Archive for September, 2016

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Amy June Bates, Simona Ciraolo, and Owen Swan

h1 Friday, September 30th, 2016

— From Phil Cummings’ Newspaper Hats, illustrated by Owen Swan


“So I ask Nana why, and she tells me it might look that way because of all the lines on her face. ‘Do you mind them, Nana?’ I ask. ‘Not at all,’ she says.
‘You see, it is in these lines that I keep all my memories!'”
— From Simona Ciraolo’s
The Lines on Nana’s Face
(Click to enlarge spread)


“The apple peelings are piling up. / Faith looks at me and says,
Tell us more, Uncle Arthur….”
— From Helen Frost’s
Applesauce Weather,
illustrated by Amy June Bates

(Click to see spread in its entirety)

Over at Kirkus this morning, I’ve got evolution on the mind. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Simona Ciraolo’s The Lines on Nana’s Face (Flying Eye, October 2016); Phil Cummings’ Newspaper Hats (Charlesbridge, October 2016), illustrated by Owen Swan; and Helen Frost’s Applesauce Weather (Candlewick, August 2016), illustrated by Amy June Bates. I’m following up today with a bit of art from each book.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Michele Wood

h1 Thursday, September 29th, 2016

One of the things I am looking at as an artist is: How do I tell the truth? How do I inform the truth of the story so that you may not turn away? The truth is not always pretty.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Michele Wood, quoted and pictured here, about Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song, released this month from Millbrook/Lerner.

That Q&A is here this morning, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some paintings from the book.

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Photo of Michele Wood taken by Kevin Parker and used by her permission.

Owl Sees Owl, and I See Rob’s Sketchbook

h1 Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Illustrator Rob Dunlavey is here this morning to talk about creating the illustrations for Laura Godwin’s Owl Sees Owl, released this month by Schwartz & Wade. (Pictured above is an early sketch.) Godwin constructed this story of an owl’s night-time adventure (home, journey, and home again) in the form of a reverso. The text is spare and the illustrations, wondrous. It’s a story possessing a quiet, lovely restraint, and I find that with repeated reads, I spot something new and rewarding.

As you’ll see in some of the images below, it’s also a fitting book for the arrival of Autumn. (To read more, head here to the Horn Book, which featured its starred review of the book as this week’s Review of the Week.)

I thank Rob for visiting to give us a peek into his sketchbook and show some final art. Let’s get to it.

[Incidentally, I got to meet Rob earlier this month, while traveling, and see his sketchbooks in person. Needless to say, his sketches are even better up close and in hand.]

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #502: Featuring The Fan Brothers

h1 Sunday, September 25th, 2016

“The next day seemed to last forever. But finally, when the Moon was shining over the lake and the summer wind was ruffling the leaves of the trees, Chris ran next door.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Chris Hadfield’s The Darkest Dark (Little, Brown, September 2016)), illustrated by The Fan Brothers. That review is here, and I’ve got a couple of spreads from it to share here at 7-Imp today.

You may have seen from earlier this year The Fan Brothers’ The Night Gardener. If you didn’t see it, it’s your lucky day: You can see a handful of spreads from it here at their site.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan

h1 Friday, September 23rd, 2016

At Kirkus today, I’ve got picture books and grandparents on the mind. That is here.

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Last week I wrote here about Matt Phelan’s Snow White: A Graphic Novel (Candlewick, September 2016), as well as Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones (Scholastic, October 2016). I’ve got a bit of art here today from Phelan’s book, as well as some preliminary images he sent along, but unfortunately I don’t have any images from Tan’s book. You can, however, see some here at his site.


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A Moment with the Art of Edel Rodriguez

h1 Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

“… By the time of his bar mitzvah, Lenny could make the gesture easily with either hand. His fingers looked like the letter shin, which, he’d learned in Hebrew school, was the first letter of the word shalom, or “peace,”
Shaddal, one of the names for God.”

I’m following up last week’s Kirkus Q&A with author Richard Michelson and illustrator Edel Rodriguez with a bit of Edel’s art from Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy, on shelves this month from Knopf.


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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Bethan Woollvin

h1 Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Earlier this Spring, Peachtree brought readers the debut picture book from Bethan Woollvin, pictured here, who is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art in England. I wrote about this book, Little Red, here over at Kirkus, because it’s a well-crafted debut. (Back in 2014, it up and won the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition over in the UK.)

And then I was curious to see more art from Bethan and learn more, so I invited her over for a 7-Imp cyber-breakfast. “If I could have any breakfast,” she tells me, “I’d go all American on you guys and have the full waffle-bacon-syrup deal, but since I’m not in New York, I’ll stick to porridge with strawberries.”

YUM. This is good with me. I’ll throw in some coffee. Also good with me is seeing more art from Bethan and getting a peek into her Little Red sketchbook. So, let’s get right to it.

And I thank her for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #501: Featuring Ashley Bryan

h1 Sunday, September 18th, 2016

“… We made music! / When we stole time / we laughed, we danced. …”
(Click to enlarge and read the text in its entirety)

I have a review over at BookPage of Ashley Bryan’s new book, Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, September 2016). That is here, and today I share a few spreads from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Jon Agee, Quentin Blake, Tomie dePaola,
Matthew Forsythe, Betsy Lewin,
E. B. Lewis, and Brian Pinkney

h1 Friday, September 16th, 2016

“… She called it ‘Kitty,’
but Kitty called herself ‘Miss Catherine St. Quintin.'”


“… Now, as an adult, I imagine Peter Rabbit scurrying around
having a ball in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where I live.” — Brian Pinkney

(Click to enlarge image)

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got new books from Shaun Tan and Matt Phelan on the mind. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter and the publication of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots (Frederick Warne & Co., September 2016), illustrated by Quentin Blake, as well as A Celebration of Beatrix Potter, a collection of art and letters from more than 30 contemporary children’s book author/illustrators, coming to shelves in November (also Frederick Warne & Co.).

Today, I’ve got a bit of art from each book.


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Living Long and Prospering in the World of the Arts

h1 Thursday, September 15th, 2016


When I speak to children or to aspiring authors, I always advise them to listen carefully when their parents and grandparents and best friends and best friend’s parents talk about their lives. ‘Everyone has a story to tell,’ I say. ‘Just remember to write it down.’ And yet why did it never occur to me to write down Leonard’s story?”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Richard Michelson, quoted above (and pictured above, with Leonard Nimoy), about Fascinating, his new picture book biography of Leonard Nimoy (Knopf, September 2016). Illustrator Edel Rodriguez also joins us. Born in Cuba, Rodriguez (pictured right) came to America in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift and learned English from, partly, watching Star Trek with his cousins.

That Q&A is here this morning.

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Photo of Richard Michelson and Leonard Nimoy taken by Sylvia Mautner Photography and used by permission of Richard Michelson. Photo of Edel Rodriguez used by his permission.