7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #46: Featuring Doug Chayka

h1 January 20th, 2008 by jules

Jules: Welcome to our weekly 7 Kicks list, the meeting ground for listing 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.

This week we’re happy to be featuring the art work of illustrator Doug Chayka, whose critically-acclaimed illustrated books are listed here and whose most recent title is the Cybils-shortlisted Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2007). The above illustration is from this title, a poignant tale of courage about two girls in a Pakistani refugee camp who share a pair of sandals that begins a friendship. The book was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. Here’s another one of Mr. Chayka’s beautiful acrylic illustrations from this title, the final illustration in the book:

“In Four Feet, Two Sandals,” Doug told us, “I wanted the warm, dry color palette of the bare landscape to contrast with the accents of brightly colored clothing and the patterns of the makeshift tents. I think this contrast helps underline the difficult conditions in which the refugees of this vibrant culture are forced to live. An interesting setting is enough to get me really excited about illustrating a story, but the attention that Four Feet brings to the issue of refugees, especially children, impacted by the war in the middle east is the important aspect of the book. I was glad to be a part of it. And it was great to see the book make it on the Cybils’ shortlist!”

Fortunately for us all, Doug directed us to — and gave us permission to post — some illustrations from a new self-published book of drawings as well, entitled SPREE (above and to the left is an illustration from it, and the cover’s on the right). Here’s what Doug had to say about it:

The summer of 2006 was the first time I was able to get back to Berlin and spend a longer period of time there since studying painting and printmaking there on a Fulbright scholarship from 2000-2002. I made about 1,000 drawings over three months, then spent the winter back in Brooklyn editing and combining them into a 340-page book that I called SPREE (the Spree River runs through the city). I’m exhibiting the book and prints from the book at New York University’s Deutsches Haus from Dec. 1 to Jan. 25, 2008.

Doug’s site further describes this collection of drawings in this way: “These fragments, impressions and meditations build to create a free-flow of images that capture the highs, lows and in-betweens of summer in the city.” Below is a picture of the big wallpaper installation of many of the SPREE drawings from the aforementioned exhibition at Deutsches Haus.

Neat, huh? What is Doug working on now? you may wonder. “Right now, I’m just getting started illustrating a new children’s picture book set in Spain during the 1500s. It’s going to be fun! I also have a small series of paintings coming out in Cricket Magazine in March illustrating a story called ‘The Mummy Tent’ that is set in ancient Egypt, written by Kimberly Griffiths Little.”

Eisha and I thank Doug for stopping by and sharing his art work with us. If you’re interested in even more of his work, his blog — which can keep you up-to-date on events and new projects — is here (check out his latest illustration for The Nation. Wow).

Thanks, Doug!

* * * * * * * eisha’s kicks * * * * * * *

1* My sister’s laptop arrived by mail, so I’m all ‘netified again. She even left a bunch of pics and tunes on it for me, and the desktop has a big ol’ picture of the two of us from Christmas. Sweetie.

2* The husband and I finally, FINALLY found a rug we agree on for the living room. Seriously, people – you have no idea how big a deal this is. It was even cheap! Which is good, ’cause it was smaller than we wanted, so we ended up getting two.

3* My temp job at Cornell has led to another temp job at Cornell – the manager of the department where I’m working found out about another opening, and passed my resume along.

4* And it turns out Cornell is paying me quite a bit more than I’ve made at previous temp jobs. Hence the fit of rug-buying.

5* We don’t really have room for a freestanding coat rack in this apartment, but it’s Ithaca, so obviously we need somewhere to hang coats. We went to an architectural salvage place today to look for something else, but came out with a piece of baseboard and a bunch of old doorknobs, and the husband is going to make us a coat-hanging-thingy to go on the wall. I think it’s going to be awesome.

Coyote Road6* I’ve been reading The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, a collection by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow that I picked up at that Kidlit Conference in Chicago in October, but hadn’t had time to read before now. It’s got some great stories, and it is still so awesome to be reading stuff with magic in it after all that teen-angst realism.

7* A new Japanese restaurant opened up in town at the first of the year, and they’ve had a special running all month: 30% off everything. We got delivery last weekend, and we’re doing it again tonight. They have excellent vegetable gyoza, and B. loves the Godzilla tempura roll. Mmm.

* * * * * * * Jules’ kicks * * * * * * *

Well, I was in a foul mood all week (poor Eisha got an earful from me, but, hey, what are best friends for? Oh, and I thank her for listening). BUT, two random lovely things happened to me. And those two things managed to eradicate said mood and make me go, now, what was I so irritated about? And why did it matter? And those two things would be Kick Number One and Kick Number Two:

1). My brother, whom I adore, sent me an email just to tell me he loves me, and he totally. wrote. me. a. poem. A beautiful poem. Just for me. The poem part is noteworthy, ’cause he is very left-brained, type-A, normally rather reticent, and an electrical engineer, who has always claimed to be uncreative. This email came out of the freakin’ blue (well, it was sparked by the fact that my family and I were, as I mentioned before, in an almost-wreck on the interstate during the holidays, a kind of almost-wreck — as in, spinning around in circles in the middle of the interstate — whose results could have been very grim, indeed, but apparently we had some kind of force field around us that day). Just to tell me he loves me. Just to make sure I know. Now, I ask you, my friends: Does it get any better than that?

It’s a great poem. He’s a talented writer.

2). Another blogger emailed me and Eisha to thank us for something. And what he thanked me for was a surprise, indeed — something I was happy to do but didn’t even realize I was doing. That email was a real kick to read.

3). Okay, normally, this would trump everything else, but kicks number one and two will have to reign (kick number one will not likely get topped for a long, long time — if ever):

Sam Phillips. “Don’t Do Anything.” New CD. I only have to wait 37 more days for it (I think. The release date keeps getting moved around). Please understand, when a new Sam CD comes out, the world stops for me. I do nothing else but listen to the CD. Repeatedly. It’s quite possible I could stop posting at 7-Imp for, like, a month, but I’ll try to make sure that doesn’t happen. And that my children get attended to. And all that.

4). My husband and girls and I had brunch yesterday with one of my best friends (who’s pregnant! It’s a boy, I tell ya! A boy!) and her husband and an old high school friend, whom I hadn’t seen in yeeeeears, and his partner. Much fun was had, especially when we started reminiscing about high school. If Wes is reading this: God, I’ve missed you, and it was so fun to see you. And to Ritchie I simply say: Puddin’. You’re puddin’.

5). There’s a new web site for Hop! Plop! by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Tali Klein, and Olivier Dunrea (which I reviewed here in ’06). Love that book. What a pretty site. And I just now one-second-ago noticed (after I decided to list this as a kick, cross my heart and hope to die) that they have listed 7-Imp as a favorite children’s lit blog. Aw shucks. Thanks. We’re flattered.

6). The ALA award announcements from this week. Go, Hugo! Go, Mo! Go, Stephanie Hemphill and Sean Qualls and R. Gregory Christie (that last one is more of a mouthful, but they’re all well-deserved)! Now, Kelly Fineman pointed out that the day those awards were announced was a great day for poetry. To that I say, word! And then I say woo! And then I add a hoo! But I got’ta’thinkin’ today about how it was also a good day for books about deafness or American Sign Language, and as someone who has a degree in sign language interpreting, worked in that field for a good, long while, and whose most recent job was librarian at a school for the deaf, I yell another woo! hoo! There’s Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson; Kami and the Yaks by Andrea Stenn Stryer and illustrated by Bert Dodson; and Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby. Did I miss anything? Does Reaching for the Sun have sign language in it? Sadly, I haven’t read a single one of these titles, but they’re all in my very tall to-be-read pile.

Add to that the fact that one of the authors of Four Feet, Two Sandals, Karen Lynn Williams, has her Master’s degree in Deaf Education. And so does Corey Rosen Schwartz, co-author of Hop! Plop!. See? The rest of the world just needs to learn American Sign Language.

P.S. Anyone else notice that The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity, which we featured here recently, was awarded a Batchelder Honor? Congratulations to Milkweed! And one more P.S.: Don’t miss this post from MotherReader this week.

7). Laser cats 2.

Thanks for stopping by. What are your kicks this week?

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16 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #46: Featuring Doug Chayka”

  1. Eisha – when you get to the last story in Coyote by Kij Johnson you are going to love it. What an intense tale – really really amazing.

    It was an okay week for me – lots of getting paperwork together for taxes (oh the joy of being a small business that operates in multiple states…sigh) and other boring but necessary items. I did read The Conjurer’s Bird by Martin Davies and LOVED it. I’ll post on today – can’t recommend it enough.

    I’m glad you got poetry Jules. My bro is also amazing; he’s one of the dearest hearts I’ve ever known.


  2. Eisha, hooray for being “netified” and a new rug. Jules, a brother who writes a poem for you, what a treasure. I watched “Laser Cats 2″ Funny!
    Here are my kicks for the week:
    1. Realizing yesterday that MaryLee gave me a shout out on her post “To the Ends of the EArth Award”. I had no idea.
    2. My friend and colleague, Peggy, who is participating in Parade’s America’s Giving Challenge. If her charity (Faconi Anemia Research Fund) is in the top four donors, an additional $50,000 will be awarded to the charity. Readi about it at my post:http://maclibrary.edublogs.org/2008/01/13/pay-it-forward/
    3. A two hour late start that gave me time to write on my blog. I wrote twice this week.
    4. A sucessful taping of a lesson for national boards.
    5. Recieving books for the poetry CYBILS Award.
    6. The flourless chocolate cake I made was yummy.
    5. Dancing around a Winnie-the -Pooh snowglobe with my 2 year old grand daugther last night.
    Have a fabulous week.


  3. Jules: A poem is a wonderful gift.
    Eisha: I’m so glad to see you back around!

    My seven:

    1. I got my contributor copies of Write Your Own Poetry, which has my poem on page 41.

    2. My poem “Football Season” is in the current issue of the Eastern PA SCBWI newsletter (online).

    3. I’ve actually gotten some purely recreational reading done – huzzah!

    4. M is getting over her pneumonia.

    5. I haven’t maimed my husband, even though he richly deserves it for inviting “the houseguest who wouldn’t leave” to come stay here.

    6. I saw friends make ALA lists this week, and that was great!

    7. MLK day is tomorrow.


  4. I love this week’s illustrations, per usual. I love the flowers best.

    Eisha, Yay to being on the Internets again, and also the rug.

    Jules, Yay to feeling better.

    My kicks:
    1. I got on a plane on Tuesday, flew to Las Vegas, and then drove four hours across the desert to visit friends who moved to California in September.
    2. My friends in California spoiled me rotten. They fed me and they took me fun places and we talked and talked and talked.
    3. On Wednesday, I drove back to Las Vegas, where my aunt lives.
    4. My aunt and uncle have been spoiling me rotten. I have coffee every morning and I go for walks in the sunshine and we talk and talk and talk.
    5. I have other family here, too, and a great big bunch of us got together for lasagne and sauce on Friday night. Good times.
    6. The mountains around Las Vegas are so, so, so beautiful.
    7. Last night, my aunt and I went to see Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay. The show was light and fun, and it’s always exciting to be down on the strip at night.
    7.5. They featured my book in the local newspaper at home today. The reporter contacted me last week, and I think it’s just really cool that they’re paying any attention to it. I feel all “aw shucks” about it.


  5. Eisha, I can understand the joy of finding a rug that you both like! And I’m glad you’re back full-time on the net.

    Jules, thanks for the laser cat link!

    Jone, any week that has yummy chocolate cake in it has to be a good one.

    Good luck with the non-maiming, Kelly. Hope you think of a (pacifist) way of getting rid of the houseguest!

    My list:

    1. I went to Edinburgh and Aberdeen for work last week, and had a great time! Instead of travelling alone for the whole time (which I generally do and enjoy) I met with colleagues, which meant lots of interesting conversation and fun.
    2. We visited a wetland reserve and I saw lots of cool new birds, such as pink-footed (feeted?) geese, wild greylag geese, whooper swans, a sparrow-hawk chasing some sparrows (nice to see it behaving appropriately!) and a hen harrier at close quarters.
    3. I totally rocked at the dice game (perudo) that we played on the train home
    4. My BFF in Australia moved into a house with a landline, which meant I could call her this morning and talk for as long as we wanted without worrying about the cost (we have this cool unlimited calls to Australian landlines plan).
    5. I went a for a guided walk on a local reserve that has an iron-age fort, and got to hold a flint knife that’s thousands of years old.
    6. Snowdrops are started to come out. And they are even prettier in real life than I imagined!
    7. I finally got around to doing some chores that have been overdue, since, oh, we moved here in August. (Of course had I known about the Nerdfighter gathering organised in London by Maureen Johnson yesterday I COULD HAVE GONE TO THAT INSTEAD. Pshaw. How could meeting a great author and a bunch of cool people compare to the joys of changing addresses on bills?)


  6. Hi Jules and Eisha! Thanks for posting your kicks. Hip hip hurrah for the new Sam Phillips album. Jules was the one who called Sam Phillips to my attention, and the Raising Sand album with a cover of “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” is what got me interested. I’m currently working on the chords to “Sister Rosetta,” thanks to my guitar teacher. By the way, it’s worth checking out the real Sister Rosetta’s songs, too.

    My kicks:
    1) The aforementioned chords for “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us”
    2) Working on edits for my daughter’s school auction catalog. I want to be useful, but in ways that actually require my skills.
    3) I’m sick (that’s bad!) but my husband just took my daughter off to church, so as soon as I finish these kicks, I’m crawling back into bed.
    4) Minh Le’s recent contribution to “Children’s Books That Never Were.”
    5) My husband and I went on an actual date last night, and even though the movie was sold out, we found a restaurant where we could actually talk about things besides parenting.
    6) My new iPod is still a kick.
    7) I ordered via international mail the Omnibus of Science Fiction book that Neil Gaiman mentioned on his blog. It’s for my husband’s birthday (next Sunday), and something I think he’ll really appreciate but not expect at all.

    That’s all! Off I go.


  7. I think I broke your blog by putting in a list with lots of links (too lazy to take them out from my blog) – should I repost without them or is the comment lurking around here?


  8. Thanks for the feature on Doug Chayka. I’m thinking I would like (oh yes!), a wall full of drawings, too :) .

    The poem from your brother is SO sweet and wonderful and awesome, Jules. Great to hear that Eisha is taking Cornell by storm. Hee! Picturing her snug as a bug in those rugs with her hubby and godzilla tempura rolls!

    It was a pretty cool week. My kicks:

    1. First snowfall of the year. I love to see the animal tracks in new fallen snow. Spotted five deer nosing around for food. (We don’t mind them eating our bushes.)

    2. Finished SPANKING SHAKESPEARE (on Jules’ recommendation). Poignant and funny!

    3. Loved three original poems posted on Poetry Friday, a villanelle by Liz Scanlon, a bathtub poem by Kelly Fineman, and a cento by Mother Reader.

    4. Thrilled to hear Barbara O’Connor’s HOW TO STEAL A DOG is being made into a movie!! Yay, Barbara!

    5. Happy for all the ALA award winners. TRACKING TRASH by Loree Griffin Burns is an ALA Notable Book!

    6. Just received my library copies of STORY OF A GIRL and LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL. Been wanting to read these for awhile.

    7. Laura Vaccaro Seeger is visiting my blog in March (Egg Month), to talk about her Caldecott and Geisel honor awards book, FIRST THE EGG, and her newest Dog and Bear book.


  9. Colleen, good luck with your taxes. That can’t be fun. I can’t even get excited about our tax return, as it will have to go toward bills. But at least it will help reduce them a bit.

    Jone, how sad for your friend, but thanks for sending us to that link. And when will those boards be over?

    Congrats, Kelly, on your first two kicks, in particular. I read about them on your blog last night. Wahoo!

    Adrienne, so glad you had a good trip. Awesomeness. And your last kick (congrats!) reminded me that I totally want to tell my two local children’s librarians about your book.

    Emmaco, I released your kicks from the spam-catcher. I’m glad you and Jone watched Laser Cats. I’m sorry, it’s ridiculously funny to me. The first one is funny, too (you can easily find it online, I’m sure), but it has Lindsey Lohan and not Jake Gyllenhaal (sp?) playing evil Dr. Scientist, which is just too funny.

    And what a great trip it sounds like you had!

    Alkelda, yes, I posted a YouTube video one week (here’s the link) of Sister Rosetta singin’ and wailing on her guitar, circa early-’60s. I’m sorry you’re sick (blah), but I hope you get lots of rest. And, hey, what movie did you see?

    Jama, man, it sounds like I missed some great Poetry Friday posts. I’m so behind on blog-reading. And congrats on the Seeger visit. Hoo boy, I can’t wait to read that. Every time I read one of her books, I wish I were that brilliant. Oh, and glad you liked Spanking Shakespeare. Another blogger who read it emailed me (instead of commenting) with some praise for the book but then some really thought-provoking critical analysis of it, too, that made me go, huh, yup. Never thought of it that way. I love it when people gab books with me like that.

    Enjoy that snow, Jama. Boy howdy, do I want some for my almost-four-year-old to see, but we’ve had none yet here in Tennessee.


  10. I mail off my portfolio around March 25 and then will take a 3 hour assessment in April/May. I find it interesting that the two leading charities above the Faconi Anemia Research Fund is about saving animals. Love my animals so much and feel for the poor abandoned ones, that said, I do think that a charity that is supporting research into a rare and little known disease deserves to be in the top four and win some money for research. Will be putting up an new post on it today.


  11. Seven kicks from the past seven days:
    * Various book-related conversations at work, especially those regarding an extremely reluctant reader who is actively reading and enjoying a book I gave him
    * Visits from the book fairy (which allowed me to read some AMAZING books this week that aren’t out yet)
    * Visits to the library
    * Singing at a recording studio on Tuesday
    * The readergirlz chat with Kirby Larson on Thursday
    * Pretty weather accompanying me on my walks yesterday and today
    * Obtaining $41 worth of groceries (20 items) for $5.10 – which I then paid by gift card, and I STILL have money left on the card

    eisha – Yay for your sister. Yay for your next job. Yay for your creative husband.

    Jules – Yay for your brother. Yay for grateful people. Congrats to your friend and her family. Reaching for Sun is amazing. No ASL there, though. I’m glad that the Laser Cats aren’t evil.

    I’m still waiting for Four Feet, Two Sandals to come in at the library for me. Hurrah for the forthcoming Ancient Egypt story! Lovely wallpaper layout.

    Congrats to everyone who had happy kicks about work, travels, and friends. Pay it forward seems to be the theme, and it’s a great theme.


  12. Eisha — I love rugs. Ours is checkered and soft and we loooove it.
    Jules — I don’t even HAVE a brother. Kinda crying over here about yours.
    Jama — You are sweet to mention my very nervousy villanelle. Sigh.

    Here’re my kicks:
    1. We are remodeling. Yes, it’s the coldest weekend of the year and we’re missing a wall but the results will be fabulous!
    2. I really like the Packers. They’re 3 points down but I think they’re going to the Superbowl. I really do.
    3. I love my mother-in-law. That’s saying something, right?
    4. Our dog is 13 and still barks with vigor everytime we take her for a walk.
    5. Ran 11 miles yesterday.
    6. I just love “This American Life”
    7. About to start a week long co-blogging throw-down with Sara Lewis Holmes called The Exercise of Writing. OMG, I am sooooooo excited….


  13. LW, your kicks are great, but yay for the first one, and Liz, OOH! OOH! to #7. Are we all going to get to read those posts? Hope so!


  14. Yep. We’re airing our sweaty laundry out there for all the world to see!
    Oh, and the Packers AREN’T going to the superbowl. Phoooey.


  15. jules: Laser cats.


  16. Zap, zap. Thanks, LW!


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