Archive for September, 2020

Sending You Elsewhere …

h1 Thursday, September 24th, 2020


I’m sending you over to the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott today.

Last week, we posted a brief chat I had with the 2020 Caldecott Medalist Kadir Nelson, pictured left. If you’re interested in finding out what his Caldecott year has been like that, that Q&A is here.

We have also kicked off our book coverage over there. One book we covered this week is Lesa Cline-Ransome’s and James Ransome’s The Overground Railroad, pictured above. It’s a book I didn’t write about here at 7-Imp this year—but one I really like. So, I’m going to send you over to read Nicholl Montgomery’s thoughs on the book. That is here.

To keep up with all of our other posts there this year, you can always head right to the blog at this link.

See you there!

* * * * * * *

Photo of Kadir Nelson taken by David Walter Banks and used by permisson of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Jashar Awan’s What a Lucky Day!

h1 Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Debut author-illustrator Jashar Awan’s What a Lucky Day! (Norton Young Readers), coming to shelves next month, is a book about assumptions. We all know the old saying about the act of assuming. Awan’s story is a much more eloquent—and entertaining—take on the whole matter.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #709: In Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

h1 Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Hello, dear Imps. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was saying that I had plans for a Sunday post that I was temporarily setting aside so that I could mark the death of an American luminary. I’d like to do this again. I’m taking this space here today, given the news of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to mark this profound loss.

On social media, I noticed that various children’s book illustrators were paying tribute—with either previous illustrations of Ginsburg or ones they’d drawn on the spot when they heard the sad news this weekend. I’m sharing some of those here today. (I know there must be many, many more, but here is just a small handful.)

Pictured above is a painting from illustrator Rahele Jomepour Bell, who says this is “the piece of her I made while I was thinking about her.” Here are some more tributes. …

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A Chapter 16 (and 7-Imp) Visit with David Wiesner

h1 Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Early sketch of Cathy


— A final illustration from Robobaby
(Click image to see spread in its entirety)

Over at Chapter 16, I have a Q&A with author-illustrator David Wiesner. He and I chatted via phone recently about his career; his newest picture book, Robobaby; and more. That Q&A is here.

But also! Here at 7-Imp, David gives us a deep dive into the making of Robobaby. That is below, should you be interested in that after reading the Chapter 16 piece.

I thank him for sharing.

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The Old Woman

h1 Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

“The old woman stopped to watch a crow fly past. The dog looked up, too.
What would it feel like to fly? she thought. She imagined wings spread,
gliding on wind currents. She teetered a bit just thinking about it.
To have a bird’s-eye view, now that would be something.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Joanne Schwartz’s The Old Woman (Groundwood), illustrated by Nahid Kazemi and coming to shelves at the end of this month, is the remarkably gentle and quiet story of just what the title tells you—an old woman. She lives alone with her “scruffy old dog,” and she takes walks with him, marveling at the natural world around her. She’s not on the verge of death, and she doesn’t lose her dog (to the woods by her home or to death). If you were to summarize this, you’d say that it’s about a woman near the end of her life who appreciates her life. That’s about it, plot-wise, but so much more is going on. And I can hear people now saying that children won’t want to read such a story. But I think there are child readers out there for whom this thoughtful story will surely resonate.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #708: Featuring Ben Hatke

h1 Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Julia’s back!

Remember Ben Hatke’s introduction to Julia in 2014’s Julia’s House for Lost Creatures? (I wrote about it here, and Ben shared some art and preliminary artwork here.) She will return later this month in Julia’s House Moves On (First Second), and her fans will be delighted.

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My BookPage Q&A with Denene Millner

h1 Thursday, September 10th, 2020


Over at BookPage, I had the pleasure of talking with publisher, author, and journalist Denene Millner about her work. Earlier this year, she moved her imprint, Denene Millner Books, to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Denene talks about the challenges of launching an imprint during a pandemic and a “modern-day civil rights movement”; about wanting books about Black joy over Black struggle; how she finds talent; what’s on her publishing wish list; and more.

Click the above image to head to BookPage to read the Q&A.

Evan Turk’s A Thousand Glass Flowers

h1 Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Preliminary painting
(Click to enlarge)


Final spread: “In stunned silence she watched as her father
continued to perform his miracles.”

(Click to enlarge spread and see text in its entirety)

I’ve a review over at the Horn Book of Evan Turk’s A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead (Atheneum, August 2020), the story of the fifteenth-century Venetian glass artist. That review is here, and below are some final spreads from this beautiful book.

Evan also shares some preliminary images below, including sketches from his travels to research the book. You can click here to read about the making of this book. (It’s a link to the book’s backmatter.)

I thank Evan for sharing. I could stare at his sketches all day.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #707: Featuring Rachelle Baker

h1 Sunday, September 6th, 2020

“Some words, when they CONNECT with the right people, become almost like potions or spells. These words become magical. That’s the way it was with Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and verbs. She understood, almost intuitively, how and why verbs are not just words about being, but doing. Verbs are words that move the world forward.”

Let’s take a look today at a new picture book about politician Shirley Chisholm, who made history in 1968 by becoming the first black woman elected to the United States Congress. This biography—Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb! (Dial, July 2020), illustrated by Rachelle Baker—comes from author Veronica Chambers, who writes in a closing “personal note” that, as a child growing up in Brooklyn, she remembers seeing posters (“SHIRLEY CHISHOLM FOR CONGRESS”) in her neighborhood. She writes that “because of Shirley Chisholm, I thought, ‘I could be a congresswoman.’ After all, I passed a picture of a woman who looked a lot like me, who had that job.”

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My Chapter 16 Q&A with Renée Watson

h1 Thursday, September 3rd, 2020


I had the pleasure once again of interviewing author Renée Watson. We chat over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16. Renée will speak at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books (a Nashville event that will be virtual this year). She will be in conversation with Meg Medina on October 8; see the full festival schedule here.

She and I discuss Ways to Make Sunshine, illustrated by artist Nina Mata; the future of the I, Too Arts Collective; Portland; her hopes for children’s book publishing today; and more.

That interview is here.