Archive for September, 2009

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Matt Phelan

h1 Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Last year, I started this seven-questions-over-breakfast author/illustrator interview series, all because there were a handful of new illustrators, in particular, with whom I really wanted to chat, whose careers I was following with interest, and whose art I was hankerin’ to showcase. Matt Phelan was one of those folks. And it’s taken me this long to feature him here, but I finally have. I welcome him for a cyber-breakfast; Matt says he’ll take your classic eggs (style depending on whim), bacon, toast (with home-made jam), and home fries. And strong coffee, please. Of course, I don’t have this every day… except for the coffee. That is non-negotiable.” Why, here’s a coffee-drinker after my own heart. Strong and MUST-HAVE: The two ways I like coffee best. And the rest of his breakfast is nothing to sneeze at either. He might have to come over more often.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #132: Featuring Aaron Zenz

h1 Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Jules: This is from one of Aaron Zenz’s stories-looking-for-a-home, and I hope it settles down in just the right place one day, because I’d like to know more about these characters. How ’bout you?

And this below is the cover art for Aaron’s latest picture book title, The Hiccupotamus, which I’m here to tell you is a hoot, a powerful good hoot, to read aloud to your children or, shoot, the nearest children you can find: Read the rest of this entry �

Kidlitosphere-Conference Meme:
Just for MotherReader

h1 Saturday, September 12th, 2009

MotherReader tagged us in a kidlitosphere-conference meme. As many of you know, the third (I think it is) Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is coming up on October 17th. Here’s all the info you need. Eisha and I can’t be there, but MotherReader, who is working hard to organize this year’s conference, asked us to take a brief trip down memory lane and reflect on the first conference we went to, which happened to be the first-ever one in Chicago in 2007.

Why did you decide to attend the KidLitosphere Conference?

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Poetry Thursday and Friday: Louisa May Alcott

h1 Thursday, September 10th, 2009

“When she returned {from Europe}, a publisher asked if she could write a ‘girls’ book.’ She said she would try. The result was Little Women, published in 1868. Louisa didn’t feel too hopeful about her latest work. ‘Never liked girls or knew many, except my sisters; but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting,
though I doubt it.'”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Here’s where I admit, with my librarian’s head hanging low and my face scarlet, that I have never read Little Women. Oh no, I haven’t. There. I’ve admitted this before quietly in comments at 7-Imp, but I’ve never said it so loudly here ’til now. And, of course, with two girls who are fairly soon going to be at a very good age for listening to this novel, I’m going to hold off even more, I think, and experience it then. With them.

But I’m not here today to talk about only Little Women. I’m here to tell you about—and share some art from—Yona Zeldis McDonough’s Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen (Henry Holt, August 2009). And this would be for an early Poetry Friday entry (a bit of a spotlight on Louisa, the poet, that is) and in my attempt, begun last week, to tell you about some more new picture book biographies currently on shelves.

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h1 Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

So, this is very nice to hear: Evidently, 7-Imp was selected by a panel of judges to be on the shortlist for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award in the category of Best Kidlit Blog. This seems to be the place where we are supposed to direct you if you’d like to vote for winners in any category. And whoa: It’s terrifically flattering to be in the company of the other nominees in our category: A Fuse #8 Production, Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Maw Books Blog, and Shelf Elf: read, write, rave. I mean, really. How can you pick from all those folks? Wow.

Thanks to …er, whoever nominated this site. Not sure how this works. But it’s flattering. Very. Thank you from 7-Imp.

Now, don’t miss my (Jules’, that is) interview below with Marla and Liz! Bring your plate: There will be pancakes.

Gingerbread Pancakes with
Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee

h1 Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I wish I could take credit for being the photographer of this photo of author Liz Garton Scanlon and author/illustrator Marla Frazee, because then that would mean I’d been in Malibu, where this picture was taken in November of last year. Alas, it was not I.

But I am here this morning, sharing a cyber-breakfast and conducting a joint Q&A with these talented ladies. And there are three reasons why. (Not seven reasons, for once, but I’m sure I can come up with four more. Quite easily.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #131: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Kevin Tseng

h1 Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Jules: Welcome to our kicks on this holiday weekend! We hope folks are around to kick with us.

I suppose this is the moment at the Mad Tea Party just after Alice “got up in great disgust, and walked off” and the Dormouse has fallen asleep instantly — just prior to being stuffed into a teapot, that is. This Mad Tea Party comes to us from freelance illustrator Kevin Tseng.

Kevin, who studied Biology and Fine Art at Washington University, has just written and illustrated his first book, Ned’s New Home (Tricycle Press, August 2009), about a friendly worm named Ned, looking for some new digs. He does live in an apple, so I figure decomposition is a harsh reality. I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but I invited Kevin to come share some of his art here on the first Sunday of the month when I like to highlight student or new-to-the-field illustrators.

Kevin says he’s a fan of the Alice books, and these images are from a few years ago — from his portfolio. Score. You know we love our Alice art. I love how the Caterpillar below can multi-task, what with his ability to cross his arms sternly at Alice and hold on to his hookah:

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Poetry Friday: Burn like that.

h1 Friday, September 4th, 2009

Photo by Starfire - click for link. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

First, an apology: I have bailed on Poetry Friday for the past two weeks running. I know! Shocking! Two weeks ago, I just flat out forgot. No excuse. And then last week, I burned my finger and thumb on a hot baking sheet and couldn’t type, what with all the bulky gauze and searing pain and such. So, I’m sorry. But I’ll try to make it up to you, by sharing something extra good: it’s “A Young Woman, A Tree” by Alicia Ostriker.

This poem gained a bit of notoriety a few years ago, because Kurt Cobain quoted it above a self-effacing caricature in his published journal. But this is a poem that deserves all kinds of notice on its own merit. Check it:

Passing that fiery tree—if only she could
Be making love,
Be making poetry,
Be exploding, be speeding through the universe
Like a photon, like a shower
Of yellow blazes—
She believes if she could only overtake
The riding rhythm of things,
Of her own electrons,
Then she would be at rest
If she could forget school,
Climb the tree,
Be the tree,
Burn like that.

Read the rest here. I love it for the vibrant imagery, for the driving pulse created by that litany of verbs, and for its strangely affirming twist of an ending. But what do you think?

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Today’s Poetry Friday Round-up is brought to you by the uber-classy Kelly Herold at her blog Crossover. Thanks, Kelly!

My Post at the End of a Long Day In Which I Treat Myself to Beautiful Art and Share It With You

h1 Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This is illustrator Julie Paschkis’ cover art (click to enlarge) for Rachel Rodríguez’s new picture book biography of one of the 19th century’s boldest artists, architect Antoni Gaudí. Building on Nature: The Life of Anton Gaudí, published by Henry Holt this month, is that other picture book biography I promised to cover this week, but I’m not going to say much. And that’s because it’s been one of THOSE long, way-too-busy days that wears one out. I think pausing to soak in some Paschkis-art—beautiful, always beautiful—is just what I need right now: Julie’s art reminds me to slow down and take it all in better.

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