Archive for August, 2021

Sour Cakes

h1 Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

“Can I disappear with you? …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

Sour Cakes (Owlkids, October 2021), written by Karen Krossing (her picture book debut) and illustrated by Anna Kwan, is an ode to sibling relationships and how, in particular, a sibling can lift you up when you are in the stormiest, heaviest of moods.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #758:
Featuring Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr

h1 Sunday, August 29th, 2021

“Time to play, Little Bird, time to spin across the sky.”

Little Bird’s Day, arriving in October (Blue Dot Kids Press), comes from author Sally Morgan and illustrator Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr. It’s the story of a day in the life of Little Bird — from the “rising and shining” of the Sun to the arrival of Moon, “glowing and whispering.” Both author and illustrator are Indigenous Australians: Sally belongs to the Palyku people from the eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia. Johnny is a Yolŋu artist from the Ganalbingu clan in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia, and his paintings depict both Ganalbingu songlines and his mother’s Wägilak clan stories.

This is Johnny’s picture book debut; as the winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award in 2017, he was asked to illustrated Sally’s manuscript, and this book — originally published in Australia in 2019 — was born. Read the rest of this entry �

Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens

h1 Thursday, August 26th, 2021

“In Abuela’s midnight kitchen, white tiles feel cool under my feet. Aunts and cousins and neighbors talk over each other above my head. I crunch tostones and scoop arroz and slurp flan and fall asleep at the table, my mom still laughing,
saying loud Spanish words that I don’t understand.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

You don’t have to wait too much longer now (it will release in early September) to see Elizabeth Lilly’s Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens (Neal Porter Books). This bighearted tale is one of my favorite 2021 picture books. And how about that title?

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The Midnight Club

h1 Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

Shane Goth’s The Midnight Club (Owlkids, October 2021) captures the thrills of children sneaking around a house at night when the adults are sleeping — a time when, somehow, the house they live in appears different, even magical. This is Shane’s first picture book (he also notes in the book’s jacket bio that he founded the Midnight Club at age four), and it was illustrated by Yong Ling Kang, who grew up in Singapore and now makes her home in Toronto.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #757: Featuring Lian Cho

h1 Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

Mary Lee Donovan’s A Hundred Thousand Welcomes (Greenwillow), illustrated by Lian Cho and coming to shelves in October, is like honeysuckle to a bee for young language-lovers — and also a very welcome read (excuse the bad pun) for those moments when the goings-on in the world get you down.

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The Tiny Star

h1 Thursday, August 19th, 2021

“Once upon a time, although this happens all the time, a tiny star fell to earth.”

This is the opening line of Mem Fox’s The Tiny Star (Knopf), illustrated by Freya Blackwood and originally published in Australia in 2019. It will on shelves here in the U.S. in October. A star falls to earth and, we learn at the page-turn, “turned into a baby!” As you can see, Fox is utterly matter-of-fact about this, the notion that stars regularly land on our planet and turn into humans — so matter-of-fact and plainspoken that it’s remarkably easy to accept, as unexpected as it may be to read.

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This Very Tree: A Visit with Sean Rubin

h1 Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

“My leaves gave people shade. My branches gave birds a place to rest.
And each year, I was one of the first trees to blossom.
My flowers let everyone know that spring was coming.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Sean Rubin’s This Very Tree (Henry Holt, May 2021), another 2021 picture book offering that marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, is based on, as Sean explains below, research around trauma and its treatment. Dr. Lucy Guarnera (Sean’s wife) taught him, as he notes in the book’s acknowledgments, what it would look like for the survivor tree — the Callery pear tree planted near the Towers in the 1970s, which survived the Towers’ falls — to “experience its trauma and recovery as a human would.”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #756: Featuring Bob Shea

h1 Sunday, August 15th, 2021

It’s a good day to visit Chez Bob by Bob Shea.

Bob is a very hungry alligator, but he’s also lazy. His solution? He opens a birdseed restaurant on his nose in order to attract the birds he’d like to snack on. Birdseed may be the one and only thing on the menu, but Bob does attract a visitor at Chez Bob. After that first bird tells all his friends about the new place, Bob becomes “the talk of the trees. Birds flew in from all over the world to eat on Bob’s face.”

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“Slow readers savor the story!”:
Hudson Talbott’s A Walk in the Words

h1 Friday, August 13th, 2021

“A whole page of text looked like a wall — keeping me out. By now, everyone in my class was reading book after book, except me. What if they found out that I couldn’t keep up?”
(Click spread to enlarge)

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Hudson Talbott’s A Walk in the Words (Nancy Paulsen Books, September 2021).

That review is here, and below are some more spreads from the book.


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Some Cosmic Math Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

“We’re moondust and star shine all circling the sun …”
(Click spread to enlarge)

“How the World Adds Up” is the subtitle of Susan Hood’s newest picture book, We Are One (Candlewick), illustrated by Linda Yan (her picture book debut) and coming to shelves next month. It is precisely because not a lot of our world today does seem to add up (in non-mathematical ways) that I find this book so comforting. It’s a primer on early math concepts, and it’s a reminder that we’re all connected to something larger than ourselves.

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