandered to the fourth floor and meets “the little man in the jar,” who later haunts his dreams:

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Teen Book Festival 2009

h1 Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

TBF Live!eisha: Remember last spring when I went to Rochester’s Teen Book Festival with Adrienne of What Adrienne Thinks About That? Well, I had such a blast that when she invited me to this year’s festival, OBVIOUSLY I had to take her up on it. Even though it meant getting up early on a Saturday, and driving through wet gloppy rain and snow, and the wind gusts were strong enough to blow my little car right into the guard rail (and very nearly did MANY TIMES – it was only by white-knuckling the steering wheel like a vice and singing very loudly along with Neko Case that I was able to assert my authority over the wayward wheels).

It was totally worth it – this year was even more fun than last.

After the festival, Adrienne and I got yummy sweet potato fries and fried-eggplant sandwiches, then crashed at her house for movie-watching and co-post-writing. So, if I seem even more nonlinear than usual here, you should know that we decided to watch the original 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain while we were writing. Those telekinetically-motivated dancing marionettes were distracting.

But this is being cross-posted on, so maybe Adrienne will clean up her version for you.

* * * * * * *

eisha: Yo! Adrienne! (I’m sorry, that’s always funny to me.)

WordGirl and Captain Huggy-FaceThanks for inviting me to TBF again this year. I think this year’s assortment of authors was even more impressive than the last one, which is saying something. Was there anyone in particular you wanted to see this time around?

adrienne: Well, ROBIN BRANDE, of course, but I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of the rest of them–Sara Zarr, Jenny Han, Kenneth Oppel. It was hard to decide who to go see at the breakout sessions. Of course, the biggest surprise of the day was meeting the creator of my beloved WordGirl (and voice of The Butcher), Jack Ferraiolo. I mean, I guess Jack has written a teen book and whatever, too. But WORDGIRL!

How about you?

eisha: ROBIN BRANDE, obviously. But yeah, Sara Zarr was a big draw for me – I’ve loved both her books so far [see the co-review/interview for proof]. And Daphne Grab – I liked Alive and Well in Prague, New York quite a bit too [see the brief co-review here]. And Sharon Flake and Matt de la Pena – dude, when I was a children’s/YA librarian in Cambridge, I could not keep their books on the shelves. And Linda Sue Park, and Jenny Han, and Kenneth Oppel, and Michael Buckley, and Catherine Murdock [alas! She couldn’t make it]…
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Random Illustrator Feature: Bill Carman

h1 Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Fine DiningTwo really good things came out of our recent Dave McKean interview: First (the obvious), the fact that WE GOT TO CHAT WITH DAVE MCKEAN, for which we gave seven loud WOOT!s; second, that all kinds of folks came along to respond to his art work and unique artistic vision. My very favorite thing about blogging is the community of readers we have here. You all are my colleagues now, since I’m sitting at home, while temporarily away from librarianship, working in my PJs, chasing a couple kids, and blogging from my kitchen. Your collective wisdom and wit and wicked-funny funny-bones play a large part in Making My Day.

But I digress. But only just slightly, because—speaking of comments—a third good thing happened: An artist and professor of art, heretofore unbeknownst to me (he was featured in Blogging for a Cure 2007 by another blogger, but then so were over 175 other illustrators), left a comment at the McKean interview. And, as is often the case, I went exploring at the link to which he attached his name. And I was instantly drawn in by the works on display there at his blog, his alluring contemporary fantastic art. I asked him if he’d like to stop by for one of my Random Illustrator Features, and lucky for me, he said yes. His name is Bill Carman, he received his MFA from Brigham Young University, and—as you’ll read below—he is a designer, artist (as in fine art), illustrator (as in, well…illustration, of course), and teacher. And, as is also often the case, I asked if he’d like to say anything about his work. So, here is Bill Carman, in his own words, and lots of his art work. (Please see alt tags for image titles.)

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Seven Impossible Interviews
Before Breakfast #81: Dave McKean

h1 Monday, March 9th, 2009

Jules: Artist Dave McKean, whom 7-Imp welcomes this morning with a big, strong cup of coffee and all kinds of adoration and severely geeky fan-dom, is capable of way more than seven impossible things before breakfast, it’s safe to say. He’s an award-winning graphic novelist; author; photographer; designer; illustrator of hundreds of comic-book and book covers, as well as CDs; editorial illustrator; film designer; director; and jazz pianist, even co-founding the record label Feral Records with saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy. I’m probably missing a whole slew of other things. Dave McKean is unceasingly inventive.

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Poetry Friday and Michael J. Rosen:
Haiku is for the Birds

h1 Friday, February 27th, 2009

There’s this book. It’s called The Cuckoo’s Haiku: And Other Birding Poems (Candlewick). It was written by the very prolific Michael J. Rosen and illustrated with remarkable grace by Stan Fellows and will be released very, very soon — in March. This poetry volume is designed to be not unlike a field notebook on birds — twenty-four North American birds from the Eastern Bluebird to the Dark-Eyed Junco — divided by seasons, starting with Spring and ending with Winter. (The Pileated Woodpecker opens this post.) A spare, evocative haiku from the mind and observant eye of Rosen accompanies each bird (“first feeders at dawn / paired like red quotation marks / last feeders at dusk” is the entry for the Northern Cardinal), as well as lush and—there’s no other word for it—beautiful watercolors from Fellows of these birds in their habitats that just shimmer right off the page. (His illustrations even include Rosen’s ardent notes about these creatures of the air. My favorites are on the American Goldfinch spreads: “travel in small groups, feeder is a tower of gold” and “funny — their song is ‘potato-chips, potato-chips.'”)

It’s a thing of beauty, this book.

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