Archive for June, 2017

A Slice of Life

h1 Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

“Life is not always easy.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Cynthia Rylant’s Life (Beach Lane Books, June 2017), illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Brendan Wenzel.

The review is here, and I’ve got some spreads from the book here at 7-Imp today.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #540: Featuring Julia Denos

h1 Sunday, June 25th, 2017

I saw this image, created by author-illustrator Julia Denos, on Instagram this week, and I secured her permission to share it here. I like it. It makes me think of not sweating the small stuff in life. You can click on it to see the entire image in her sketchbook.

When I asked her about it, she wrote:

I’ve been really moved lately by exploring space and local nature. There is so much to learn. Finding stories in the nonfiction of stars and flowers and trees.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Amer Khan, Sameer Kulavoor, James Kwan,
Hakeem Nawaz, and Stephen Savage

h1 Friday, June 23rd, 2017

“Oh, here is Zarrar: he is ready to start the paint work, he says. …”
— From Anjum Rana’s
This Truck has Got to be Special,
illustrated by Hakeem Nawaz and Amer Khan
with illustration design by Sameer Kulavoor

(Click to enlarge spread)


“You are a boat! With your squirmy corridors that twist inside, your levers and pulleys that flex your strong muscles, and your furnace-heart that pushes you forward, tearing the sea in two. And look—rooms upon rooms in your belly! So how does it feel to be a boat? How does it feel to hold everyone in your belly-rooms?”
— From James Kwan’s
How It Feels to Be a Boat
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Stephen Savage’s Little Plane Learns to Write
(Click to enlarge spread)


Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got building bridges on the mind.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about James Kwan’s How It Feels to Be a Boat (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 2017); Stephen Savage’s Little Plane Learns to Write (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2017); and Anjum Rana’s This Truck has Got to be Special, illustrated by Hakeem Nawaz and Amer Khan (Tara, July 2017) — with illustration design by Sameer Kulavoor.

I’m following up with art today.

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My Kirkus Q&A with Dave Roman

h1 Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

It is frustrating to see how a willful ignorance is becoming almost a badge of honor for certain people. You see a lot of dismissive statements that are contrary to how science works. So, I think teaching kids that scientists work as a community of fact-checkers who never stop questioning and challenging our assumptions about the world is probably more relevant than ever.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author/illustrator Dave Roman about his work as the series editor for First Second’s Science Comics series of nonfiction graphic novels. I wanted to know, in particular, what it’s like to offer these science titles in a day and age of science-denial, which is what he addresses in the quote above.

The entire Q&A is here.

Next week, I’ll follow up with some art from the series.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Dave’s self-portrait above used by permission of First Second.

Greg Pizzoli and The Quest for Z

h1 Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

“… He plunged his knife into its flesh,
but the snake turned out to be very much still alive ….”

Over at BookPage, I talk to author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli about his newest picture book, The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon (Viking, June 2017). It’s a book that is, as I note in my review, a complex and intriguing look at a man for whom European imperialism was unsuccessful — certainly a topic rarely addressed in most K-12 curricula. That Q&A is here, and my review of the book is here.

Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve got some spreads from the book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #539: Featuring Dow Phumiruk

h1 Sunday, June 18th, 2017

It’s a pleasure to have Dow Phumiruk’s artwork here at 7-Imp today. Her illustrations for Jeanne Walker Harvey’s Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, May 2017) mark her debut in picture books.

This picture book biography starts with Maya’s childhood in “her house full of light and open spaces.” Her parents, Harvey explains, had fled China for the U.S., and her childhood was filled with art. Having been inspired as a child to study architecture one day, she studied overseas. It was during her last year of college that she entered the contest to design the Vietnam War memorial. Her design—entered anonymously, as all of the submissions were—was chosen out of 1,421 entries:

“Simple yet strong. Creative and new. But when they found out Maya was the winner, the judges were shocked. She wasn’t famous. She was a young woman still in school. …”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What
I Did Last Week, Featuring Laura Carlin and Bob Graham

h1 Friday, June 16th, 2017

— From Bob Graham’s Home in the Rain


“Just one thing reminded me of home — of sunlight, fountains, and the
vanilla smell of ice cream in my Nonna’s gelateria. …”
— From Nicola Davies’s
King of the Sky, illustrated by Laura Carlin
(Click to enlarge spread)


Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got Things That Go Vroom on the mind.

That is here.

* * *

I’m following up today with a bit of art from the books in last week’s column (here), Nicola Davies’s King of the Sky (Candlewick, May 2017), illustrated by Laura Carlin, and Bob Graham’s Home in the Rain (Candlewick, June 2017).


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The Art and Poetry of Hope Anita Smith

h1 Thursday, June 15th, 2017

(Click on image to enlarge and read the poem, “The Guitar Lesson”)

As a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with Hope Anita Smith, here are some illustrations from My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, May 2017), which she wrote and illustrated.

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A Visit to Eastern India

h1 Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Here’s a quick, but beautiful, post that takes readers to a village in eastern India, all depicted in one long piece of art, 16 pages total, that vertically drops down (and can even be hung, once you’re done, on your classroom or library wall). In A Village Is a Busy Place (Tara Books, June 2017), Patua artist Rohima Chitrakar depicts a day in the life of the Santhal people, who make up one of India’s largest indigenous communities, via the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting.

This is a book that blooms, as readers unfold it page by page. Children are asked to find details as they read and unfold the story and the village opens up for them. The artist uses bold colors, borders, and patterns to draw the reader’s eye. The text, written by V. Geetha, brings to vivid, colorful life this one community — their village feast; common space; day and night-time activities, including work and leisure; and, ultimately, their celebration of the rainy season. The book closes with a note that explains: Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #538: Featuring Matthew Cordell

h1 Sunday, June 11th, 2017

This week in the world of social media, I saw these pen-and-ink drawings done by author-illustrator Matthew Cordell, and I love them so. I asked for his permission to share them here, and voilà! Here they are. Evidently, he made these drawings while watching his daughter slayin’ it, as he put it, at a recent Matilda performance. Isn’t she fierce?

Actually, I stand corrected: It’s award-winning author-illustrator Matthew Cordell. Just last week, when the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced, Matt’s Wolf in the Snow was named an Honor book in the Picture Book category. (Here is where Matt and I chatted about it back in February.) Congrats to him! I was really happy with all those winning books.

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