Archive for November, 2008

Poetry Friday: A Cherishing So Deep

h1 Friday, November 14th, 2008

I’m falling back on an old favorite today for my turn for Poetry Friday, as in one of my favorite poems. Ever.

I’ve been thinking again this week about the hustle and bustle of our lives. And, as a result, I went looking yesterday for my copy of What the Living Do: Poems (published in ’98) so that I could re-read the poem for which the anthology is named. This was Marie Howe’s second poetry anthology (I see she has a new one this year that I’m going to have to hunt down), a beautiful anthology of spare, intimate poems, primarily about the death of her beloved brother, John. Though many of the poems are about grief, elegies to those she has loved and lost, Howe has described the anthology in this way: “Each of {the poems} seems a love poem to me.” Indeed, underlying every poem is a joy, a deep reverence for life.

The first I time I read this poem, the room spun around a bit and I had to collect myself afterwards. Because Howe nails. it. This is what we do.

I take my chances by posting it in its entirety instead of breaking your reverie by making you have to go to another link.

Yat-Yee Chong is hosting Poetry Friday today over here. Enjoy.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast With Scott Magoon

h1 Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

When I asked author/illustrator Scott Magoon about his breakfast-of-choice so that we could chat about his work this morning, wouldn’t you know he invited us all over to his place? And then when he threw down his breakfast-of-choice, I had to gather myself together. I’ve read some pretty great breakfast responses since I started interviewing illustrators in this series of sorts here at 7-Imp, but THIS MAN AND HIS FAMILY KNOW HOW TO EAT, I must say: “My wife and I make the most delicious breakfasts here at home, so you’re all invited over! French toast and Frittatas or maybe omelet with pretty much anything in it. Fruit, hash browns, and a huge pot of French Roast coffee. The darker, the better; the stronger, the better. Maybe a smoothie. My wife also makes amazing smoothies.”

Yeah, you read that, too. I’m not seeing things, right? That’s a veritable feast, and did he even say “the darker, the better; the stronger, the better” about his coffee? Have mercy and amen! I’m having to fan myself now.

The other reason I’m excited he’s here to chat is because I’ve been following his career as author/illustrator, and I like what he does. I also really, really love this guy, who was, arguably, The Most Unforgettable Picture Book Protagonist of 2006:

That’s Ugly Fish, the star of—you guessed it—-Ugly Fish (Harcourt). Read the rest of this entry �

Random Illustrator Feature: Isabelle Arsenault

h1 Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

I’ve been reading a copy of My Letter to the World and Other Poems, a handsomely-designed anthology of Emily Dickinson’s poetry with captivating illustrations from Canadian illustrator Isabelle Arsenault and published by Kids Can Press (in their Visions in Poetry series). The book has been nominated for the prestigious Governor General Literary Award of Canada 2008 as well as a Cybils award here in the U.S. And I’m so taken by the illustrations by Ms. Arsenault that I contacted her to ask if she’d like to share some today with our readers. Lucky for me, she said yes, as well as agreed to share some other bits of art work with us.

I really don’t even want to say much, except to tell you from which poems these illustrations come. I’d rather let her beguiling art speak for itself. However, I will add a few words from Isabelle herself, what she told me about the experience of creating the illustrations for this title:

For this specific project I’ve been working with a mix of collage, ink, crayon and acrylic. It was very inspiring for me to create images based on poetry, and especially Dickinson’s. I found her imaginary world fitting well my style and aspirations as an artist.

Opening this post is Isabelle’s illustration from “I cannot live with You.” The next two (below) are from “Hope is the thing with feathers,” followed by one from “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” one from “There’s a certain Slant of light” (which Arsenault imbues with chilling hints of 9/11), and another from “I cannot live with You.”

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers — / That perches in the soul — / And sings the tune without the words — / And never stops — at all —“

Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Brian Lies

h1 Monday, November 10th, 2008

You know what I think of when I think of the art work of author/illustrator Brian Lies, pictured here having dinner with his bat buddy from his popular Bats at the Beach and brand-new Bats at the Library books? I think: precision, rich details, meticulous, and craftmanship. And I’m not alone. Writes Publishers Weekly about his latest Bats at the Library, “the author/artist outdoes himself: the library-after-dark setting works a magic all its own, taking Lies and his audience to a an intensely personal place,” and Kirkus writes, “{i}n this latest from Lies, it’s all-deservingly-about the artwork. He brings a sure, expressive and transporting hand to this story of a colony of bats paying a nighttime visit to a small-town library.” I mean, just check out this beautiful spread from the book. This is one of several spreads in which we see the bats absorbed in their books-of-choice: “And if we listen, we will hear / some distant voices drawing near — / louder, louder, louder still, / they coax and pull us in, until… / everyone—old bat or pup— / has been completely swallowed up / and lives inside a book instead / of simply hearing something read”:

I only wish this image were bigger so that you could see the craftmanship involved — not to mention the many children’s lit references. (Better yet, you could just go get a copy of the book at your local library or bookstore, and then come back and talk to me about how fabulous the art work is.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #88: Featuring Dimitrea Tokunbo

h1 Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week—whether book-related or not—that happened to you.

Today we welcome illustrator Dimitrea Tokunbo, whose most recent work is the illustrations for Katia Novet Saint-Lot’s Amadi’s Snowman, published this past May by independent publishing company Tilbury House, Publishers, based in Maine. The book tells the story of Amadi, a young Igbo man of Nigeria, who does not understand why his mother insists he learn to read, since he already knows his numbers and will be a businessman one day. When Amadi sees Chima, an older boy, reading a book about a snowman, his interest is piqued and, eventually, Amadi learns the value of learning about the world through books. Here are two spreads from the book: Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry Friday: I’ve got a feeling…

h1 Friday, November 7th, 2008

Tuesday night, while history was being made, my husband was at work – Ithaca College was in final rehearsals for a show. Around the time he got out, he heard a lot of commotion and screaming from somewhere on campus. The next day a student told him what had happened: when Barack Obama was declared our President-elect, hundreds of students rushed outside and launched into a spontaneous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” You can watch it here:

Call me a sap, but I just think that’s incredibly moving. So today’s poetry choice seems like an obvious one to me. Here’s another celebratory song, “I Hear America Singing,” from that rascally old patriot Walt Whitman.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

This is my celebratory song. I’ve had it in my head for going on three days now. What’s yours?

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Happy Poetry Friday, America. Our dear friend Jone, a.k.a. Ms. Mac, is hosting over at Check it Out. Godspeed.


h1 Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Thank you, America! And…


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(Illustration © 2008 Paul Rogers, adapted for

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Paul Rogers

h1 Monday, November 3rd, 2008

“At last: a jazz book that thrillingly, exhilaratingly, palpitatingly gets it.” That’s what Kirkus Reviews wrote of Jazz ABZ: A Collection of Jazz Portraits from A to Z (Candlewick, 2005) by Wynton Marsalis and illustrated by today’s guest for seven questions over breakfast, Paul Rogers.

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Blog the Vote

h1 Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Hi, everyone. This is a quick note to say that many kidlitosphere bloggers are participating in an effort called “Blog the Vote,” in which they’re blogging—in a non-partisan manner—about why our votes matter. Colleen Mondor is keeping a master list, which she began on Saturday and to which she will continue to add links until Monday night (I believe), over at Chasing Ray. This is a list of the wonderful posts that have been written thus far, reminding us why elections matter. So, don’t miss it (there are some great posts out there), and don’t forget to vote.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #87: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Candace Trew Camling

h1 Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week—whether book-related or not—that happened to you.

It’s the first Sunday of the month when we feature a student or newly-graduated illustrator, and today we welcome Candace Trew Camling, who graduated last year from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a BFA in illustration. Candace now lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband where she works as a freelance illustrator. Pinwheel Illustration & Design is her freelance business. “I work from a home studio, which is really a converted bedroom,” she told me. “I’m lucky to have the support of my husband and family, who seem to understand my need to create art better than I do sometimes.”

Read the rest of this entry �