Archive for June, 2014

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Edwin Fotheringham and … well, the Wyeths

h1 Friday, June 13th, 2014

“In college, he still dreamed of fields and woods and home. But by his junior year in 1820, he also found new things to love: reading stacks of books, discussing them with friends, and recording ‘new thoughts’ in a journal. He named his journal The Wide World. His thoughts took him everywhere. And when he finished school and set out on his own, he wondered: Could he build a life around these things he loved?”
— Art from Barbara Kerley’s
A Home for Mr. Emerson, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
(Click image to enlarge)

“Ann loved dolls but Andrew’s favorites were trains, a hook and ladder that pumped real water, and his toy soldiers. When he was six, N.C. painted his portrait.
Andrew wouldn’t hold still. N.C. gave him the toy fire engine to hold, but he kept moving, so N.C. left the hands unfinished.”
— From Susan Goldman Rubin’s
Everybody Paints!:
The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, since Father’s Day is upon us, I write about some of my favorite picture books featuring fathers. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about two new biographies, Barbara Kerley’s A Home for Mr. Emerson (Scholastic, February 2014), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (Chronicle, February 2014).

Today, I’ve got a bit of art from the Emerson book, and Edwin is also sharing a few sketches and a few words below.

I’ve also got some spreads from the Wyeth biography. It turns out that (legally-speaking), I can post some art from the Wyeth book, if I include the spreads in their entirety. No problem. I’ll share them here. I’ve been a long-time fan of the art that has come from the Wyeth clan—my bookshelves groan under my collection of Wyeth books—and I hope you enjoy the spreads here today.

Until Sunday … Read the rest of this entry �

Catching Up with Lauren Castillo …

h1 Thursday, June 12th, 2014

I had the opportunity to make five books with Frances before she retired in 2013. During that time, we grew close, and I very much thought of her as my NYC family. She was an extraordinary editor, who always encouraged me to trust my creative instincts, something that isn’t the easiest to do when many people are involved in the making of a book. The faith she had in her authors and illustrators made all the difference, and that kind of trusting collaboration is what leads to the strongest, most successful outcomes.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Lauren Castillo, pictured here, about her newest picture book, The Troublemaker (Clarion, June 2014), as well as her forthcoming Nana in the City (Clarion, September 2014).

She speaks above about legendary editor Frances Foster, who passed away earlier this week. The rest of our discussion is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from The Troublemaker, as well as some character studies, etc. from Lauren.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Lauren used with her permission.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jennifer Yerkes

h1 Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

This interview has been several years in the making.

Back in 2012, when I juried for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, I was delighted to see a little book called Drôle d’oiseau, published by France’s Éditions MeMo in 2011. The book went on to receive a Mention for the Opera Prima Award that year. (The Opera Prima Award is given to debut artists.) It also received here in the States the 2013 Gold Medal for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art award, as it was released in the U.S. by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky as A Funny Little Bird. Jennifer, as you’ll read below, was born here in the U.S. but now makes her home overseas — and has for many years. (So, yes, her debut picture book was published in French yet translated later into her mother tongue, as she notes in a response below.)

The book was described by professional reviewers as fresh, innovative, highly-original, thought-provoking, infinitely clever … I could go on. To say the artwork is spare is an understatement. Yerkes’ protagonist in the book consists of primarily negative space, as you can see in some of the spreads below. Pictured above, in fact, in the spread opening this post is the cover art. (It pains me to put a border around it, but I want you to be able to click on it and see it in more detail, if you’re so inclined, and if I don’t put the border, I think cyberspace adds a big, ugly thick border. Also, please note that if you click on it, the colors in the larger version are slightly off. They’re brighter than they appear in the book.)

Where was I? Oh, it’s a delightful book on many levels, and I’m glad Jennifer’s here to talk about it, to share lots of art, to let us know what’s next for her, and to give us a peek into her sketchbooks. We’re going to have lots of coffee. A typical breakfast for her involves that and then, “about two hours later: four slices of well-buttered toast. Or if I’m lucky enough to make it to the bakery, a cinnamon ‘cross.'” I say we splurge and have all of the above.

I thank her for visiting. Let’s get to it …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #385: Featuring Javier Martínez Pedro

h1 Sunday, June 8th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

This morning’s featured book, José Manuel Mateo’s Migrant, illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro, is actually one that was awarded the New Horizons Award at the 2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which was the year that I juried. It was originally released in Spanish in Mexico in 2011 as Migrar. It has been published here in the States this year, just released in April by Abrams Books for Young Readers — with text in Spanish on one side of the book and text in English on the other. This makes me happy to see. (The New Horizons Award provides special recognition for illustrators from Arab, Latin American, Asian, and African countries.)

The book was created in the style of a codex, or one continuous illustration, along with Mateo’s words, presented in an accordion fold. It works like this:

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, June 6th, 2014

Today over at Kirkus, I write about two (relatively) new biographies, Barbara Kerley’s A Home for Mr. Emerson (Scholastic, February 2014), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (Chronicle, February 2014), pictured above.

That link is here, and next week I hope to have art from each book.

Until Sunday …

Following Up with Duncan Tonatiuh …

h1 Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Duncan: “My artwork is very much inspired by Pre-Columbian art, especially by Mixtec codices from the 14th century. That is why my art is very geometric, my characters are always in profile, and their ears look a bit like the number three.
My intention is to celebrate that ancient art and keep it alive.”

“In the new trial, the Mendez family received support from the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Japanese American Citizens League, the American Jewish Congress, and other organizations (credit chris). … Sylvia was amazed that people of different backgrounds and from different parts of the country who had never met her family were
getting involved in the case and trying to help them. …”

(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted with author-illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh about his newest picture book, Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Abrams, May 2014). That Q&A is here.

Today, I follow up with some early sketches and dummy images Duncan sent, as well as a bit of final art from the book.


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The Pilot and the Little Prince

h1 Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

“Long ago in France, at the turn of the last century,
a little boy was born to be an adventurer.”

I’ve seen a small handful of picture books thus far here in 2014 that I think are truly exceptional, and today’s featured picture book is one of those.

I reviewed Peter Sís’ newest book, The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Farrar Straus Giroux, May 2014), over at BookPage. That review is here, and today I’m following up with some art from the book.


Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #384:
Featuring Cece Bell, Eric Rohmann, & Philip C. Stead
(and a Kick’y Moment with Jody Hewgill, Too)

h1 Sunday, June 1st, 2014

— From Cece Bell’s El Deafo (2014)


— From Candace Fleming’s Bulldozer’s Big Day,
illustrated by Eric Rohmann (2015)


— From Philip C. Stead’s Sebastian and the Balloon (2014)
(Click to enlarge)

Good morning, all. I dropped my plans for today to do something a little bit different. (Normally, on the first Sunday of each month, I feature the work of a student illustrator, but I’ll get back to that next month, promise.)

Philip and Erin Stead have created a new website, called Number Five Bus Presents: Conversations with Book People. The why of the whole endeavor is here, and you’ll see over on the main page the line-up of people they’ll be talking to in this, their first season. Here’s a clue as to the blog’s title, which is from the 2011 Caldecott winner, Phil and Erin’s A Sick Day for Amos McGee:

(Click to enlarge)

(Of course, I’m just guessing here, but I figured that must be where the five and the bus and all that goodness comes from.)

The other day, I mentioned this new site (a lovely place to visit, especially for picture book lovers) at places like Facebook and Twitter, but then I realized that I hadn’t actually mentioned it here at my own site. And let me tell you what, folks: The first interview with Eric Rohmann? It is very enjoyable, especially if you love picture books. (I keep saying that, don’t I?) Eric’s interview is here. It’s got decapitation and exploding pigs, to name but two highly entertaining moments. But it’s much, more more, and it’ll really get you thinking about picture books in many directions.

I thought I’d see if both Eric and Phil could give us a sneak-peek at upcoming books — in honor of this new site. They agreed! Phil added that author-illustrator Cece Bell’s interview will be posted on Monday, so I asked her if she wanted to play along today, and she said yes, too. She includes some pages from her upcoming graphic novel memoir, El Deafo, all about her hearing loss and childhood experiences with her hearing aid, the Phonic Ear.

Oh, and in my kicks, I have a new piece of fan-girl art from Jody Hewgill. (“Fan-girl” here means that I love the music of the subject of her piece, and I really love Jody’s art, too.)

So, let’s get right to it — some art sneak-peeks from each of them. I thank them for playing along. Read the rest of this entry �