This illustration is from an upcoming self-published picture book from husband and wife author and illustrator team, John Seven and Jana Christy. The book is all about anarchy. How much do I love this idea and its execution?
A lot, I tell you.
Jana, as you can see at this link, formerly did freelance illustration work in Boston for major newspapers but now spends most of her time illustrating children’s books and magazines. In addition to writing children’s books, John is a journalist, the arts and entertainment editor at the newspaper where he and Jana live in North Adams, Massachusetts. He is a regular comic book reviewer for Worcester Magazine and often contributes comics-related articles to Publishers Weekly. John (here’s his blog) and Jana got their start in comic books and have published a few picture books. Their most recent title, The Ocean Story, was released by Picture Window Books (Capstone) in January.
“The book,” John told me, “was inspired by the Gulf oil spill last year, an attempt to help really young kids understand it in context of the wider picture of the ocean—both the positives and the negatives—and put it into a format that wrapped age-appropriate information within some poetic flourishes that captured the wonder of it all. Jana and I spend most of our travel opportunities taking our kids to visit the ocean—from Nova Scotia to Costa Rica, over the years—and within those trips devote a lot of our daily routine to exploring the coasts that we stay on pretty intricately, so Jana welcomed the opportunity to express some of that affection and experience in her illustrations.”
But before I show you some spreads from The Ocean Story, let’s take a look at the other anarchy art:
I like this book already.
Now for a peek into The Ocean Story, which I’ve seen and which is a gentle (never finger-wagging) tale about the ocean and taking care of it — and what happens when we don’t. (I have to add that I also really appreciate its very simple explanation as to how we get oil from the earth and why we do so. It’s much easier to read my girls this book than to stumble and stutter over my science and social studies, which I usually do.)
very dark all around them.”
John and Jana started out making comics together. One of their webcomics is Happy Punks, and featured here are some of those cartoons, as well as the cover and some pages from their unpublished Happy Punks book:
Here are three cartoons from another of their webcomics (and here is a Dog & Cat treasury to enjoy):
And here are two illustrations for a middle-grade reader on which they’re currently collaborating:
I thank John and Jana for visiting and wish them well with their careers. John tells me that he and Jana are now represented by Mary Kole at Andrea Brown. It’s an “ultra brand-new arrangement,” he says, and the first time the two of them have had representation as a team. I give them seven cheers. A punk may not cheer, but perhaps a happy punk would. I’ll stop short of spirit fingers, since I don’t think even a happy punk would do that.
Note for any new readers: 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.
1) My Best Kick of All this week was when Tarie referred to us kickers last week (in a comment) as “our family of kickers.” For real, people. I got damn near misty-eyed. We are a family of sorts, aren’t we? And it’s so easy for people these days to leave comments about posts over at places like Facebook, etc. (I’m guilty of this sometimes, too) that when people take the time to come list seven personal-esque kicks, well, I find it almost intimate anymore. I don’t count comments at my blog (oh, just end me if I ever get that serious about it) and I don’t expect comments, but I’m talking about Sundays here, and how the kicks seem so… well, meaningful. When someone takes the time, that is, to share. Anyway. I like you all is what I’m saying. And thanks again, Tarie, for that.
3) Thanks to Sarah at the American International School of Budapest for the sweet/cool nod.
4) Congratulations to Betsy Bird, one of my co-authors, on the birth of her daughter!
5) A wonderful afternoon yesterday of coffee and catching up with two very smart, very fun ladies I know.
6) A new club (of sorts) I inadvertently started.
7) My girls’ Kitty Cat Club, which still meets in The Bottom Bunk. I read to them Esther Averill’s Jenny Linsky stories when they were very young (and they loved them), but we just re-read them and they got even more out of it this time (naturally) — especially given their own recently-formed Kitty Cat Club. (“Loyalty, Fidelity, Truth and Dues” is the motto for the Cat Club Jenny Linsky joins. I think we should just lift that. Don’t you?)
What are YOUR kicks this week?