Archive for April, 2018

My Kirkus Q&A with Matt James

h1 Thursday, April 12th, 2018

I want Norma to show that these moments can hit us all differently and that there is a serious complexity to the way we all process something like death — in this case, the death of a distant relative.

The truth is, though, that this book came into being because I had a chance to observe my kids in situations that were more or less the same as the ones that Norma and Ray find themselves in. Mix in a fair amount of recollection — I remember my first funeral vividly, especially the fact that I felt really guilty for not being sad enough — and a little bit of invention, and you get The Funeral.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with Canadian illustrator Matt James, pictured here. His newest picture book, The Funeral (Groundwood, April 2018), is the first one he’s both illustrated and written.

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with more art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

Juana Martinez-Neal on
Alma and How She Got Her Name

h1 Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

“‘I love books and flowers . . . and you, too, Daddy!'”
(Click to enlarge spread)

It’s such a pleasure to have author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal visit 7-Imp today to talk about her new picture book, Alma and How She Got Her Name, which is publishing simultaneously in both Spanish and English (Candlewick) this week. Juana, fresh on the heels of winning a 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for Susan Middleton Elya’s La Princesa and the Pea, was born in Peru and is the daughter and granddaughter of painters. (She discusses this below.) Now living in Arizona, she sees with this book her debut as an author.

And what a book it is, this story of one girl, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela; her very long name; and what she learns from her father about that name and her family heritage. It’s a book celebrating cultural identity in specific ways while, simultaneously, inviting children, no matter where they’re from, to consider their own family stories. Its distinctive palette (which Juana also discusses below), soft and endearing illustrations, and beautiful lettering make it sing. It’s a beauty, this one, with inviting, uncluttered spreads and a protagonist whose charms will draw in readers (particularly, preschool-aged ones, those more likely being read to) like a magnet.

I thank Juana for visiting 7-Imp today to share lots of art (including the art of her father and grandfather) and to talk about the book. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #581: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Genevieve Irwin

h1 Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Morning Ride
(Click to enlarge)

It’s not the first Sunday of the month, which is when I tend to feature student or newly-graduated illustrators, but sometimes I just like to break the rules.

Today, I’ve got the work of a newly-graduated illustrator to showcase, and I’m happy she’s visiting. Genevieve Irwin lives and works in New York and did her senior thesis with none other than Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca. She tells us below a bit about her work and, lucky for me and my blog readers, shares some art. I thank her for sharing. Let’s get right to it. …

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Sarah Jacoby, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline

h1 Friday, April 6th, 2018

— From Ian Lendler’s One Day a Dot,
illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb


“Can we stay longer?”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got two Spring reads on the mind.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Sarah Jacoby’s Forever or a Day (Chronicle, March 2018), as well as Ian Lendler’s One Day a Dot, illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb (First Second, April 2018). I’m following up with art from each book today.


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A Moment with the Art of Qin Leng

h1 Thursday, April 5th, 2018

I’m following up my Kirkus Q&A last week with illustrator Qin Leng — which was here, if you missed it — with some of her illustrations from Jessica Scott Kerrin’s The Better Tree Fort (Groundwood, March 2018).


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #580: Featuring Rowboat Watkins

h1 Sunday, April 1st, 2018

“Once upon a time, there was a BIG BUNNY.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote a bit about Rowboat Watkins’ newest picture book, Big Bunny (Chronicle Books, April 2018). That is at the end of this column, if you want to read more about the book.

Today, I’m following up with some art from the book, and Rowboat has also sent some preliminary sketches (for which I thank him). I mean it when I say that it didn’t occur to me till after I decided to post this today that I’m posting bunny images on Easter day. Well, now. Didn’t even plan it, but it worked out well. If any bunnies are gonna appear here today, I’m glad it’s Big Bunny.

Let’s get to it. …

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