Jules: Welcome to our weekly 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 — as well as our meeting ground for featuring the work of illustrators.
This week, we’re happy that Shadra Strickland has stopped by to share art work from her upcoming illustrated title, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Bird will be published this October by Lee & Low Books. This Publishers Weekly link tells us that the book will tell the story of a boy who struggles with his brother’s drug addiction and death through the support of his family.
You don’t want to miss the “info” page at Shadra’s site. Here’s how it begins:
On summer nights my family and I would sit around my grandmother’s kitchen table and tell stories. You wouldn’t believe the tombstone tossin’, out the window flyin’, coke-bottle throwin’, packin’ a sack and leavin’ kind of stories that swirled around for hours leaving us children wild with envy.
Over the years, my cousins and I competed, adding to the table gut-busting, big bone breakin’, down the stairs fallin; getting’ on a bus and goin’ stories of our own. When we were big enough we ran out into the world to collect more.
Shadra now collects stories in Brooklyn, and we’re glad she’s bringing them to life through her art. Here’s one more image from her site, which was recently re-designed, ’cause I can’t help myself:
There’s a lot more over at her site, including a sketchbook and even some lovely notecards. You can also access her blog via her main site. (For the record, she told me the Bird illustrations are house proofs, not printer’s proofs. I wish I knew exactly what that meant, ’cause then that might mean I’d be an illustrator myself, which I’d like to be if I had a single shred of artistic talent. But I think I get the general idea.)
Thanks, Shadra! What a great way for all of us to start our morning!
2* I finished two major headache projects at work.
3* My husband’s out of town for a couple of weeks working on a show, so I’ve been making and eating all the stuff that I love and he doesn’t, like sauteed spinach with garlic and lemon over pasta. Mmm.
4* I also splurged and got some goat cheese from a local dairy, which he does like, but whatever. It goes very well with sauteed spinach with garlic and lemon over pasta.
5* He did come home for a day to attend a faculty meeting, but came down with some kind of violent fevery stomach bug. Obviously, that’s bad, but the kicky bit is that he got over it fairly quickly, without having to go to the emergency room.
7* Jackie’s post over at Foreword Magazine’s Shelf Space column about similarities between the nominated titles for the Cybils Young Adult Fiction award. I was on the YA Cybils panel, and read a lo-o-o-o-ot of those books; it’s hilarious to see them grouped by categories like “Girls Hit in the Face with Sports Balls” and “Aloe Used, Straight From the Plant”.
1). Shadra’s art work.
2). Posts from this week — the Julie Paschkis interview and when people come along and talk about “crunchily thought-provoking” books with me and Eisha (I picked up that great phrase from one of those commenters, Lady S).
3). Getting tofu, vegetables, and fried rice for dinner and watching movies Friday night with my husband, including “Cloverfield,” because Eisha recommended it, remember?
4). My two-and-a-half year old drew on her windowsill à la Harold. Seriously, she loves him, and I think she was trying to be him for a moment.
Speaking of Sawyer, part two of this kick is that, for probably only the second time this season, “Lost” made me care again last Thursday. During the other episodes this season, I’ve either been rolling my eyes, trying to stay awake, or both.
6). I had quite the migraine-filled week. Migraines are evil, I tell ya. Evil. I’ve had my brightness/contrast settings on my computer monitor at zero all week; that’s how sensitive to light my eyes have been, because of those migraines. So, the kick is that yesterday, my family and I visited the zoo on a gorgeous, windy Spring day. It did wonders for the slight funk I was in, caused by those awful headaches.
7). I finished the ARC of poet Beth Kanell’s The Darkness Under the Water, to be released this Fall by Candlewick. I have been reading this story for a looooong time now. In fact, I—ahem—broke one of our rules and read the manuscript of it (though I knew that it had already been lined up to be published, which makes it slightly different from an unpublished manuscript, I think). By the time I was finishing it, the author had sent me a bound ARC of it, which was easier to carry around than 199 pages of paper. Anyway, it’s a beautifully-rendered, haunting, and lyrical coming-of-age story, set in 1930, about a time in Vermont’s history in which the lives of Native Americans were threatened in the name of “improving” the Yankee population (the Vermont Eugenics Project, it is sometimes called). Told through the voice of one Molly Ballou, aged sixteen, whose family is of Abenaki heritage, it’s ultimately a triumphant story of transcending hardship and discrimination, and it’s quite elegantly told. (I’m telling you this now, because a) it really was a kick, but b) I don’t expect to be this articulate about it, come November, when it’ll finally be published. I don’t have the best memory.)
Ooh, and it wasn’t ’til just now, when I put this image up, that I noticed the face on the cover — not Molly, but the face in the water. Cool. I’m slow sometimes.
What are your kicks this week? And how about Shadra? Beautiful art work, huh?