Archive for November, 2009

“Fieldnotes” with Steven Withrow:
One Impossibly New Idea Before Breakfast

h1 Monday, November 30th, 2009

I’m going to try something new here at 7-Imp, and it involves this guy here, writer and researcher and teacher and editor and producer/film-maker and poet (whew) Steven Withrow, pictured here with his beautiful daughter. Steven is going to contribute one post a month here at 7-Imp, and just below here in a moment, he’ll tell you what that contribution will be. I’ll still be 7-Imp editor (7-Impitor? Where’s Little Willow when you need some creative phrasing?), but once a month, Steven will be here to provide some new and exciting content. At least I think it sounds great, and all I have to do is take what he’s written and the images he’s provided and post it, people! I get to kick back and read and enjoy, just like you will. Dudes! This’ll be a treat.

I’ll let him tell you all about it. I asked him to introduce himself and to let us know, in his own words, who he is, what he’s done, what he’s all about, and—of course—what turns him on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally. (He has a good answer for that one.) He rose to the challenge, conducting an energetic, fast-paced interview with himself. (Kudos to him for managing to fit his professional and personal life into less than 800 words.) And, because he chose to close his introduction with his favorite books (and good ones, at that), I have a feeling he’ll fit in comfortably when he stops by here monthly, as a rabid, insane, bordering-on-pathological passion for good books is required to be a contributor.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #143: Featuring Jon J. Muth and Melissa Sweet (& a New 7-Imp Mad Tea Party Image!)

h1 Sunday, November 29th, 2009

“Suddenly, a warm tingling spreads from his whiskers to his soles. And around him, the night begins to thrum with magic, the kind of magic that makes reindeer fly.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, a 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.

I guess whether we’re ready for it or not, the holiday season has descended upon us. I have to say that this time of year is particularly exciting with young children. In celebration, I’ve got some holiday illustrations today. Above is a spread from the talented Lauren Thompson’s The Christmas Magic (Scholastic, September 2009), illustrated by Jon J. Muth. I’ve been a long-time fan of Muth, and he was the perfect choice for illustrating this enchanting title. And I’ve also got some spreads from David Martin’s Hanukkah Lights (Candlewick, September 2009), illustrated by Melissa Sweet:

(Click to enlarge spread.)

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h1 Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

“Por la música de mi tío y su guitarra, que convierte a nuestros perros en cantantes aulladores, gracias. / For the music of my uncle and his guitar that turns our dogs into howling singers, thanks.”

I’ll probably be offline the rest of the week, as I assume many others will, to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. (If I’m inspired by poetry, I’ll show up Friday. Otherwise, I’ll see everyone on Sunday.) I wanted to leave you this week with some art from the picture book Gracias / Thanks by Pat Mora and illustrated by John Parra (Lee Low, October 2009) — all in the spirit of thanks-giving.

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Random Illustrator Feature
(the Nonfiction Monday Edition): Neal Layton

h1 Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I’m pleased to welcome British illustrator Neal Layton to 7-Imp today. As many of you know, lots of blogs in the kidlitosphere like to celebrate nonfiction on Mondays. Now, Neal has written and illustrated some pretty wonderful fiction titles. I love his illustrations for the wonderful That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell (Hyperion, 2007). (Evidently, there is a new Emily Brown sequel in the U.K. Excellent. Guess I’ll have to wait a while for that one.) Oh, and have you read the Mammoth Academy chapter books (published by Henry Holt)? I’ve only read the second, which was released this summer, but it had me and my kindergartener laughing out loud.

But I’m here today to highlight what happens when Neal pairs up with author Nicola Davies. What happens, to be exact, is that they create excellent nonfiction titles for children. Neal’s here to say a few words about them and his work.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #142: Featuring Amy Schwartz

h1 Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I’ve said this before here at 7-Imp, and I’ll say it again today: I’m a big fan of Amy Schwartz’s picture books and the understated charm and humor of her stories and illustrations. I’ve occasionally told myself, Self: Why don’t you write a sort of Amy Schwartz Appreciation at the blog? But I guess I have discussed a few of her titles before here at 7-Imp, so we can consider my Ode to Amy a perpetual work-in-progress. I’ve also said before that I love the seeming simplicity of both her writing and illustrations, but there’s really a lot going on, including an undeniably strong child-centeredness that, in my experience, makes her books bonafide Kid Magnets. Amy can perfectly capture the details of a child’s world, what they truly care to pay attention to. (The book best exemplifying this would be the wonderful What James Likes Best from 2003.)

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Final Day of the Winter Blog Blast Tour

h1 Friday, November 20th, 2009

Here’s the schedule for this, the last day of the Winter Blog Blast Tour. I’m late gettin’ to it, but better late than never:

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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Today’s Winter Blog Blast Tour Schedule

h1 Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

See you tomorrow with my own actual interview…

What Lightsabers, Cloning, and Chicken Puppets
Have to Do with Today’s WBBT Schedule

h1 Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Here is today’s WBBT (Winter Blog Blast Tour) schedule:

* * Patrick Carman at Miss Erin.

* * Ann Marie Fleming at Chasing Ray.

Jacqueline Kelly at HipWriterMama. (How much do I want to read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate? A lot. Still waiting on my library copy.)

Video interview (pictured here), which possesses an awesomeness that extends in about seven different directions (and which may have something to do with this post’s title), with the very funny and clever Dan Santat at A Fuse #8 Production. Or perhaps two versions of Dan. Good music is involved, too.

* * Laurie Faria Stolarz visits the most thoughtful person in all of cyberspace, Little Willow, at Bildungsroman.

* * Nova Ren Suma at Shelf Elf.

* * * * * * *

Reminders: The master schedule for the week is here. I’ll be here on Thursday with the über-talented illustrator and writer Jim Di Bartolo.

This Week’s Interview-O-Rama and
How I Plan to Contribute

h1 Monday, November 16th, 2009

Happy Monday to one and all…I say that with my best attempt to get rid of a morning scowl, as I’m still on only the first cup of coffee and, despite the blog’s title, it takes me a while to wake up.

I feature a lot of book-creators here at the blog, and it just so happens that I’m doing some writing of my own right now. One thing that’s interesting to me is that, when I think back to all the times I’ve read and heard authors talk about their work, I don’t have a lot of memories of them talking about one pesky little thing: Eye strain. From staring at the computer so long, that is. They tend to talk about craft, but HOLY WOW and sweet sugar monkeys (as Eisha would say), my. very. eyeballs. hurt. from a weekend of writing and editing and monitor-staring. Who knew? So, this week, I’m going to generally take it easy.

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