Seven-Hundred and Seventy-Seven
Skerjillion Questions Over Breakfast With…
Or: A 2008 7-Imp Retrospective

h1 January 5th, 2009 by jules

Hi there. Jules here. And Alice. (Just for fun.)

Well, because I think I might possibly be crazy (not to mention all the free time I had during the holidays), I decided to offer our devoted readers the below post in which 7-Imp looks back at the many talented authors and illustrators who stopped by in 2008 for a chat, many with breakfast in tow. I pulled a quote from each interview, I compiled my favorite Pivot responses from the year into one singular questionnaire, and I pulled a handful of favorite illustrations from the year from the many artists who have stopped by for a visit (or whose publisher sent my favorite spreads from a title after I begged and pleaded). Many thanks are due to all the book-makers who have stopped by to chat with me and Eisha and the publishers who granted 7-Imp permission to share art.

And, yes, do I hear you saying this is the LONGEST POST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD? Why, it is at that, but it’s oh-so skim-able — and mostly full of wonderful stuff at which to look. Sit back and enjoy. Pick your favorite interview and read a snippet. Find your favorite illustrator and kick back to soak in their skills. Choose your own adventure.

Many thanks to Bruce at wordswimmer, who inspired this post with his own retrospective, “Beacons of Light — 2008,” posted a couple weeks ago. His post is well-worth your time, and it got me thinking about how the mass media will turn Hollywood celebrities who turn to writing (often picture books) into bonafide stars, give them all the attention, etcetera etcetera and I know, I know, everyone likes to complain about that, but really. It happens. But the real literary celebrities are…well, many of who I think are the real rock stars stopped by this year, so take a look.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat with 7-Imp and to share their passions and talent. Here’s to the conversations to come in ’09 . . .

* * * * * * *

David AlmondAuthor David Almond (interviewed May 19, 2008): “I see young people all around the world who are fascinated by books, by stories, by language, and who ask serious and perceptive questions about my work. It encourages me in my belief that young people form a wonderful readership, and that the children’s book world offers writers all kinds of opportunities for exploration and experimentation. Children accept stories in all kinds of forms, often in forms that might be seen by adults as too difficult, too whacky, too strange. I love writing illustrated fiction, for instance. There are very few options for a writer to work in such a form in adult books.”

Author/Illustrator Elisha Cooper (interviewed September 22): “I’d like to take this random opportunity to throw-down and say that if you’re an actor or a celebrity, stay the hell out of our business. It’s a free country, fine. But here’s the deal: you can write children’s books as long as we can star in movies.”

Author/Illustrator Julie Paschkis (interviewed May 14), pictured below: “Every book has something about it that is hard for me -– there is always a moment when I am terrified that I can’t do it or there is some aspect that feels overwhelming. There is usually a turning point where I can turn that fear into creativity -– I can figure out how to approach the problem in a way that is interesting.”

Julie Paschkis

Author Kerry Madden (interviewed May 29) on one thing most people don’t know about her: “Every time I start a book, I am terrified I won’t be able to pull it off.”

Author/Illustrator Mini Grey (interviewed October 8) on one thing most people don’t know about her: “I am programmed to self-destruct if I tell you.”

Mini's sketchbooks

Mini’s sketchbooks

Author/Illustrator David Small (interviewed June 25): “I’ve illustrated about forty-five picture books and two novels. I liked doing the novels very much, but it seemed almost too easy. The demands of the picture book are great. You have to retell the entire story in purely visual terms. In a novel, one just sort of swoops in with a picture occasionally, and I felt I was getting away with something.”

Image from Stitches, David Small’s forthcoming title (Fall, 2009; W.W. Norton). In David’s words, it’ll be “the book of my life…a graphic memoir
about my problematic youth.”

Author Jane Yolen (interviewed August 20) on how writing is taught in schools today: “…{I}n your classrooms you will have some children who…love to tackle large subjects with a great sharp implement, while others want to use a jeweler’s loupe, while picking at short, pithy, gem-like pieces. And I am afraid, my friends, try as you might, you cannot—and should not—try to turn one kind of writer into the other. They are both what they are. You will damage their writing skills and your digestive track trying for a Conversion. Make them better at what they do. Do not try and make them do what they cannot.”

Kadir Nelson

Author/Illustrator Kadir Nelson (interviewed March 17), pictured above: “I am very adamant about depicting historical subjects accurately. The challenge is in finding a new way to present the subject. That’s the fun of it for me.”

Spread from Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun; January, 2008) —
Jackie Robinson steals home past Cleveland Buckeye catcher, Quincy Trouppe

Amy Bates’ illustration from The Dog Who Belonged to No One by Amy Hest (Abrams; September, 2008)

Illustrator Amy June Bates (interviewed November 24): “When I was little, James Marshall came to my school. I was really lucky. He drew lots of pictures, which I loved. It amazed me that everything he drew, even my classmates, looked like it came from the worlds he created in his books. I guess I’d just like to pass that on.”

title page of April Pulley Sayre's VULTURE VIEW, illustrated by Steve JenkinsAuthor/Illustrator Steve Jenkins (interviewed February 4, 2008): “Too many non-fiction books are just collections of facts presented without context or passion. But we shouldn’t let a few little things like that stand in the way of turning kids on to the world of non-fiction books. I’m serious. But I understand why it’s not always easy.”

Author/Illustrator Kelly Murphy (interviewed September 24) on teaching: “…{T}eaching has been such an important part of my life these last few years. It gives me a chance to apply my success and downfalls to very eager people. It also forces you to clarify simple things that can go overlooked, really important things like: Why am I doing this? How can I make this better? What am I saying? Constantly keeping these in my mind while talking to students has made me push myself harder in my own work. I almost feel guilty.”

Illustrator Paul Rogers (interviewed November 3) on teaching: “The students are remarkably smart and talented and are working hard towards illustration careers. They’ve probably had more influence on me than I’ve had on them. As an illustrator/instructor, you have to produce work in the studio that backs up the things you’re saying in the classroom. You can’t be phony. Students respect good work and can also be very hard on work that doesn’t measure up.”

Paul Rogers’ Obama poster, adapted for

Lane Smith and Molly LeachAuthor/Illustrator Lane Smith (interviewed August 25), pictured here with Molly Leach, on how he got to be so awesome: “I took the usual route: Awesome School. Got a BA (Bachelor of Awesome). Four year program. Actually, what most people don’t know is I flunked out first year and had to go to Awesome Summer School (A.S.S.). You’d think it would be a major bummer but you know what? . . . It was awesome.”

Author Sara Lewis Holmes (interviewed January 29) on blogging: “…I struggle with getting through a long first draft of a novel, and so, having a short blog post to complete (and get comments on) in the midst of that slogging is energizing and rewarding. Plus, I think all writing makes you a better writer.”

Author/Illustrator Brian Lies (interviewed November 10) on school visits: “When I visit schools, one of my main goals is to let kids know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that all authors/illustrators have to work hard at their craft to make a publishable book. I think a lot of kids believe it’s a question of innate talent and that their feelings of inadequacy about their own work are a sign that they’re never going to be good at things.”

Robert Neubecker’s drawing table

Author/Illustrator Robert Neubecker (interviewed November 18) on school visits: “I read to little kids. They ask questions that are better than those asked by my college students. I don’t have a dancing chicken act.”

Author Sherri L. Smith (interviewed February 26): “Each book is so different for me that praise for one doesn’t affect how I look at the others, really. Ultimately, I want to grow as a writer, so I look to keep improving my skills. Good reviews and comments from readers can help with that, but the negative stuff (and there is ALWAYS negative stuff) can get you down, so I try to take both the pluses and minuses with a big grain of salt.”

Eric RohmannAuthor/Illustrator Eric Rohmann (interviewed February 12), pictured here: “My pictures have always been narrative — each image like a still image from a longer film — so when I began teaching art to kids, I found my audience. Kids and pictures that tell stories are a natural fit.”

Author Sara Zarr (interviewed March 25): “Lately what I tell people is to enjoy writing. Enjoy it! Enjoy the process and the craft and art of it, and the magic that happens when you sit down and characters do unexpected things or plots take unplanned turns or you somehow pull an amazing sentence out of nowhere.”

Author Judy Blume (interviewed December 10): “There are no rules when it comes to writing…write from deep inside, write without fear (fear of the critic, fear of the censor) –- don’t think about anything except your characters and tell their story as well, and as honestly, as you can. Remember, every editor is looking for an original voice. As a reader, so am I.”

Spread from Sergio Ruzzier’s Amandina (Roaring Brook Press; September, 2008)

Author/Illustrator Sergio Ruzzier (interviewed October 20) on his road to publication: “I came to New York from my native Milan in 1995, and my goal was to enter the picture book world. For many years, I found all the doors closed, as most editors and art directors considered my work too sophisticated and ‘European’ (which I understand is a curse word.)”

Author/Illustrator Scott Magoon (interviewed November 12), pictured below, on school visits: “One time a kid in the audience asked if I had taken my limousine to the school. I told him no, but my helicopter was waiting for me on the roof.”

Author Lisa Graff (interviewed February 14): “You’d think being published would entitle you to a personal assistant and your own reserved table at Starbucks, but really life has been about the same as before. Although it is much easier to be a narcissist, because now when I get the urge to Google myself, sometimes stuff actually pops up.”

Illustrator Frank Dormer (interviewed April 30): “Once I get a book to illustrate, I immediately go out to cut the lawn or fold some laundry. It’s my time to think, so I try to look productive. I basically daydream. I was the kid in school with his eyes out the window during algebra. I honestly have no idea where or when the images will start. Hopefully not at 3 a.m. I believe that much of what I do as an illustrator is psychology. What kind of main character is this? Where did they grow up? Do they like Pop Tarts?”

An illustration by Frank Dormer for Lori Ries’ Good Dog, Aggie;
Charlesbridge; Release date: 2009

Javaka SteptoeAuthor/Illustrator Javaka Steptoe (interviewed May 23), pictured left: “…{W}hen I think of my father, I don’t think of him in terms of competition; I think of him as someone who taught me a lot about art: how to draw hands, eyes, and lips. Someone who helped to instill my beliefs and moral responsibilities in respect to children’s book art.”

Author Gail Gauthier (interviewed July 1) on her writing process: “I tend to think in terms of metaphor and analogy. I think of writing a book as like building a house. (As if I’ve built a house.) I need a really good first chapter for my foundation. Many times when I’m starting over again, it’s because I can’t go forward until I have that foundation.”

Author/Illustrator Jeremy Tankard (interviewed April 2), pictured below: “With all my books, I illustrate for myself primarily. Luckily, the drawings have a very wide appeal and small children get one thing from them, older kids something else, and adults something else again. I’m very fortunate that I’ve never had to compromise my own ‘vision’ for anyone else. There’s always some push and pull with publishers, but I feel that I’ve been given ample freedom and respect to just ‘do my thing.'”

Jeremy Tankard; photo credit: Perry Zavitz

Polly DunbarAuthor/Illustrator Polly Dunbar (interviewed May 21), pictured left: “Imagination is the most important part of life, and it is a shame that it’s shooed away by adulthood. This is what I love about writing for children. They still have that magic in abundance. I think it should be treasured more, as without imagination how can anything come about? And yes, I think imagination is power. All things, at any time of life, start with an idea or a vision, however crazy they may seem at first.”

Author/Illustrator Elisa Kleven (interviewed October 27): “I urge children to try to safeguard and nurture their imaginations, though the world doesn’t make this easy. And, while I appreciate children’s responsiveness to my books, it saddens me to see how starved so many of them are for art in their lives.”

An illustration from Elisa Kleven from The Weaver by Thacher Hurd,
to be published in ’09 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Illustrator Lauren Castillo (interviewed April 16): “I find that varying the way that I work continues to keep me interested and sometimes surprised (it is best when the surprise is a HAPPY one).”

Author/Illustrator Tricia Tusa (interviewed June 11) on illustrating Jim Averbeck’s In a Blue Room: “What a pleasure it was finding that FedEx package on my doorstep one night. I was carrying in the groceries and tripped over it. I brought the envelope inside, sat on the couch, and as I read, I knew immediately what a pleasure it would be to illustrate.”

Spread from In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa (Harcourt; April 2008)

Author/Illustrator Jim Averbeck (interviewed May 7) on first seeing Tricia Tusa’s illustrations from In a Blue Room: “The first time I saw the black and white sketches for the book I got goosebumps. Every writer hopes that the illustrator will bring more to the story than just a literal illustration of the text. Tricia’s work is a perfect example of this.”

Giselle Potter

Author/Illustrator Giselle Potter (interviewed June 17), pictured above: “Although seeing art that I like inspires me, I don’t love museums and I think other things inspire me more than art…like the way people live; my family (both my grandparents, my parents and sister, my husband and daughters, Pia and Isabel); inspired, passionate people; and both beauty and oddities of nature.”

Spread from Eugene Field’s Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, illustrated by Giselle Potter;
Schwartz & Wade; May, 2008

Spread from Suzy Lee’s Wave (Chronicle Books; April, 2008)

Author/Illustrator Suzy Lee (interviewed August 12), sorta pictured to the left here: “When I was a child, I had The Shrinking of Treehorn {written by by Florence Parry Heide and illustrated} by Edward Gorey, translated in Korean in my bookshelves. I don’t think I liked it very much at that time -– the illustrations and story were far too strange for a child, I believe. But I always read it again and again to figure out what it was about. I think I just liked the feeling of strangeness –- maybe I came to believe that the picture book should be mysteriously strange because of that book.”

Illustrator Sophie Blackall (interviewed August 4), pictured below, on school visits: “Most days I sit hunched at my squalid desk, trying to draw, squandering hours on eBay and emerging in the afternoon to embarrass my children in the schoolyard. But every now and then I do a School Visit and, after the initial terrifying moments of having all those beady eyes trained on you, it’s FANTASTIC. It’s seriously wonderful to realise that books have a life beyond my studio; that children really do pore over them and eat them up and love them and think about them for a long time afterwards. I have had brilliant letters from second graders, some adoring, ‘You are the Best Ilstater in the Wold,’ ‘You are veery goo at draling,’ and some brutally honest, ‘I could draw as good as you if I had lessons.’ I also once had a marriage proposal from a first-grade boy.”

Sophie Blackall

Spread from Meg Rosoff’s Jumpy Jack & Googily, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Henry Holt; April, 2008): “‘I’m nervous,’ said Jumpy Jack to his best friend, Googily. ‘There could be a monster nearby and I’m scared of monsters.'”

Author/Illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky (interviewed September 29), pictured below, on school visits: “I’ve heard that people are sometimes surprised to discover that I can be funny. In the distant past, many people said they were surprised to find I was so young, but for some reason this seems to have stopped happening.”

Paul O. Zelinsky; photo credit: credit Deborah Hallen

Paul provided the Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for his seven-questions-over-breakfast illustrator interview this September.

From Chapter Three—“The Garbage-Eating Shark (Which Is Not the Same as the Possible Shark)”—of Emily Jenkins’ Toy Dance Party, illustrated by
Paul O. Zelinksy (Schwartz & Wade; September, 2008)

Stacey Dressen-McQueen’s “Alaska girls”

Illustrator Stacey Dressen-McQueen (interviewed December 17) on school visits: “Being front and center of anything is absolutely unnerving to me, and I have a pretty quiet speaking voice (quieter still when unnerved), but—that being said—I adore school visits. I am really honored and excited to draw pictures for the author’s words and characters, so it is great fun to share that.”

Author/Illustrator Cece Bell (interviewed December 4) on school visits: “It’s good to have a very interactive program, as it takes some of the pressure off to perform the whole time. I am quite shy, after all!”

Author/Illustrator David Ezra Stein (interviewed October 30): “Every book is a little different for me, but usually I get the idea when I am in a hummy sort of mood (à la Winnie-the-Pooh) and words and pictures start coming to me. I follow the story, bit by bit, like picking up breadcrumbs, and write and draw as fast as I can.”

Spread from David Ezra Stein’s The Nice Book (Putnam Juvenile; October, 2008)

William BeeAuthor/Illustrator William Bee (interviewed July 31), pictured here: “One of the best things about living in the countryside is that I can go for walks in fresh air and spot various—harmless—wild animals. I like to take a scrap of paper and a pen to jot down ideas — or even write out texts.”

Author/Illustrator Maxwell Eaton III (interviewed December 1): “It’s funny doing books for the little boogers, because a lot of the people who write or email me saying they like the art are teen or college-aged and without child. Although, maybe they’re just feeling nostalgic and it has nothing to do with universal age appeal. Or maybe they’re just six-year-olds pretending to be twenty-two. In that case, Joey Sampson, please disregard all of my tips on what bars to visit in Bozeman, Montana.”

* * * * * * *

The Pivot Questionnaire,
as filled with my favorite responses from 2008:

  • 7-Imp: What is your favorite word?
    It’s a tie between Mini Grey’s “pudding” (her favorite—I mean, favourite—word for that particular day) and Tricia Tusa’s respect for the under-appreciated “the.”
  • 7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?
    Lane Smith: “Probe.”
  • 7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
    Tie between Paul Roger’s “someone facing adversity with elegance” and Suzy Lee’s “a long conversation with a cup of coffee.”
  • 7-Imp: What turns you off?
    Tie between Suzy Lee’s “a long conversation without a cup of coffee” and Lane Smith’s “a little switch just below the hairline. Also the Clapper™.”
  • 7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)
    Yet another tie between Lane Smith’s “James Lipton!” (I know, Lane again. He’s a clever guy, though) and Paul O. Zelinsky’s “##@&°‡‹!!!” (I’ve just been waiting for someone to do that.)
  • 7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?
    Kerry Madden: “Rain…front porch fiddles and banjos…”
  • 7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?
    Another tie (get used to it): Javaka Steptoe’s “scratching sounds when you’re home alone and it’s not you scratching” and Elisha Cooper’s “Sarah Palin’s voice.”
  • 7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    It’s a three-way tie between Steve Jenkins’ “somewhat realistically: robotics; less realistically: guitar god” and Sara Lewis Holmes’ “kung-fu stuntwoman” and Scott Magoon’s “crooner.”
  • 7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?
    Frank Dormer: “Professional Pole Vaulter.”
  • 7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
    Tie between Julie Paschkis’ “Well, pothole me…I was expecting you a while back” (you’ll have to read the interview to get the joke) and Sergio Ruzzier’s “I would like {God} to tell me where the hell is Saint Peter.”

* * * * * * *

We also invite illustrators/artists to stop by every Sunday here at 7-Imp and let us feature their work. It’s difficult to pick favorites of our Sunday artists from 2008, but I’m going to give it a shot with my top-ten, in no particular order:

Nicoletta Ceccoli, featured on April 27, 2008. A sample proof for Dignity of Dragons, an upcoming title (at that time anyway) for Houghton Mifflin —

Hyewon Yum, featured on August 31, 2008.
Spread from Last Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; September, 2008) —

Zachary Baldus’s Batgirl, featured on March 9, 2008

Shadra Strickland, featured on May 18, 2008.
Spread from Zetta Elliott’s Bird (Lee & Low Books; October, 2008) —

Jackie Morris, featured on November 23, 2008. Spread from Vivian French’s Singing to the Sun: A Fairy Tale (Kane/Miller; September, 2008) —

Peter Brown, featured on April 20, 2008. Spread from The Curious Garden (to be published this Spring by Little, Brown Young Readers) —

Jody Hewgill’s Portrait of a Lady With a Fox,
featured on September 14, 2008

Fernando Falcone’s positively wonderful Mad Tea Party image,
featured on June 29, 2008, and now forever on the header of this page of our site, with thanks to Mr. Falcone —

Jen Corace, featured on July 13, 2008. Spread from Cynthia Rylant’s Hansel and Gretel (Hyperion; September, 2008) —

Sylvie Kantorovitz, featured on February 10, 2008, sharing with us an illustration from last year’s Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing (Harcourt) —

* * * * * * *

On the first Sunday of each month during 2008, we’ve been featuring—and will continue to feature—student or new-to-the-field illustrators, and we thank all those students or brand-spankin’-new illustrators for stopping by to share art work with us during ’08. This was the first year for doing that, and it’s been too much fun. There are too many to name here, but here’s probably my favorite illustration of all from those student features. This comes from Kali Ciesemier, featured on May 4, 2008, who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art just a couple weeks after we featured her. We hope to see Kali’s work in books one day. This is Betty Beatdown of the Charm City Rollergirls:

* * * * * * *

Last, but far from least, sometimes an illustrator or author/illustrator will randomly stop by to share some art work or the publisher will let 7-Imp share a sneak peek from the inside of a picture book much adored. Again, there are too many folks who stopped by this year to thank—or whose book I loved enough to make me go a’ knockin’ at a publisher’s cyber door, in the hopes I could share some art from it. There was art work from…

Here are six of my other favorite random features (no, I couldn’t limit myself to just five, hard as I tried. So? What? I can’t help it)…

Illustration by Kevin Hawkes from Kathleen Krull’s The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum (Knopf Books for Young Readers; September, 2008). Feature: October 15, 2008.

My favorite illustration from the whole flippin’ year: Robert Andrew Parker’s depiction of Art Tatum in Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum (Schwartz & Wade; January, 2008). Feature: January 30, 2008.

Illustration by Isabelle Arsenault from My Letter to the World and Other Poems, an anthology of Emily Dickinson’s poetry from Kids Can Press (October, 2008). Feature: November 11, 2008.

Illustration from Kelly Dipucchio’s Grace for President (Hyperion; February, 2008), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Feature: February 27, 2008.

Spread from Carole Boston Weatherford’s Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Henry Holt; April, 2008).
Feature: January 30, 2008.

Illustration from Ed Young’s Wabi Sabi (Little, Brown; October, 2008).
Feature: December 8, 2008.

* * * * * * *

Copyright note: If I were to list all the copyright notices for these images here, well, you’d find me slumped over my keyboard. Here’s my plea: Please be cool, current and potential readers, and remember all rights reserved and all that good stuff. Also, in many instances the original copyright notices for the image or art work you see is listed at the post (interview, feature, what-have-you) from which the above snippets come. If you link back to the original post for many of these, you will see copyright notices. Bottom line: Be cool. Don’t steal. These weren’t mine to begin with. I had to ask to get them, so please do the same. Thanks.

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, ALL (not just ’08) of 7-Imp’s author interviews are archived here at the site, and all illustrator/artist interviews and features are archived here. I also always update those lists, ’cause I’m a big nerd like that.

Toodle-oo, as mouse would say.

23 comments to “Seven-Hundred and Seventy-Seven
Skerjillion Questions Over Breakfast With…
Or: A 2008 7-Imp Retrospective”

  1. Good lord. That’s a ridiculous list (in the best possible way). You guys have done incredible work this year — a veritable treasure trove of blog gems. It’s astounding, really. Thank you. And thank you again.

  2. I remember reading my first blog post of yours, with the extensive citation list for the M.T. Anderson interview. Ha! This tops that! A most excellent and colorful retrospective.

    P.S. I did also say that I would like to have a Ph.D. in linguistics, but if it’s a choice between that and kung-fu stuntwoman, it’s bad*** kickfest all the way.

  3. Fabulous! Wonderful resource you have here!

  4. This is my second try at commenting. My first bag of praises apparently didn’t get through.

    LOVE this post, and Bravo for every bit of it. It just happens to be totally awesome, inspiring and a thing of beauty. Plus, every time I see Paul O. Zelinsky’s picture, it makes me very happy :)!

  5. You clearly went to Awesome School as well. Thanks for a great year of interviews, reviews, thoughts, opinions and ENTHUSIASM.

  6. Dear Ms. Eisha and Ms. Jules:

    If the two of you do not see, in this kind of material, at this depth, with this spirit, the makings of a stupendous book (or more like a stupendous series of books), well, then, I have just two words for you: “willful ignorance.” Or maybe “active denial.” Or maybe both, in which case I have just four words for you but THAT’S NOT THE POINT and stop changing the subject, young ladies, I’m trying to be serious here.

    This. Is. AMAZING.

    I mean yes, this post itself is pretty overwhelming.

    But jeez, and jeez again. This is AT MOST only one-seventh of what you’ve done here in a year! And you do it again every week! Sometimes twice in one week!

    Jeez. Oh wait, I said that already… So then, just…. sheesh.

    Overwhelmed Admirer

    P.S. You forgot to mention Sam Phillips somewhere. Tsk.

  7. Awe-inspiring? See, even that term is too slight for what we have going on here. Jaw-dropping? Closer. Awe-dropping, jaw-inspiring? I think we have a winner.

  8. Wow. Inspiring and awesome. Well done!

  9. Kudos to you ladies — and endless thanks for your thoughtful, thorough and enthusiastic coverage of our talented authors and illustrators.
    Best in 09 —

  10. What a feast! Lovely to see an idea migrate and expand, and to know the world is richer for it. Many thanks for taking the time to put this together. Can’t wait to see what riches you’ll offer readers in 2009!

  11. This was a great roundup. I feel lucky to have been included – THANKS!
    Now I would like a bite of Paul Zelinsky’s waffle.

  12. Thanks, all. It was fun to do this post, though I’m surprised ANYONE could read it, since there were so many images to load. I mean lordamercy, did anyone’s computer explode, by chance? People with slow connections must hate us right about now.

  13. Oh, what a pleasure this was! I want to come back and linger over it, and click through, and…well, yes. Relive it all. Thanks so much!

  14. Good god, you gals rock my world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I mean, seriously.
    If I were you, I’d ask for my million dollars and go to a desert island ’cause what else is there to do????!?!? SHEESH, ladies, I’m bowing down.

  15. Thanks for this newest treasure and for the treasury that is your site, Jules and Eisha !

    Happy New Year, here’s to HObamaPE!

  16. And this is why I love your blog.

    Thank you for all you both do to promote and share and spread the love of children’s literature 🙂

  17. Gosh, it’s been a good year. I remember so much of this with such fondness — it’s always so nice to have made positive comments about artists here, and then to get personal notes from them — Thanks for connecting us. What great expectations we have for 2009!

  18. This site rocks. All that PLUS a diehard passion for Harvey Slumfenburger.

  19. ||: wow :||

    What a post. What a year. You must feel proud, proud, proud! Thank you for the gorgeous, gorgeous work you do.

    Congratulations on a fabulous 2008 and best wishes for fabulous 2009!

  20. Awesome, awesome, awesome!! This is unbelievable. As hard as you’ve worked to put these posts together and to collect them here, you deserve a gold medal. You ought to do a book – an anthology of your interviews with authors and illustrators & features. I want all this in print to gaze at over and over.

  21. Wow! FAbulous post! What a great variety of both things to make me laugh out loud–Awesome Summer School? Come on! Love Sara Zarr’s and Jane Yolen’s bits of advice, and SO MANY others’, too. Thanks for the terrific roundup.

  22. Jules,

    Thanks for this retrospective post. 7-Imp rocks! I love all the wonderful picture book art you highlight on your blog–and learning about the lives and artistic processes of the authors and illustrators you interview. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in 2009.

  23. When I read 7-Imp, I always keep my local library webpage up for making book requests. What amazing work you did in a year– to highlight all that talent! You two make my week!

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