7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #181: Featuring Sean Qualls
and Shadra Strickland

h1 August 22nd, 2010 by jules

“… I look out the window / and I see the whole block swimming in water. / Furniture, clothes and toys are swirling in the flood. / Roofs are crumbling and windows are shattering. / Big winds have come and trees are breaking. / And all I can see is more water rising. / So I look away and I squeeze Jasmine’s hand / real tight because now
I am scared too.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

“Her voice was light and springy. Her beat was perfectly in time with the band. Soon even the noisemakers in the second balcony were holding on to every word. The feeling of being listened to—oh, it was a salve to Ella’s sore heart.”
(Click to enlarge.)

I should probably open a kicks post, dear readers, with an image that is not as intense as that very first one, but I really love that spread from Shadra Strickland. It’s quite moving, yes? This comes from Shadra’s latest illustrated title, written by debut picture book author Renée Watson. And then, below that, we’ve got an illustration of Ella Fitzgerald from illustrator Sean Qualls to scatter some joy; that comes from Roxane Orgill’s forthcoming picture book biography of Ella Fitzgerald. Both Shadra and Sean have new illustrated titles out and have both been featured at the blog before—each multiple times—so I invited them over this morning for a show-us-what-you’re-up-to-now post.

And, since there’s quite a bit of art this morning, let’s get right to it.

First, Renée’s and Shadra’s title: Released by Random House in June, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is the story of four fictional Ninth Ward children—Michael, Keesha, Adrienne, and Tommy—caught in Hurricane Katrina. Using intimate first-person voices and told in free verse, Watson alternates between the perspectives of the children, describing their lives before, during, and after the storm, and—as the Kirkus review points out—the book very much personalizes the entire disaster. And sugar-coated it is not. Watson lays out with honesty how, in the words of Michael, “Katrina turned New Orleans inside out,” how families were displaced, and how lives were taken. Says Michael:

Katrina took away my drawings,
my markers and my paper.
She even took some of my neighbors away.
There are numbers and words written on
Mrs. Johnson’s house.
I ask my mother what they mean.
She tells me Mrs. Johnson isn’t coming back.
She’s gone forever.
Things aren’t what they used to be.
I miss the people who are gone.
Even the neighbors whose names I never knew.

You may remember that Shadra was named the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator of 2009, just weeks after receiving the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award in January 2008 for her illustrations in the picture book Bird by Zetta Elliott (featured here at 7-Imp in ’08). A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, Shadra told me, “was truly a labor of love. Renée and I will be in New Orleans on Tuesday to promote the book. NBC Nightly News is doing a segment on the fifth-year anniversary of Katrina and will include snips from our books and signings.” Shadra adds that we can see the book’s trailer on her YouTube channel, as well as a research video from one of the neighborhoods she visited in ’09.

Here are some more spreads (without the text):

“We’re from New Orleans, / a place where hurricanes happen. /
But that’s only the bad side.”

(Click to enlarge.)

“Momma’s cooking dinner, / making my favorite foods: / jambalaya with corn bread. / And I get to help…”

“A whole year has gone by / and a lot of things are different, / but some things are the same. / I’ve still got friends. / And today, I get to play…”
(Click to enlarge.)

“We’re from New Orleans. / We’re from a place where people are tough. / Tough because of the things they’ve been through, / the things they’ve seen…”
(Click to super-size and see better.)

* * * * * * *

Roxane’s title, Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald, is what Publishers Weekly calls an “unforgettable portrait of an artist whose faith in herself carried her when little else did.” To be released this week (I swear, I don’t even intentionally time these things this way) by Candlewick, there could have been no better complement for the book than Sean’s jazzy art. This is a biography of Fitzgerald, “a rough-tough raggedy cat on the outside, but inside she was milky and silky and soft and shy,” orphaned at the age of fourteen, just when she had determined to make herself famous one day. Orgill takes readers up to her life at the age of twenty-one when “A Tisket, A Tasket” became a hit for her. Her life story is extraordinary, and I don’t want to say anymore, should you want to discover this one for yourself. Except to say it’s written with warmth, pizazz, and affection. Publishers Weekly writes, “many virtues distinguish Orgill’s writing: precious fragments of historical detail, flirtations with the flash of the spoken word (‘He had a drumroll like a burst of gunfire’), and, most of all, heart (‘This young lady’s got a gift she’d like to share with us tonight,’ says an emcee when Fitzgerald falters at an early performance. ‘She’s just having a little trouble getting it out of its wrapper’).”

And Sean’s art? School Library Journal writes, “Qualls firmly establishes himself as a leading illustrator of jazz biographies for children. He uses rich reds and blues to illustrate the history of this quintessentially American art form, just as he did for Jonah Winter’s Dizzy…and Carole Boston Weatherford’s Before John Was a Jazz Giant…. His mixed media of acrylic, collage, and pencil capture the richness of Fitzgerald’s life and song.” Here are a couple more spreads to speak for themselves:

“Seventh Avenue! Where ladies in furs and men in checkered suits went to strut their stuff, especially on Sundays after church. Where the hoofers and tumblers, acrobats and comedy teams, jazz singers, jitterbugs, and the fabulous Edwards Sisters, the best kid dancers around, practiced their acts and collected the coins that people threw at their feet. Ella danced the Big Apple and sang a little…”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

“When Ella sang, people danced the night away. Sometimes they stopped and stood crowded shoulder to shoulder, in front of the bandstand, just to listen. So long, Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat. It’s Rowdy-Dowdy High-Hat Baby now.”
(Click to enlarge.)

A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN © 2010 by Renée Watson. Illustrations © 2010 by Shadra Strickland. Published by Random House, New York, NY. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

SKIT-SCAT RAGGED CAT. Copyright 2010 by Roxane Orgill. Illustrations © 2010 by Sean Qualls. Published by Candlewick, Somerville, MA. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on 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.

* * * * * * *

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1). Ella. To quote the book, “Ella was not pretty,* but so what? The girl could swing!”

* (That’s according to Chick Webb anyway. We all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, thanks very much.)

2). Our own dear Jone was librarian-of-the-day at Tina Nichols Coury’s blog on Tuesday of this week!

3). An illustrator returned some breakfast-interview responses to me this week and asked me, “what is your breakfast-of-choice?” Why, no one’s ever asked me that! It made me up and do a double-take and all that.

4). This picture is funny to me on many levels. Thanks to Betsy for the link.

5). My husband found this on YouTube. We stumbled upon this guy ten years ago in Rome. He’s probably still there. I’ll let his act here speak for itself:

6). A great little surprise from my friend, Jill, in the mail.

7). I try not to load up the blog with pics of my kids—and I already posted this on Facebook—but this makes me smile every time I see it. It’s what happens when I ask my four-year-old to brush her own hair.

BONUS: I’m helping plan for this, although I can’t actually attend, come October. Exciting, huh?

* * *

Note: Writers might find this project from author Alma Alexander intriguing.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

32 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #181: Featuring Sean Qualls
and Shadra Strickland”

  1. Hahah! A girl can really never have too many clips.

    I love the first Qualls illustration; Salon is doing a review of Spike Lee’s film God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise this weekend – which is also about Katrina — it’s something we need to remember and I think that’s a powerful and devastating picture that can enable both a child and an adult to understand. I wish I’d picked that book up this summer at ALA.

    And Ella was too pretty. Chick Webb was an eejit.

  2. Wow, what a feast of great art this morning! Ella not pretty? What?! Crazy man.

    Love a girl with barettes :)! And I love the Rome video. It made me laugh because I misread “piazza” and expected pizza made to MJ music. 😀 Gotta love those gloves and hands!

    A few kicks:

    Lots of deer sightings recently. They are loving the glut of acorns and black walnuts. Shells everywhere.

    Reading French books and watching French movies. Perfect summer pastime.

    Nutella. Finally tried some. It’s so unhealthy but quite delicious. Great with ice cream and bananas.

    Chinese take-out when you’re too lazy to cook.

    Putting together a post for National Dog Day on Thursday, August 26th, featuring children’s authors and their dogs!

    Getting new books in the mail. I have a huge TBR pile, but keep ordering more. Opening a package and pulling out a physical book that has not yet been read is still a great kick which never gets old. Spine crack, fresh pages, new book smell. Oh, the anticipation! 🙂

    Have a good week! I encourage everyone to honor their dogs on Thursday by posting pics on their blogs or FB profiles — and giving your dog a special treat for everything he/she does for you every single day.

  3. […] you’re done there, stop by 7-Imp to see a wonderful feature of APWHH along with the latest from Sean Qualls (the amazing and […]

  4. Love these two books. The one about Katrina will be a great pairing w/ Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson.
    And Sean Qualls is amazing and generous. He donated a piece of art for the Bridget Zinn auction. Plus I love Ellla.
    Jules, thanks for the shout out. I totally forgot about that interview. Love the clips. Did she cut her bangs?
    Tanita, I am looking forward to seeing that film about Katrina. So a clip on the news this week.
    Jama, thanks for the suggestion about the dog profiles on FB..Great idea.
    My kicks:
    1. My weekend las week in northern California with my college pals. So much fun.
    2. The interview at Tina Coury’s blog.
    3. My “Old Theater Chair” took third place for its division at the fair.
    4. The fair with two of three grandgirls.
    5. Lunch with a friend (in which I just had to take her to my new fave place: Jade Tea house._
    6.Laurie Halse Anderson’s WFMAD project on her blog.
    7. The weather.
    Have a great week.

  5. Love today’s post!

    My kicks for this week:
    1. Alan Armstrong’s WHITTINGTON
    2. Billy Collins’ PICNIC, LIGHTNING
    3. Music by Fleet Foxes
    4. My interview with David Saylor’s coming in September.
    5. August rain
    6. My 9th wedding anniversary is this week (hurrah)!
    7. And my baby girl will be turning 5 (boohoo-hooray)!

    (for Marin)

    Your first night home
    I couldn’t sleep, it was like
    a small moon had drifted
    through an open window
    and settled in our room,
    complicating gravity.
    For weeks we let you
    doze off in your swing,
    rock-a-bye, lullaby,
    pretty pendulum baby.

    One night I napped
    on the couch near you,
    dreaming to the click
    of your metronome seat.
    When I woke the TV clock
    told a strange time.
    I blundered off the blanket,
    sat up waiting, fearful
    you’d stopped breathing.
    But you scrunched your nose
    and fenced your fist
    and gravity resumed
    and the new moon grew
    and turned the earth
    and turned the earth
    and turned the earth
    to welcome you.

  6. Good morning!

    Powerful, powerful opening image, Jules. I know what you mean about the decision to put it there or not. But hey, it’s not a bad reminder that a kick doesn’t have to be something that makes us want to get up and tap-dance. My first trip ever to N.O. was post-Katrina: we drove through the 9th Ward before leaving, and — aside from the shame we felt at having become disaster tourists — we were almost overcome by the traces of that experience’s horror still writ everywhere.

    (And that last image you included does really need the super-sizing you mention. It’s a grabber.)

    How nice to find Ella Fitzgerald here this morning, too. What a lady. Very strange comment from Chick Webb — I mean, he himself wasn’t exactly somebody whose photo you’d see in an Encyclopedia of Good Looks. He HAD to have followed that up with a “But…”, maybe along the lines of “…when she opened her mouth to sing…!”) In reading about him just now I thought it was interesting that when he died — in his 30s — she took over leadership of his band!

    (Sean Qualls’s breakfast interview was one of my favorites of 2009, and that’s saying something. He really took it seriously and dove in — all the art, and those great pictures of that great house in Brooklyn, and his answer to the last Pivot question…!)

    So, Jules, in case no one else has yet tried to pin you down: what IS your breakfast-of-choice???

    My favorite thing about the Italian MJ guy was actually his other hand, which plays something of an emcee/ringmaster/impresario role, while the main one is doing its stuff. Sort of like it’s crying out into a megaphone, “LAY-dees and GENTlemen! For your DElectation and aMUSEment, we preSENT — the aMAZing, the SCINTillating, the AWE-inSPIRing FABulOSity of… [pause] …THE LEFT HAND! Ever seen anything like THIS move, folks?! Howzabout some applause for the little guy!”

    Jama: National Dog Day — thank you for that heads-up! We may order a hamburger-stuffed piñata for The Pooch.


    1. We’ve got at least one tree-or-otherwise-nocturnal frog somewhere around our house who seems to have been moved to the froggy equivalent of poetry by the steamy-hot temperatures and thunderstormy skies of the past month. He (a loudmouth like that HAS to be a guy) started with the basic New-Year’s-Eve noisemaker effect, like an eggbeater in a bowl of rocks, and has since soared to heights almost unimaginable, like marbles falling down a flight of uncarpeted stairs, a handful at a time. He’s a sonneteer of gronk. (And he folds up his busker’s gear by 10pm every night, thank gods.)

    2. The Missus.

    3. The color of tea with milk in it.

    4. We watched The Lovely Bones last night. I haven’t read the book, so can’t compare. And it’s certainly not a light-hearted romp of a story, y’know? But my gosh, I liked that film. I think when I finally get around to building my Pantheon, I’ve got to put Peter Jackson in a niche of his own.

    5. This video (FB’d it already, sorry for the repeat!): a funny mini-“documentary” for a good cause, in the style of a National Geographic wildlife segment (narrated by Jeremy Irons! complete with haunting symphonic score!), on the life-cycle of a plastic bag on its way to the sea.

    6. This week’s reasons to love music: Patty Griffin (thanks for introducing me to her, Jules!) and Ra Ra Riot.

    7. Somebody here in the last few months mentioned the Flip Dictionary. (Denise, I think?) THANK YOU — what a great book!

    Have a great week, everybody!

  7. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello to Sean Qualls, Shadra Strickland, Renée Watson, and Roxane Orgill. Thank you for sharing your artwork and your stories with us, and thanks to Jules for posting A-Tisket A-Tasket. I could listen to swing music all day, every single day.

    Congratulations, Jone, on being librarian of the day, and for placing at the fair. Sounds like you’ve had fun with friends and family. 🙂

    Jules: Thumbs-up to the future hairdresser. Hope the Southern Festival of Books goes well. Sorry that you can’t attend, but I’m sure that the Festival will be better because you are helping to plan it!

    Jama: Hello to the deer! I’ve had only a bite or two of Nutella, but I liked it. Please hug your dogs for me on Thursday.

    Steven Withrow: Happy anniversary to you and yours! Have you heard the song Lullaby by Jonatha Brooke? Your poem brought that to mind.

    JES: I’ve read The Lovely Bones but haven’t seen the film. I didn’t really care for the book. I thought that Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor told it better, and simpler; and, since then, other similar stories have appeared that I also liked.

  8. Oops! I forgot to create my own kicklist. Hmmm….

    1) Seizing the moment
    2) Opportunities and assistance
    3) Audition for a play
    4) Audition for a commercial
    5) Audition for a short film
    6) Going for it
    7) Closing weekend of my play – last performance today!

    I’ve contracted some sort of something which has rendered my voice unrecognizable – barely there, low in pitch, power, and volume – and has forced me to be silent all day until I have to speak for the performances or auditions. It pains me, mentally and literally, because I can’t talk or sing like I usually do 24/7, and because my performances on Friday and Saturday were tainted because I can barely talk. It also attacked my left ear. I’m hoping to go to the doctor sometime later this week, and getting treatment that makes everything go back to 100% normal soon.

  9. LW: thanks for mentioning Connor’s book — I’ll look that up.

    Take care of your instrument, and I hope you’re feeling better soon!

  10. the thing about europe is they’ve got all these older street performers all over the place, not just scrappy kids trying to work their way into something else. i can’t quite explain it. anyway, kick time…

    1. finally got around to getting my domain name and some basic stuff parked on the internets. about freakin time. now all i gotta do is work up some content.

    2. picked up younger daughter from first sleepaway camp experience. as hoped (and promised, so i’m not a liar) she had an awesome time

    3. did i make the best french toast eveh on challah bread today? yes i did.

    4. condensed my graduate lecture into an article that i’m going to try and pitch. sort of lost a lot in the condensation, but what can you do with limited word counts?

    5. finalized some plans to do a shared blog/sketchbook/whatever with an old friend from high school. should get me back into photography and art. been too long away from both.

    6. had tea with a friend from school and discussed possibilities for forming a critique group. i think i’m really jonesing for some tough love on my writing

    7. long, cool summer rain bringing everything down to a mellow.

  11. Hi all,

    Quick fly-by kicks, since I am already late in meeting a friend in S.F. for lunch. Jules, Ella ROCKS, and I think she was perfectly lovely.

    My supersonic fly-by kicks:

    1) An unexpected and perfect gift from Jules in the mail: the book “It’s a Book”, by Lane Smith (one of the author/illustrators featured by Jules in Tuesday’s post). The book made me laugh out loud, and perfectly expresses my love for the printed word and for the book as a precious object. Here is a video excerpt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4BK_2VULCU

    2) Going bowling with my boyfriend yesterday in early celebration of his upcoming B-day (Tues.), which was something we never do, but was highly enjoyable and entertaining.
    3) Being part of a celebration and recognition party last Wed. for the tutors and students of Project Second Chance, the adult literacy group that I volunteer with. Very inspirational.
    4) Hints of autumn
    5) Monterey jack cheese and bean dip at my favorite Mexican restaurant last night.
    6) Empathy
    7) Ella!

    Have a great week, everyone!

  12. Everyone, before I forget, the Chick Webb thing goes like this:

    The “Ella was not pretty” quote comes from the author, but that’s because the story is that she was orphaned and poor, yet…

    You had to wear pretty clothes to sing the regular shows {at places like the Apollo Theater}. You had to be clean and presentable. Ella was a mess. Somebody give that girl a bar of soap! A comb, a dress! But who? Ella had no home. She slept on a stranger’s couch or a friend’s dusty floor. She was a rough young thing with no thought for herself except this new desire: hang up those dancing boots and sing, you raggedy cat.

    So, when Chick Webb (no Romeo himself: “Chick Webb was a short man with a hump on his back”) meets her, “he took one look at Ella and said, ‘You’re not puttin’ that on my bandstand. No, no no. Out!'” But then Ella sang for him. (And the rest is history.)

    So, that’s the story there, the author showing that Ella rose from a poor upbringing to make something of herself and that she bucked the notion that you had to be beautiful to sing.

    Tanita, looking forward to Spike’s film.

    Jama, YES to the opening-a-package-of-books kick. Also, I’m more behind on your blog than normal/than I’d like to be, so you may have covered this, but have you seen this?

    Jone, so glad you had a good time last weekend. And, no, the hair was not cut. Just barrettes. It’s That Smile that gets me, really.

    Now, Steven, you had to go and make me well up with that beautiful poem. Happy birthday to her! Happy early anniversary to you all! And I love that Fleet Foxes CD. (Is there more than one? I only have the most recent one.)

    John, you’re so right about the nature of kicks. And, my breakfast-of-choice? I had trouble picking! It would have to involve eggs. And bread of some sort. And strong coffee. I’ll think on it to try to be more precise, but can anyone go wrong with breakfast foods? I mean, I don’t think so. The best meal of the day, I say.

    And you made me laugh outloud with your description of the MJ-guy’s other hand.

    And you got the Flip Dictionary! Yes, it was Denise who mentioned that. I must get one for myself….The Lovely Bones is in our queueueueue, but I had no idea it was Peter Jackson. I remember seeing the Oscars last year, and they nominated Stanley Tucci for that role. And they showed a clip, as they’re wont to do, when his name was being called. And it was of his character being disgustingly creepy, and Tucci had the most perfect look on his face afterwards when the camera panned to him — like, should you really be clapping for that man? As in: I know you normally clap here, people, and thank you thank you, but man, I’m uncomfortable! Must have been a hard role to play, to say the very least. (I know little about the story, haven’t read the book, but I know enough.)

    John, kick number one? I mean, really. You are such a talented writer. Hubba whoa. Where do I begin?

    Little Willow: ME, TOO (per that swing comment)! Oh, and PLEASE FEEL BETTER soon and take care of your lovely voice. I haven’t even met you in person yet, but I still can’t imagine you NOT walking around singing. Break a leg with that closing performance today!

    Hi, David! My six-year-old wants me to make french toast. I’ll send her to your place. Lordy, that sounds yummy, the way you made it. Good luck with #4. I wholeheartedly endorse tough love on one’s writing. In my writing this year, I crave it. This might be weird, but I really look forward to working with the editor next year — in the really-tearing-up-our-manuscript stage, that is. I have the thickest skin and want to learn learn learn more.

    Oh, and kick #5 sounds exciting, too. Keep us informed…

    Jill, glad the bowling was fun and hope you wore that loud shirt. Yay for #3, too.

  13. Jules,

    I haven’t seen Emily’s book, though I’ve heard of it — maybe right here?

    Congratulations to you and your wife on your anniversary, Steven. Lovely poem, BTW!!

  14. Jama, I haven’t posted about it yet, though I’d love to — maybe one day if I have time. It’s great. LOVE her.

  15. That opening spread tells so much in its imagery – somehow much more than CNN television disaster-coverage does. Art that evokes empathy – just in the viewing – is a powerful, wonderful, thing. And Watson’s words and subject matter further that experience for children. Good stuff.

    The Ella book and all it conjures up (music that connects and transcends, performers who rise above) dove tails with my own difficult kicks this week. Thanks for sharing.

    Jules – I want to be a book nerd! And your daughter’s exuberance of barrettes paired with that baby-teeth smile… sigh.

    tanita – thanks for the Spike Lee film heads-up.

    jama – yes! spine crack, fresh pages, new book smell. I’m with you.

    jone – congrats on the photo win (I knew it!) and I’ll check out your interview at Tina’s blog (a very generous soul in the kidlit world, herself.)

    Steven – ‘pendulum baby’, who ‘turned the earth’ – ah. love that.

    JES – your frog kick rocks. Here’s to ‘flipping’ your way to more fine writing. : – ) I’ll check out the mockumentary when I’m home with high speed internet.

    (Jules, I’m in Mexico dealing with less-than-desirable internet. You have so much art/vids today that it took close to an hour for your blog page to load!)

    Little Willow – congrats on completed play and fingers crossed on your wealth of auditions. Hey, don’t put off taking care of your vocal malady. The show must go on, but the performer must take serious care before and after the curtain.

    david – a good critique group is a wonderful asset. best of luck.

    Jill – kudos on your volunteer work. And especially kick #6.

    The kicks I would like to share are heartfelt – but tainted. And I debated listing anything today, but then decided in the vein of Little Willow and other brave performers that “the show must go on”. So here they are:

    1. Re-watched the little movie that roared: 2007’s “Once”. I love this film and its story depicting artistic collaboration as a healing force in the world. There are scenes that just floor me: Glen Hansard’s balls out rendition of Lies on an empty street in the dark. His and Marketa’s first duet, Falling Slowing, in the piano store. The recording studio scene where the dismissive sound engineer suddenly HEARS the caliber of music being offered, sits up, and starts working. All just the best moments.

    2. When I saw “Once” back in 2007, I was also struck by the fact that the sad, passionate, Irish guitar player was a dead ringer for my high school boyfriend (curly hair, musical style and all.) I called my first love and told him “You’ve got to take your wife to see this movie with you. She’ll fall in love with you all over again.” He did. She did.

    3. So, I had to say yes when they invited me to come to see the couple featured in that movie in their current incarnation, “The Swell Season”. My husband and I flew up to their concert on Thursday. We had a fine dinner with our old friends then enjoyed two hours of great music, humor, pathos and artistic collaboration. New songs from their album and old songs from the movie rendered with love and skill.

    And then, just before the final song, while Hansard was bantering with the audience and the other musicians and roadies rearranged for the next number – a silent, rigidly-held body crashed down onto the apron of the stage. A despairing man had committed suicide in front of 1,900 concert goers.

    4. No one panicked. Doctors and EMTs in the audience jumped onstage and rendered CPR. All remained hushed, respectful and calm for an hour and a half. (No one could leave, because the ambulance had to make its way up the small and twisting road to the winery amphitheater.)

    5. Such tragedies make me aware of all I have and love. And also, of lost souls around me who might need a kind word or patience or a helping hand.

    6. Most comments on the news posts and the one by The Swell Season were sympathetic and wise.

    7. The band went on the next night in Portland and the next night in Seattle. Dedicated their show suicide prevention, the young man and his family. Their manager stated that like many artists, the band members best processed grief through their art, their music and sharing it with others.

    So, like the tragic opening lay-out you shared today, and the movie “Once”, I have hope, I believe there is healing in art and comfort in collaboration.

  16. Jules,
    I’m working on borrowed computer in Mexico and all the paragraph spaces disappeared in my post. If it’s too hard to read can you add breathing spaces? If you’re busy or it’s okay reading, nevermind.
    Thanks — DD

  17. David E: Good luck with your forthcoming website! Glad that she had fun at camp. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to try challah bread, though I would. I love French toast but now have to have special substitutes, as I’m vegetarian. Welcome back to the photos and art.

    Jill: Thanks for posting that trailer. That’s fantastic! Happy early birthday to him. Three cheers for Project Second Chance – that sounds wonderful! I love monterey jack cheese. Now I want some. 🙂 I combine vegetarian beans, corn, and melted cheese for a bowl of yum.

    Jules: Sing Sing Sing is one of my favorite swing songs. What are some of yours? Have you watched Ball of Fire yet? This lack of voice hurts me just as much if not more emotionally and mentally than it does physically. I’m not exaggerating. Muting me constrains me and dims my shine.

    Denise: I am so sorry that you and everyone there, performers, crew members, and audience members alike had to witness such a thing. My heart ached when I read about the tragedy, and now to know you were there – I’m so sorry. As per the voice, thank you. It stands to reason that such a thing would happen to me right before the weekend, when the doctor’s office is closed, and right when I need it (closing weekend of the show and a big event at work the next two days!)

  18. Oh, Denise. Oh my oh my oh my. How tragic. But I’m glad you did come and share. I’m glad you’re able to fine some goodness in the wake of what happened. Healing in art and comfort in collaboration, that is.

    And this sounds really shallow now, after what you witnessed, but that whole story is another reminder for me to see “Once” already, which so many people have recommended to me.

    Little Willow, it doesn’t get much better than Sing Sing Sing. In the way of contemporary swing, do you like The Squirrel Nut Zippers? They make me instantly happy.

    I don’t like anything that dims your shine, for the record.

  19. LW & Jules, Thanks for the kind words. (And J for adding spaces.) I’m still feeling haunted by the incident — as I am sure most who were there are. The poor man, who couldn’t endure a soured relationship and resulting legal problems. And then all those he involved in his poorly chosen exit (there were children in the audience…) Some things are just too sad. Looking forward to happier kicks next week.

  20. Denise, ye gods… I’d be very surprised if you weren’t still haunted. Good on you for posting about it here. It may sound a little odd, but thank you for doing that.

  21. I’m with John, Denise.

    And, yes, it’s horrifying and so sad. I hope you can come to some peace with it all — and I hope the same for those children.

  22. […] yesterday, I was introduced to another book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson over at 7-IMP.  I see reading both books to students as a way to see how both people and animals can persevere […]

  23. Jules,

    It’s been a really busy summer for me. That’s why I haven’t been blogging as much or leaving comments here as frequently.

    I always love the pictures you post of your two little cherubs. This one is especially cute!


    All my kicks for last week are rolled into one GIANT kick. My husband and I were vacationing on Westport Island, Maine. (We stayed in the same lovely waterfront home where we spent our last three summer vacations.) My daughter and her husband and two close friends joined us for the weekend. A few other friends joined us during the week. Except for one rainy day, we had glorious weather! We cooked, ate outside, drank, conversed, laughed, put together a couple of jigsaw puzzles, played Scrabble…ate and drank some more, relaxed, looked at the beautiful scenery, listened to the sound of lobster boats putt-putting about. I also did some reading and crossword puzzles. That’s MY kind of vacation. I really hated to leave the island! Can’t wait to go back again next year.

  24. Elaine, that. sounds. heavenly. So glad you got away.

  25. The last few posts have been a little like reading my own greatest hits list. I’m crazy about the illustrations of Sean Qualls.

  26. Jules: I have heard (and snapped and boogied) along to some of their songs, but just a few.

    Denise: Statement from The Swell Season.

  27. […] The piece aired on Tuesday, August 28, and prominently features Strickland’s artwork. A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is also earning positive notices from bloggers, including Color Online and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. […]

  28. […] 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #181: Featuring Sean Quallsand Shadra Strickland August 22nd, 2010 &nbsp&nbsp by jules […]

  29. […] {Zetta Elliott’s} Bird, Our Children Can Soar, {Renée Watson’s} A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, {Jerdine Nolen’s} Eliza’s Freedom Road (cover), {Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein’s} […]

  30. […] Strickland (November 8, 2011): “I begin every process with research. For books like Bird, Hurricanes, and White Water, I take a few days to explore the places where the story takes place. I walk the […]

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