Archive for January, 2017

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with David Soman

h1 Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Author-illustrator David Soman visits 7-Imp this morning for a cyber breakfast and gives just the right answer to my question about what he would like to have on our cyber-table. “Coffee,” he says. “Coffee and blueberry banana pancakes. With coffee. Sweet Sue’s, a great breakfast joint in somewhat nearby Phoenecia, New York, calls blueberry banana pancakes ‘blue monkeys,’ which is what we call them at home. I love them on the weekends. With coffee. Did I mention coffee?”

Coffee it is, and I’m pleased to say that David shares a whole bunch of art and preliminary images today. Pictured above is an illustration from last year’s The Monster Next Door, released by Dial in September. David both wrote and illustrated this one, though he’s most well-known for the series on which he collaborates with his wife, author Jacky Davis — the bestselling Ladybug Girl series. (If I’m counting correctly there have been over 20 sequels to the opener in the series, Ladybug Girl, published in 2008.) Let us also not forget 2014’s beautiful Three Bears in a Boat, one of my favorite picture books from that year.

But David’s first illustrated picture book, written by Angela Johnson, was published in 1989. He’s been making picture books for a while, in other words, and so it’s a pleasure to talk to him today about his work, his technique, his teaching, and much more. Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting today.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #519: Featuring
Marsha Diane Arnold and Renata Liwska

h1 Sunday, January 29th, 2017


“until …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’m taking a moment this morning to highlight one more 2016 picture book, Marsha Diane Arnold’s Waiting for Snow (Houghton Mifflin, November 2016), illustrated by Renata Liwska. (This title is fitting, given we get very little snow here in the South.)

Marsha visits today to talk about this tender, endearing story and what’s next for her. She titled what you will see from her below “Lessons in Patience,” which is also a fitting way to summarize this book. In it, Badger makes it loud and clear that he’s tired of waiting for the snow to come, despite the more philosophically-bent Hedgehog reminding him in more ways than one that “it will snow in snow’s time,” just as the crocuses always bloom in their own time every Spring. All Badger has to do is wait, but that’s easier said than done.

Let’s hear more from Marsha about the book, and I’m peppering the post with some of Renata’s beautiful spreads — and even an early sketch or two.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus
What I Did Last Week, Featuring Anastasia Higginbotham

h1 Friday, January 27th, 2017

“We don’t get to keep everyone we love who has ever lived.”
— From
Death Is Stupid


“It’s in your nature to want to know. …”
— From
Tell Me About Sex, Grandma
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got marching and protesting (and children’s books, of course) on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about two books in Anastasia Higginbotham’s Ordinary Terrible Things seriesDeath Is Stupid, released last year, and Tell Me About Sex, Grandma, coming to shelves in April of this year. (Both books are from Feminist Press.)

I’m following up with some spreads from each book today.

Until Sunday …

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First Ladies with Matt Faulkner

h1 Thursday, January 26th, 2017

“Carrie Harrison lived at the White House when electric lights were first installed there—and she was scared she’d get zapped by the switches. …”

Last week at Kirkus, I talked here to both author Ruby Shamir and illustrator Matt Faulkner about What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, released this month by Philomel. Today, I’m following up with some spreads from the book.


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The Land of Nod with Robert Hunter

h1 Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

“But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

A classic children’s poem by Robert Louis Stevenson is given new life in this picture book adaptation, illustrated by London-based illustrator Robert Frank Hunter.

The Land of Nod (Flying Eye Books) will arrive on shelves next month. In the illustrations, Hunter gives a young boy, the one who nightly visits the dream-world of Nod, a leg cast and set of crutches. The boy looks longingly out the window at children playing, but since he can’t join them, he retreats into the world of his imagination at night. His dreamscape is populated by the items in his bedroom and the rest of his home, all of them mammoth in size and the playground of his adventures. In one spread showing his entrance into the Land of Nod, he leaps across so many spectral items in his home — a chair, books, a piece of furniture, a vase. They form an otherwordly bridge of sorts, one awash in the cool blues of night. The toys on his bed join him on his surreal adventure. The mundane becomes the fantastical here. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #518, the I’m-at-Midwinter Edition

h1 Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Dearest Imps, I should probably apologize that two Sundays in a row now I’ve had no art for you (though I DO HAVE KICKS TODAY!). Last week I was down for the count with some sort of cold/flu/heaven-only-knows-what, and this weekend I’m at ALA Midwinter. I’m typing this on Thursday night, as I’m leaving Friday and will be there until the big awards announcements on Monday.

I’ll be moderating a picture book panel discussion on Saturday, which will be fun. I’m also awfully excited that, for the first time, I’ll get to be in the room where the awards are announced. I always watch the live webcast from home every year, so this will be a blast. Best of all, a friend gave me some badges for my family to be able to join me at (some of) the conference, so my daughters, who are big readers, will get to see the exhibit floor (with ALL THE BOOKS SO MANY BOOKS), as well as hear the awards announcements with me.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Nikki Grimes, Frank Morrison, Brian Pinkney,
James Ransome, & Shadra Strickland

h1 Friday, January 20th, 2017

Illustration by Shadra Strickland: “Son, it is all too easy to let /
this world’s bullies puncture your / pride …”

(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got two new picture books that aren’t afraid to speak frankly to children. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Nikki Grimes’s One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance (Bloomsbury, January 2017). Here today at 7-Imp, I’ve got a selection of illustrations from the book.


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Putting First Ladies First

h1 Thursday, January 19th, 2017


I’ve got an interview over at Kirkus today with Ruby Shamir and Matt Faulkner, the author and illustrator of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, released this month by Philomel. We talk about leaving the book’s final page empty until the election results came in, what surprising things they learned in their research, and much more.

That is here. I’ll have more art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FIRST LADIES. Copyright © 2017 by Ruby Shamir. Illustrations © 2017 by Matt Faulkner and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Philomel Books, New York.

Some Art That Fell Through the Cracks,
Featuring Martin Brown, Kaya Doi, & Alessandro Sanna

h1 Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

— Some acorn coffee from Kaya Doi’s Chirri & Chirra


— A dusky dolphin says hello to a southern right whale dolphin in
Martin Brown’s
Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of


— From Alessandro Sanna’s Pinocchio: The Origin Story


That post title was going to be “Some Art That Fell Through the Cracks of the Holidays,” but something about that sounds a bit obscene.

About four weeks ago, I guess it was, I wrote here over at Kirkus about My Children’s Book Ghost File, or a handful of books I wish I had written about last year during their time of publication. Better late than never, right?

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Interrupting the Regularly Scheduled Programming …

h1 Sunday, January 15th, 2017

This may be the first Sunday ever in the blog’s history that I don’t have art to show you, but I’m under the weather and being vertical and at a computer is not good. So, I’ve no art (well, I had some planned, promise), and I’ve no kicks. I’m going to go lie down again. Do tell me your kicks. They will be cheery to read.

[As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect 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. New kickers are always welcome.]