I know that tomorrow we celebrate President’s Day and that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has already passed, so forgive my blatant disregard of the calendar here. But I wanted to show a few illustrations from a book I meant to highlight in January. (Not to mention we should celebrate King any day of the year. For a more presidential post, should that be your desire today, see my Kirkus column from yesterday.)
Shane W. Evans’ We March, released last month by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, is the simple and elegantly-told account of one family’s march in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Filled with just nine short sentences (and I mean some as short as “We sing”), Evans lets the focus here be on the people involved, shining a spotlight on their determination and spirit. I love what Evans does with lines (what the Publishers Weekly review calls his “angular characters”) and how you can see his very brushstrokes on the characters’ faces — and even in the textured backgrounds. (The art I’ve got here today, though not a lot and not full spreads, speaks way better than I, so be sure to take a look.)
With a palette getting progressively warmer as the story unfolds, it culminates in a luminescent spread of King himself giving his historic speech, the sun rising in shimmering yellows behind his head. It’s lovely.
Last month, Evans received the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award for Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom (covered here at Calling Caldecott in mid-December), released in January of last year. If I were organized, I’d have art from that to show you, too, but do you know I haven’t even read that one yet? Egads, it is true. I will certainly look for it.
Here’s a bit more art from We March. Enjoy.
WE MARCH. Copyright © 2012 by Shane W. Evans. Published by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, New York. Images used with permission of publisher.
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.
Before I get to kicks, let me mention that the 2011 Cybils Awards were announced this week. If you missed it, the winners are here.
1) As mentioned earlier and briefly this week, I had the pleasure of jurying the 2012 BolognaRagazzi Award for the 2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy last weekend. I’m very grateful to have had the chance to see all that international children’s book art. Just fascinating.
The winners will be announced soon.
2) Lucky me, I got to meet Cristiana Clerici in person. Looky here!
That is us having lunch. I would just like to point out the following comments I made previously at 7-Imp:
- From this November 2010 post: “I may not be able to fly to Italy and have coffee with the ebullient and very smart children’s-lit blogger Cristiana Clerici…but every once in a blue moon I pull myself together and have something that might resemble a clever idea. And in September of this year, it was to invite Cristiana to 7-Imp, whenever the mood strikes her, to help me shine the spotlight on international picture book titles…”
- From this December 2010 post: “It’s some eye-popping stuff, and I love that Cris (I’m gonna call her Cris, as if we’re best friends way over in Italy who have cappuccinos and, I dunno, hazel cinnamon rolls and mini frittatas every morning while gabbing about picture books in a small, rustic cafe in some remote Italian town) … Where was I? Oh, I love that Cris stops by here to show us what unpredictable and peculiar (this is a compliment) stuff is happening in contemporary picture books over in Europe…”
Well, amazingly enough, I finally got to meet her, though hazel cinnamon rolls and mini frittatas were not involved. And Cris is just as generous and kind as she is online, and I could have talked to her all day. I’m so grateful I got to meet her in person.
3) This book shop in Bologna, called Giannino Stoppani, is simply incredible. I’d like to move in. Pictured below is the owner, Grazia Gotti, along with my fellow jury member for the awards, French book designer Raymond Stoffel. (Raymond and I had time on Sunday to sightsee, so of course we went there first — and spent most of the day there with the wonderful bookshop owners.) Below that are a few more pics of the shop.
4) Sightseeing in Bologna. Here is but one picture — from inside Basilica di San Petronio.
5) There was record snow while I was there. Folks kept apologizing, which made me giggle. AS IF I wouldn’t take Italy in the snow any ‘ol day. This is how much snow there was: Below is my leg after having stepped into a snowdrift.
6) The good, good food in Bologna: The cappuccinos (and, generally, the coffee culture in Italy), the wine, the tortellini, the tiramisu. Mmm. Did I mention I feel so lucky I got to go?
7) The lovely people I met. I had no idea what to expect when I got there. And everyone was kind, it went really well, I learned an awful lot, and as mentioned, I got to see a lot of beautiful illustrated books from all over the world. What more could a girl want?
Here’s a group shot. Pictured below, from left to right, are the following people: Professor Antonio Faeti, jury chair and all-around brilliant person (and to whom I promised a cowboy hat from Nashville); Stephanie Johnson, our interpreter; Roberta Chinni, Project Manager for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair; Manuela Capraro, international fair organizer extraordinaire; Raymond Stoffel, fellow jury member; and myself. Seated is children’s lit critic, researcher, art expert, journalist, and consultant to the Fair, Carla Poesio. (Think Jack Zipes, but in Italy. Carla is also brilliant, by the way. Remarkably so.)
[Note the interpreter's snow boots. It was VERY snowy. She is wise to have brought those.]
I already miss hearing Italian (and French) and still hear them in my head as I fall asleep each night.
I might have said “grateful” or “lucky” a whole bunch of times in this post, but that’s how I feel for this opportunity.
BONUS KICK, QUICKLY: Darrell Scott (pictured below, ’cause he’s a bad-ass) released a new CD. He has one of my favorite voices in all the world. If you go to this page of his site, you can hear some tune-age (old and new). If you scroll down and listen to “Long Time Gone,” your day will get better. PROMISE.
Also, my mother gave me a stack of Hot Rize CDs. Score.
QUICK NOTE for interested folks, which I promised to pass along: Francesca Simon, the author of the Horrid Henry books, will be speaking at an Authors Live event. You can hear all about her life as a writer and her anti-hero, Henry. The event is geared to ages ages 5-12 and fans of the series. It will be streamed live to audiences across the UK at 11am on World Book Day (Thursday, March 1st). It will then become available to watch again for free by Thursday, March 8th, for everyone across the world. You can see the event live by following this link. If you can’t make the live broadcast, the entire event can be downloaded or streamed for free from next Thursday, following the same link.
What are YOUR kicks this week?