Archive for January, 2016

A 2016 Picture Book Preview, Featuring Iacopo Bruno, Bryan Collier, Laura Dronzek, Rick Lieder, Josée Masse, Yuyi Morales, Zachariah OHora, and Red Nose Studio

h1 Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Pictured above is one of the characters from Ame Dyckman’s upcoming picture book (coming in April), illustrated by Zachariah OHora. I love this girl’s shock of red hair. She’s welcoming you all to a sort of illustration dump today. Well, that phrasing sounds very ineloquent, but it’s a happy thing.

About two weeks ago, I wrote over here at Kirkus about some upcoming early-2016 picture books—-collaborations between authors and illustrators, some new pairings and some to which we readers are accustomed—and I follow up today here at 7-Imp with some art from each one.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #465: Featuring E. B. Lewis

h1 Sunday, January 10th, 2016

“… When the gavel slammed down to end court that day, it announced change all over the country. And in its echo, you could hear the sound of Sarah’s first steps
to school and her long road to justice.”

(Click image to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

Hi, dear kickers. I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Susan E. Goodman’s The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Bloomsbury, January 2016).

That review is here, if you’d like to learn more about the book. Since I always like to follow up with some art, I’ve got a few spreads from the book here today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today

h1 Friday, January 8th, 2016


Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got some thoughts about the book pictured above, the first one both written and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. It was originally published last year in the UK but hits American shelves this March.

That is here today.

Until later …

Kirkus Q & A: Monica Brown

h1 Thursday, January 7th, 2016

These books represent my desire that our multiracial and multicultural children are not considered ‘fractions’ but rather celebrated for containing multitudes.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Monica Brown, pictured here, about her newest picture book, Maya’s Blanket/la manta de Maya (Lee & Low). It was released back in August and illustrated by David Díaz. We also discuss what’s next on her plate for 2016.

That link is here today.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll showcase some spreads from the book.

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Photo of Monica used by her permission.


A Moment with Gene Luen Yang,
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

h1 Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

I’m not normally in the habit of posting other people’s interviews in full at my site, but what the hell, I’m doing so today.

And that’s because I was very excited to hear on Monday of this week that graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (pictured left in his self-portrait) was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Below is a five-question chat he had with Gina Gagliano at First Second Books. I’m merely hosting them here today.

I can’t wait to hear more from Gene in his two-year term as Ambassador.

As the new Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, what changes would you like to see in America’s reading culture?

Gene: I want us to diversify our reading in every sense of the word “diverse.” I want us to read stories from different cultures about different topics in different formats. I want every person to read at least one book that others don’t expect them to like, at least once a year.

What draws you to YA books and literature?

Gene: I started in the comic book industry, which isn’t as tightly categorized into age demographics as the traditional book market. I didn’t really think of myself as a YA author until I began publishing with First Second Books. They looked at my stuff and decided it fit best in Young Adult.

I think they’re right. My friend and fellow author Marsha Qualey says there’s an equation at the heart of all YA:

Power + Belonging = Identity

Most of my stories are about that equation.

What do you like better — hardcovers or paperbacks?

Gene: You know, I’ve never really thought about it. Each format has its advantages. Hardcovers feel solid and substantial in your hand. Paperbacks are more portable.

I do a lot of my reading on the go these days, so I guess right now I prefer paperbacks.

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Revisiting Dire Lullabies to Great Effect
with Linda Ashman and Simona Mulazzani

h1 Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

“Baby has fallen into a nest, / Cozy and snug now, starting to rest. /
Mama Crow frets, ‘This bird is too big!’ / Nudges the babe …”

(Click to enlarge spread)

If you’re talkin’ nursery rhymes/Mother Goose rhymes and their inherent eccentricities (the rhymes themselves and their origins), I think many people would agree that one of the oddest of all is “Rock-a-bye Baby,” what with the falling baby from the treetops. It’s macabre, to say the least.

One of my favorite picture book authors is Linda Ashman. She consistently brings the goods. Her brand-new book (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House), illustrated by Italian artist Simona Mulazzani, is an early-2016 treat. (It’s coming to shelves this month.) It’s called Rock-a-Bye Romp, and it almost reads as Ashman’s response to this bizarre traditional rhyme, yet it’s not as if she’s trying to fix the rhyme. It’s not as if she’s saying anything is wrong with it. In fact, she does her part to extend the wonderful madness of the tale — yet brings it all full-circle with lots of warmth.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #464: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Erin McLaughlin

h1 Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

It’s the first Sunday of the month, fellow kickers, and that means a student or debut illustrator. I’ve got the former today, a student from Montserrat College of Art. Erin McLaughlin is nearly done with her studies, tells us all about herself below, and also shares some of her art with its bright palettes and simple shapes. (It’s almost as if a child’s toys have come to life, her pieces below.) So, let’s get right to it. I’m handing it over to Erin now. …

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A Peek at 2016 Picture Books …

h1 Friday, January 1st, 2016

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got a sneak-peek at some early 2016 picture books. Well, a couple might be Summer releases, as I can’t help myself.

That is here, and pictured above is my favorite of the lot.

Until Sunday …