Archive for September, 2016

Chris Raschka on Home at Last

h1 Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Chris: “Perhaps our best time together was on my second visit when we spent two long days side by side on her sun porch, each in our own wicker chair.
Vera drew all day, and much of the night.”

It’s a pleasure to share some thoughts and images from Chris Raschka today. Just this month, Greenwillow Books released Home at Last, written by Vera B. Williams and illustrated by Chris. This was the last book Vera worked on before her death last October. You may have seen the wonderful Horn Book cover story from the May/June issue of this year, in which Lydie Raschka, Chris’s wife, writes about their collaboration. Today, Chris shares a bit more, including some of Vera’s sketches for the book. (His paintings for the book are based on her sketches.)

The story is about a boy, adopted by two dads, and the boy’s efforts to acclimate himself to his new life. It is tender and heartbreaking but, ultimately, joyful. I thank Chris for sharing a bit about the process today. I find it fascinating to see, in particular, the early sketches and Vera’s own drawings. Let’s get right to it.

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Well, That Was Fun . . .

h1 Monday, September 12th, 2016


It was fun to be a guest on a podcast whose episodes I never ever miss. That would be the Horn Book’s (relatively new) podcast.

Thanks to Roger and Siân for having me when I was in Boston last week. You can click on the image above to hear our chat, if you’re so inclined.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #500 (!):
Featuring Carin Bramsen (Again)

h1 Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Look at that number up there. FIVE HUNDRED WEEKS of kickin’, you all! Hard to believe, isn’t it?

I think that it’s fitting that we are celebrating kicking on a day that is a sad anniversary for so many people (9/11), because the whole idea of kicking is trying your damnedest to find the light in something, even if it’s been a hard week. There are some weeks it’s even hard for me to find seven whole kicks, but I usually manage it. It’s a good little exercise, huh?

So, thank you all for kickin’ with me for so long — for meeting here every Sunday to take the time to reflect (as I type every week) 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. (Thanks to Eisha, who founded the blog with me, for that wording.) I’m re-posting this image from Carin Bramsen. As I note on this page of my site, where I explain what 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks are, kicks kind of make you feel like the children in that image do, even if you’re not wearing a tutu on your head.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Francesca Sanna

h1 Friday, September 9th, 2016

“I live with my family in a city close to the sea. Every summer we used to spend many weekends at the beach. But we never go there anymore, because last year,
our lives changed forever …”

(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got Beatrix Potter on the mind. That is here.

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Since I wrote here last week about Francesca Sanna’s The Journey (Flying Eye Books, September 2016), I am following up with some art from it today.

[Please note: Some of the colors in these illustrations are a bit off when you enlarge them, but I did my best.]

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Seven Questions Over a
Post-Dinner Snack with Torben Kuhlmann

h1 Monday, September 5th, 2016

When German illustrator Torben Kuhlmann’s debut picture book, Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, was released here in the States two years ago, the New York Times described it as a “splendid debut.” Last year, Kuhlmann followed that up with Moletown, also met with glowing reviews (“gorgeous, mesmerizing artwork,” wrote Booklist), and this month readers will meet a star-gazing mouse in Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon, a visual feast over 120 pages long, which tells the story of a moon-bound mouse.

Kuhlmann studied illustration and design in Hamburg and still lives in northern Germany. It’s thanks to NorthSouth Books that we readers here in the States can see his books. Since I’ll be traveling tomorrow morning, he’s joining me, not for breakfast, but a post-dinner snack. (He said his breakfasts almost always consist of a hot cup of coffee and several kinds of bread with jam, so I’m good with having that for our snack. Coffee any time is good. Also, jam. Always jam.)

It’s a good thing to see all his art, and I thank him for sharing. Let’s get right to it.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #499: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jessica Boehman

h1 Sunday, September 4th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means it’s time to feature a student or up-and-coming illustrator. Today, Jessica Boehman visits, and I’ve actually wanted her to visit for a long while now, but … well, it gets busy in 7-Imp Land. I’m glad she’s finally here.

Jessica also teaches art (and art history) in New York, but she talks more about that below. It’s a pleasure to feature her art today, which manages to be both fresh and timeless. Let’s get right to it, since she also tells us a bit about her work. Please note that you can see more of her art at her site, at Facebook, and on Instagram.

I thank her for visiting.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What
I Did Last Week, Featuring Kate Beaton and Vera Brosgol

h1 Friday, September 2nd, 2016


(Click to enlarge)

Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at Francesca Sanna’s The Journey (Flying Eye, September 2016). That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Kate Beaton’s King Baby (Levine/Scholastic, September 2016) and Vera Brosgol’s Leave Me Alone! (Roaring Brook, September 2016). I’ve got art from each book here today.


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Jen Bryant on Six Dots

h1 Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Every narrative is the culmination of a lot of experimentation. For this story, I did know that I wanted readers to feel as if they were experiencing a lot of what Louis was going through as he lost his sight and grappled with what the rest of his life would become because of that.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Jen Bryant, pictured here, about her new picture book, Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille (Knopf, September 2016), illustrated by Boris Kulikov.

That is here this morning. You can see art from the book at this 7-Imp post from earlier this year.

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Photo of Jen taken by Amy Dragoo and used by her permission.