Archive for April, 2014

Breathe: A Visit with Scott Magoon

h1 Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

“Listen to the sea. Sing.”
(Click to enlarge)

Hi, all. Author-illustrator Scott Magoon is visiting 7-Imp today to talk about creating the artwork for his newest picture book, Breathe (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, April 2014). This is the story of a young whale, learning independence, while exploring his watery world, and even facing danger — but always with mama whale by his side. Scott, among other things, discusses his color choices below in these digital illustrations, and the colors in the final art (he shares them here without the text in them) are one of my favorite things about this book. It’s a book Kirkus calls in their starred review “richly composed and sweetly appealing — just right for baby storytimes as well as one-to-one sharing.”

I’m gonna get right to it. By this time on a normal day, I’d have done maybe four to five very possible things before lunch, but I’ve got a very unwelcome flu of some sort, and this may be all that I accomplish today. (I crawled to my computer in very distinct stages.) But it’s a good one thing to accomplish — to share some of Scott’s art from this sweet story.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #379: Featuring David Roberts

h1 Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Hi, all. I usually feature the work of others here at the ol’ blawg, but today I’m doing something a bit different.

As many of you know, I’ve finished up work on a book that I wrote with Betsy Bird and the late Peter D. Sieruta. It’s called Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature. It will be published in August. Candlewick has made a press release for the book, which includes a Q&A with me and Betsy.

I shared this press release on Facebook and Twitter and other such wild and wacky social media-type places, and I don’t want to annoy the everlovin’ life out of everyone by going on and on about this book. But it occurred to me this week that I hadn’t shared the press release here at 7-Imp. So, that’s what I’m doing today.

It’s here in all its red and white glory.

All throughout the book, we will have cute, fluffy bunnies (you’ll understand why when you read the book), as seen above, and those were created by British illustrator David Roberts, who also did the cover art. (Do check out his website, if you’re so inclined, ’cause you’ll have fun.) Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Maira Kalman

h1 Friday, April 25th, 2014

“Meet me on the lawn, I want to take a picture of you.”
(Click image to enlarge)


“Perhaps she stood there so that she could stand still.”
(Click image to enlarge)


Last week I wrote here about Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May.

Pictured above are two paintings from the book.

Ah. Kalman.

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I have a tribute to the one. the only. Viola Swamp.

That link is here.

Until Sunday …

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GIRLS STANDING ON LAWNS. Illustrations by Maira Kalman © 2014. Text by Daniel Handler © 2014. Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Paintings used by permission of the publisher.

A Bit of Belize Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, April 24th, 2014

“Back in the jungle, I know all the jaguars in the study area from their tracks. But one day I come across a completely new track—the biggest male jaguar tracks I have ever seen. I follow the prints for hours. Not wanting to be caught in the jungle at night without a flashlight, I turn around to go back to camp.
There, right behind me, is the jaguar.
He must have been following
(Click to enlarge spread)

Last week, I chatted here with Dr. Alan Rabinowitz about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin, May 2014), illustrated by Catia Chien.

For those who’d like to see some art from the book, I share that here today.

Until tomorrow …

Read the rest of this entry �

Alabama-Bound . . .

h1 Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Just a quick note to say that this Thursday I’ll speak in Huntsville, Alabama, at the 2014 Annual Convention of the Alabama Library Association.

The following week, I’ll also speak at the Tennessee Library Association Annual Conference 2014, but I won’t have to travel far for that one. It’ll be in my own back yard, so to speak (Murfreesboro, Tennessee).

If any of my blog readers will be at either conference, by chance, please come say hi!

Until Thursday …

Star Child: A Visit with Claire A. Nivola

h1 Monday, April 21st, 2014

“Slowly you will learn to take care of yourself.”

Claire A. NivolaIn early May, fans of the work of Claire A. Nivola will be happy to see Star Child hit shelves (Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux). It’s an extraordinary, brand-new story from Claire, and I like it a lot. I reviewed this for BookPage, so you can read about it here.

Today, Claire (pictured here) is visiting to talk a bit about the book, and we can also take a look at some of the art from it.

I interviewed Claire here at 7-Imp in 2011, and it remains one of my favorite interviews. To make sense of what we talk about here today (assuming you haven’t already seen, say, an early copy of the book), since it’s an unusual story, be sure to read the review first and then return, if you’re so inclined, for her thoughtful responses.

I’m always happy when she visits 7-Imp, and I thank her for taking the time to do so.


Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #378: Featuring Laurie Keller

h1 Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Happy Easter and Passover to one and all. You’d think I’d have bunnies for you today, given the Easter holiday anyway, but nope. I’ve got doughnuts. Lots of doughnuts.

Back at the beginning of the month, I chatted with author-illustrator Laurie Keller over at Kirkus about her new chapter book series about Arnie the Doughnut. The first two books in the series are Bowling Alley Bandit, published last year, and Invasion of the Ufonuts, released in February of this year. These are published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and were inspired by Laurie’s beloved 2003 picture book, Arnie the Doughnut. We talked (here) about writing funny books for children, slapstick humor, schools visits, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Today, I follow up with some treats from Laurie. She shares some sketches and, well … she pretty much shows us how she does what she does. And I really appreciate her sharing. It’s fun stuff, and it’s neat to get an inside look at it all.

Without further ado, here’s Laurie …

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What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, April 18th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May. It made me want to find my own family photos of girls or women standing on lawns, which are in that piece over at Kirkus. Pictured above is my maternal grandmother.

That column is here today.

* * *

Pictured above is Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. I chatted with him at Kirkus yesterday about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin), illustrated by Cátia Chien and also set to be released in early May. “This story,” Rabinowitz tells me, “is not just about a stuttering boy who studied jaguars, but about all children who feel sad, abused, or misunderstood by the world at large ….” It’s a remarkable story. That Q&A is here.

Until Sunday …

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Photo of Alan Raboniwitz by Steve Winter and used with permission.

A Handful of Illustrations Before Breakfast:
Featuring Renato Alarcão, K.G. Campbell,
Emily Gravett, and Steve Jenkins

h1 Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about a handful of new picture books I like. All the talk talk talk is over here in that column, if you missed it last week.

Today, I want to share some art from each book. And, in the case of Emily Gravett, I’ve got a couple of early sketches, too. Above is a thumbnail from one of her sketchbooks. The rest is below.

Enjoy the art.

(Note: The illustrations from Mama Built a Little Nest are sans text. The colors in those also appear here on the screen a bit brighter than they do in the book.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Julie Fortenberry

h1 Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Illustrator Julie Fortenberry is visiting 7-Imp today, and as you can see above, she brought her breakfast along — Cheerios with blueberries and coffee with milk. It looks just right to me (and healthy to boot), and I’m ready to chat with her over coffee.

I should say that Julie, who started her career as an abstract painter, is an author-illustrator, actually. Earlier this month, she saw her writing debut, though previously she’s illustrated others’ books. You can read more below about The Artist and the King, her author-illustrator debut and what Kirkus calls in their review “a nod to art’s twin powers of subversion and of transformation.” It was published by Alazar Press (whom we have to thank for re-printing Ashley Bryan’s compilations of Black American spirituals, but Julie talks about that below too).

Those of you familiar with the work of Kar-Ben Publishing (a division of Lerner Publishing Group), who publish new children’s books with Jewish content each year, may instantly recognize Julie’s work. As you’ll see below, she’s illustrated many of Jamie Korngold’s stories about a Jewish girl, the cheery and ever-resourceful Sadie.

Let’s get to it, and I thank Julie for visiting. (I’d like to take this opportunity, by the way, to thank Julie seven-thousand-fold for her blog about children’s book illustrations, which she writes with artist Shelley Davies. Oh, how I’ve enjoyed it over the years.)

Read the rest of this entry �