7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #311
(New Year’s Edition): Featuring Elisa Kleven

h1 December 30th, 2012 by jules


(Click to enlarge)

Instead of featuring a brand-new picture book today or an up-and-coming illustrator, I’ve got artwork from one of my favorite picture book artists, Elisa Kleven.

The new year is upon us, and when I thought about sharing artwork as we edge up on 2013, some art that would buoy our spirits, I immediately thought of her.

Elisa sent me a handful of illustrations, and it was hard to choose which to share (for many reasons, I’m going to keep this post relatively short and sweet this week), but I chose the one above, and these two:



(Click each to enlarge)

May you all party hard in the new year—or spend it quietly, if you so choose—and may there be fireworks of one sort or another in your 2013.

Oh, and peace. Here’s hoping we all have peace — in many directions and in many ways and in many hearts and brains.

All artwork is by Elisa Kleven and used with her permission.

* * * * * * *

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. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Looking through Elisa’s artwork and having to choose several from many beautiful pieces is a good problem to have.

2) Betsy Bird and I heard from our editor just this week that our manuscript needs no more revising (!) and is where it needs to be and is ready for copy edits.

3) Champagne was had! I not only raised my glass to Betsy (all the way from Tennessee in the direction of New York), but I raised it to Peter, too, whom I miss and who would have been so excited about this news.

4) I tend to annually feel some slight post-holiday let-down—it’s easy when you have young children who get so psyched about the holidays and for whom opening presents on Christmas morning is the Best Five Minutes of the Year—and sometimes I think that New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions are rather over-rated. Also, trying to figure out something fun to do on New Year’s Eve when you have young children? Oh, sweet Mother of Dale Earnhardt.

HOWEVER … I don’t know precisely why, but this year I’m feeling it, and I have actual Things I Want To Do in 2013 in my head (I refuse to call them “resolutions” — too much pressure), and I say: Bring on the new year.

I’m sure part of my excitement is that our Candlewick book (see kicks two and three!) will be released this year. Whoa.

5) I’m working this week on 7-Imp’s 2012 recap—I hope to post it tomorrow—and it reminds me how much I love writing about picture books. And having such smart people over here at the 7-Imp salon to talk about them.

6) My eight-year-old daughter had two things on her Christmas wish list: LEGOs and a book light. I love that kid. The book light was for all the times she’s told to stop reading in the back of the car after the sun’s already gone down.

The seven-year-old had a TWO-PAGE wish list. With COLUMNS. I love her, too, and she knows it, even when I say things to both of them like, “whoever brings me my [fill in the blank here -- usually, it's 'big, warm blanket' or 'slippers'] will be my favorite kid.”

7) My last kick? When my girls sleep-over with their friend, but mama stays, too, and the two mamas of the girls have pizza and wine and watch movies and just totally crash. A soul needs that every so often, especially after holiday chaos. That’s what we did last night.

I LIED. THIS IS MY LAST KICK: If you watch anything this week, watch this from author/illustrator Christoph Niemann.

What are YOUR kicks this week? Also, Happy New Year, you Imps! What are your “resolutions”? I’m putting that in quotes, since I refuse to say it. Really. The poor resolutions of the world. So much PRESSURE put on them, bless their hearts.

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30 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #311
(New Year’s Edition): Featuring Elisa Kleven”

  1. CONGRATULATIONS JULES!! Woot woot! What wonderful news about your manuscript!

    What perfect illustrations for this post too- they are so joyful and warm.

    That evening of sleepovers with wine pizza and movies sounds pretty great too.

    I watched the link to the Christopher Nieman piece and was moved to tears – so sweet and genuine – all of it.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Had a small party with friends this weekend at my house. Lots of wine, beer, food, kids and parents and dogs – it was nice to have my house so full of laughter.
    2) Introducing different friends to each other – more Firefly fans connecting! And some geeking out about the sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog.
    3) Finished Season 1 of the West Wing. Cannot wait to start Season 2.
    4) Reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.
    5) Planning wine tasting trips.
    6) My friend and her 5 year old singing “Sisters” for all of us. They’d just watched White Christmas and she loved the movie as much as her mama.
    7) Taking some time off this week. I love the holidays, but get a little melancholy too, so I like to spend some time alone to reflect, recharge and get inspired about life and all the things headed my way in the coming year. Jules, I’m with you, New Year’s Eve is over-rated, but I am deeply in favor of mimosas on New Year’s Day. I’ll raise my mimosa glass in your direction to toast your manuscript success, and subsequent book success. 8)

    Happy New Year everyone – been such a pleasure to spend another year of Sundays kicking with all of you – wishing all of you all good things in 2013.


  2. Good morning, Imps! Happy holidays!

    Hi Elisa. Your name is awesome. Your peace piece is pretty.

    Jules & Betsy: Congrats, and good luck with the copy editing!

    Jules: Something fun to do on NYE: Celebrate everyone’s accomplishments, things they are proud of doing this past year, and writing down favorite things (colors, song, movie, sport, food) then comparing them next year to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same! Glad that you & yours are doing well. :)

    Rachel: That’s the best song in that movie – or at least the most fun!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Visiting family!
    2) Writing
    3) Leverage*
    4) Breathing
    5) Layers
    6) Scrabble
    7) Music

    * For those of you just tuning in, I love the TV show Leverage. I watched it from the very first episode until the last – the series finale aired on Christmas evening – and I enjoyed every second of it. Please give the show a try – rent/buy the DVDs/episodes, whatever method you prefer – if you like one or more of the following things:
    Bad guys getting their comeuppance a la Robin Hood
    Justice (see above)
    Atypical heroes (The main characters are a thief, a grifter, a hacker, a ‘retrieval specialist’ aka the muscle, and a ‘mastermind’ of a leader who has a personal crusade)
    Action (great stuntwork!)
    Romance (connection and commitment, not smut)
    A great mix of drama and comedy
    Character arcs, character growth, and general awesomeness
    :)


  3. Good Sunday morning, Jules!
    I am so very happy for you and Betsy that the revisions have been excepted. I can hardly wait to hold that book in my hands.
    Plus your daughters are a true delight; thanks for sharing with us.
    The Christoph Niemann piece touched me deeply. I’ve watched it repeatedly.

    So glad Rachel you been able to spend time with family and friends plus the pause to reflect.

    My kicks this week:
    1. Getting a couple of good pics of the full moon on a crisp clear night.
    2. Finding a good soup mix (Frontier Soups) for a Chicken Stew. Most of those mixes are so-so. I’d rather make from scratch but this was…yummy
    3. Reading through my Christmas book collection and being a guest writer on another blog about favorite books of the season.
    4. Getting a gift certificate for one of my favorite stores, going there the day after Christmas and finding my favorite ornaments were 1/2 off.
    5. Good friends
    6. Crackling fires
    7. Walks with my furry friend Xena. She’s lying at my feet as I write.

    I, too, am wishing everyone a Happy New Year. May 2013 be the best one yet.


  4. Happy New Year Imps!
    I love Elisa’s festive, bright pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Jules- Congratulations to you and Betsy. Peter’s legacy lives on in this book. I can’t wait to read it.
    I watched the video. I remember catching this exact clip of “Fresh Air” in the car on my lunch break and having to wipe away my tears before going back to work. Beautiful.
    Thank you for all of your wonderful postings in 2012. Here is to lucky ’13!
    Rachel- Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday and that you are already planning a wonderful year. I raise my glass of craft beer to you.
    Kicks?!
    Yes, this weeks kicks felt like kicks in the way that I have to get some ice and ibuprofen to recover.
    1. Sunday we had a big Holiday party that was much fun, full of food and drinks and hugs.
    2. Monday we drove off-Cape for a traditional Italian Christmas Eve where we re-enacted a photo of my family from 1984. http://atlanticmo.tumblr.com/post/38760280173/then-and-now-christmas-mikebirch-brickems
    3. Christmas Day – presents, brunch, family, food, drink, family, food, drink, Yankee Swap
    4. Wednesday, I had the day off to stay mostly in my pjs.
    5. & 6. Went to work for a couple of days to relax and not cook.
    7. I cut my hours at work to have more time to spend in the art studio. I am having a careful-what-you-wish-for moment. My hope for 2013 is to use this time wisely.

    P E A C E


  5. Happy New Year Margie and Xena!
    (I passed you in cyberspace)


  6. Peace and peaceful illustrations are the perfect ending for the year. Thanks, Elisa.
    Jules, here’s to finished edits and sleepovers.
    Rachel, time off is rather lovely isn’t it? And parties with friends.
    Margie, the full moon was beautiful this week. So are crackling fires.
    Moira, yay for more time in the art studio.
    My kicks:
    1. Family time Christmas Eve and Day.
    2. Family time in Medford, OR for the last three days.
    3. Snowfall w/o sticking.
    4. CYBILS finalists will be announce on Tuesday!
    5. Passing poetry books out for 26 acts of kindness.(See Poetry Friday post)
    6. Reading Poison by my late friend, Bridget Zinn on NetGalley. So fun.
    7. Kindness.
    Happy New Year.


  7. Oh Jules. What a perfect post. This year, instead of resolutions (which always seem to be a big flop for me!), I decided I would chose a word for the year and then try to live that word in whatever ways made sense. The word that came immediately to mind was ‘peace’. Looks like your post just sealed my decision!

    Happy New Year to you Jules and to all the fabulous kickers here!!


  8. Happy New Year to you Jules and to everyone who stops by here! Perfect celebratory images. Congratulations on completing your book!

    1. The day or two after all of the relatives leave and we’re back to just enjoying the quiet company of our immediate familly.
    2. The Christmas festivities…esp. family bowling.
    3. Registering for M.S. courses about children’s literature.
    4. A supportive husband who is taking my trips to Illinois for graduate school in stride.
    5. Fires in the fireplace. We had 3 cords of wood delivered this week, which is an aweful lot of firewood.
    6. Enjoyed writing a year end post at Delightful Children’s Books and thinking back on the fun I have had this past year. I no longer ask myself why I blog. It has been a very satisfying year.
    7. Last but not least, you joining us to help promote International Book Giving Day. Thanks! I think it will once again be fun.


  9. Rachel, aw, thanks in advance for the glass-raising, and I’ll do the same for you. We will face down the over-rated-ness of New Year’s, damn skippy, and we will tell it to SCRAM. … Your party sounds super fun, and I also love matchmaking friends. Also, your words remind me to watch the first season of West Wing. … Again, I’ll raise my glass to you on New Year’s, and I hope it’s a good one for you.

    Margie, my next house has GOTTA have a fireplace, so I can have crackling fires. I’m jealous of yours. … Your week sounds so good. I hope your New Year’s is wonderful, too.

    Moira: “Peter’s legacy lives on in this book.” DANG. You made me cry. But it’s true, isn’t it? … Thank YOU for sharing your artwork at 7-Imp this year. It’ll show up again tomorrow in the big, massively massive 7-Imp recap. … OOH! More time in the studio? For real? Congrats! Using time wisely when you work from home is, indeed, challenging, and one of my goals in the new year is to be better about that, though I’m fairly okay to begin with. (Still, always room for improvement.) … I saw that family photo on Facebook and LOVE it. So, so cool. Happy new year, Moira!

    Jone: Tuesday? Already? That’s exciting. So glad you had a good time with your family. Happy new year to you, too!

    Stacey: I’m PUH-SYCHIC! Glad that you and my post were on the exact same wavelength. Just yesterday I saw a Honesdale pic, and I’m still so grateful I got to meet you in person there. Happy 2013 to you.


  10. p.s. Moira: What is a Yankee Swap?


  11. Amy, I passed you in cyberspace, and I said, WAAAAITTT UP!

    I love your sixth kick. A lot. I always say I’ll stop blogging when I no longer enjoy it, but it hasn’t happened yet in six years. I’m looking forward to Book Giving Day. Thanks again for asking me. What courses did you register for? DO TELL!


  12. Little Willow, the spam-catcher, for some reason, tried to eat your comment for breakfast, but I just released the hounds. Sorry ’bout that.

    I will have to add Leverage to the ‘ol queueueueueue. I keep saying that, but it involves Jason Isaacs (yes?), and that means I really will.

    So glad you got to visit family and had a good week. I bet you’re the BEST PERSON to have around on New Year’s, and thanks for the suggestions.


  13. LW, missed you. Portland is sorry to see Leverage go. Will borrow from the library.


  14. Good morning and good upcoming New Year’s to you, Kickers!

    Boy, those first two illustrations from Elisa Kleven were NICE — like pointillist Van Goghs. And the third one was a nice complement: kind of… snuggle-worthy.

    Truly loved that Christopher Niemann piece, Jules. (It was practically mad for you, I think.) Thanks for sharing it.

    And here’s MORE CHAMPAGNE for you, Betsy, and Peter! I wish Liz Lemon were here with us right now so she could exult in some appropriately idiosyncratically lunatic phraseology.

    (Btw, we have to take New Year’s celebrations very seriously here — it’s The Missus’s birthday, and woe to anyone who doesn’t see it through the Christmas fog. :) )

    Rachel – loved seeing you here early! (Usually, time zone difference I guess, I don’t get to see your Sunday comments until I revisit 7-Imp days later.) That scene you paint with all the humans and the “provisions” and Firefly talk and all the dogs is, I think, just about exactly the first sort of scene in which I’d picture you happy. (Although chowing your way through ‘West Wing’ episodes might be a close second.)

    Hi, Margie! You very modestly declined to provide us a link to your guest blog entry, so I hope you don’t mind that I did a little investigating and found it here. I don’t know The Clown of God but after reading your review (or rather, your story) that’s a lapse I’ll have to resolve by next Christmas. Thank you!

    Oh, Moira – what great then-and-now photos! Did the “traditional Italian Christmas Eve” include one of those feasts, um, whatchamacallems, Seven Seas or Seven Fishes or whatever? (Said the cross-cultural naif, clearly over his head.)

    Hey there, jone – happy New Year, and I’ve saved some of the champagne from the Jules-Betsy-Peter toast for a glass raised to the Northwest. I loved my one (few-days) visit there, 20 years ago, and can barely imagine how beautiful it must be with a non-sticky snowfall. :)

    Kicks, well…

    1. UK/SkyOne two-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. Probably mostly for fans, but here‘s the first 2+ minutes of it. So happy to have found it on Netflix streaming (with closed captions, even!).
    2. The Pooch’s manic hey-wait-me-too! gift-unwrapping on Christmas morning.
    3. The phrase “in a nutshell.” I mean, really.
    4. We had last-minute surprise additions to the Christmas-dinner guest list. I won’t say it didn’t make things a little… touch-and-go, let’s say. But somehow The Missus managed to make the meal work. It was spectacular.
    5. Our annual December 23rd dinner-date. This year was #20 in the tradition!
    6. The Missus and I gave each other just like a single inexpensive gift this year. Instead of the usual foofaraw, we started a fund for an extended road trip (with The Pooch) next summer. So there’s already a sense of delightful suspense for the upcoming payoff.
    7. Setting aside several hours just for computer gaming (some old favorites, not new ones). Haven’t done that for years.

    Have a happy New Year’s Eve/Day, all, and a delightful 2013!

    P.S. I just realized — perspective is everything — that doing 7 kicks here each week, or close to it, means that we’ve each accumulated hundreds of different Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things over the past year. Is that not remarkable, in a culture which sometimes seems to reward bad news and cynicism?!? Thank you, Jules (and Eisha, wherever you are!), for making it possible!


  15. Holy smokes, missed a lot while I was wool-gathering there…

    Little Willow, yay! for the exclamation pointed kick #1! (And I LOVE that you came up with SEVEN things to love about Leverage.)

    Stacey, another vote here for your word to live by. (Followed by a heartfelt amen.)

    Hi, Amy — congratulations on the grad-school Kicks. And 3 cords IS a lot… but I’d love to see that much wood just stacked up and daring winter to come a-knockin’. :)


  16. Congratulations, Jules and Betsy, on completing your edits! (I get a lump in my throat when I think about Peter — I miss reading his words.) Glad you had a nice holiday!

    Here’s a new poem of mine, part distant memory and part recent memory:

    Taunton River in December
    By Steven Withrow

    The geese are eating day-old bread
    From the children’s winter-mittened fists.
    These ganders, intermittent guests,
    If anything, are overfed,

    For it’s the ducks we’ve come to stuff
    With crusts of dough. In rills of slop
    That spill above the river top,
    Grass blades touched with feather-fluff

    Skitter like mice beneath our boots
    Beside the begging waterfowls
    Which trail us, intimate as owls,
    Nipping the tails of our snowsuits.

    Greenhead mallard and his brown
    And unrelenting hen advance
    Orange feet, a feasting dance
    One only meets this far from town.


  17. P.P.S. Crap, crap, crap – Jules, that “mad for you” should have been “MADE for you.” Duh.


  18. Margie: Yay for the full moon, and for good books and good deals! Hi to Xena.

    Moira: MAJOR kudos on your decision to rearrange your time. Stay hopeful! I hope you are feeling better.

    Jone: Good luck to everyone involved in the Cybils, from the readers and judges to the organizers to the nominees.

    Jone and Jules: Enjoy the show! :) Let me know what you think if/when you watch it.

    Jules: Jason Isaacs is not in Leverage, but Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge, and Christian Kane are.

    Hello to Steven and the geese!

    Stacey: May your year be peaceful and pleasant.

    Amy: Congrats on your registeration and education!

    JES: Pets often like the gift wrap better than the gift, don’t they? How funny – I didn’t count those reasons, so listing seven items was a happy accident!


  19. Came back to catch up on everyone’s week. I love reading your news and views.

    Little Willow: I caught the final episode of Leverage being an on again, off again watcher. I’ll have to watch all the episodes now. I always liked it when I watched.

    Moira: A day in PJs is like a bit of heaven.

    Jone: Love the idea of passing out poetry books.

    Amy: It’s been ages since I’ve been bowling; sounds like fun.

    JES: Saving for an extended trip with the Pooch is a great idea. Keep us posted on the destination.

    Steven: Your poems are a true pleasure to read.


  20. PS Touched and many thanks JES for taking the time to look up my guest blog post.


  21. So perfect to share Elisa Kleven’s wonderful, twinkling art on these dark days!

    Congrats on the book (CANNOT wait to read it) & Happy New Year!


  22. I’ve been a lurker for way too long. The Klevin picture is pure magic and joy and i think my word for the new year is ENJOY. Tired of shoulds and ought to’s…
    1. Watching the next generation; grown daughters and nephews, take up the mantle for holiday traditions. Giving me a chance to relax and enjoy for a change
    2. spending christmas days in my pj’s watching Rizzoli and Isles marathon all day.
    3. finishing “the likeness” by T. French. Now caught up and on to her newest title.
    4. dinner and a movie with hubby. don’t care what the critics say – we enjoyed “Jack Reacher”
    5. scrabble with dear friend.
    6. quite times at work
    7. magic of christmas lights; especially midnight candlelight service.

    Happy New Year All!


  23. Yes, we had the seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. The Baccala is my favorite.
    Yankee Swap is a game played by us thrifty New Englanders where each person brings one wrapped gift and by lottery we take turns unwrapping a gift and choosing to keep it or to swap (whether the person wants to give up their gift or not) with someone else. A sense of humor and low gift expectations is required to play. It is sometimes called, “White Elephant” or “Dirty Santa”.
    I love the idea of having a word for the year. “Failure” was my word for 2012, as in not being afraid to fail. We’ll see what this year will bring. Maybe “Lucky” in honor of 2013.


  24. I have holiday day-confusion and thought today was Sunday! So I have not got any kicks ready. However, the many rich kicks here today have made for a lovely end-of-year treat. As John said, we’ve had hundreds of wonderful moments shared here on this site this year – thanks to all who share kicks but especially to Jules for hosting us (with great bonus illustrations) every week! Happy New Year, everyone!


  25. John, you win Comment of the Year, I boldly say, for your very nice (and astute) closing note, as well as your very happy kicks. Happy birthday to The Missus! I LOVE your gift idea, and I’m glad your meal (with surprise guests) worked out. Thanks for the link, too. I shall explore. p.s. I like the phrase “mad for you,” too, so it’s all good.

    Thanks for the poem, Steven. It’s nice when you stop by and drop off some beauty.

    Hi, Debbie, and thanks!

    Hi, Ally. Welcome! New person! WOOT! Lots of exclamation marks there, but very warranted. … I thought Jack Reacher got *good* reviews. Anyway, glad you liked it. We saw Silver Lining Playbook the other night, and it’s chock full ‘o’ good, good acting. I like your kick #7, Ally. I like bells at this time of year, too.

    Aha, Moira. Yes, I know that game, but I’ve never heard it called that. Thanks.

    Not sure what my word of the year would be. I’ll think on it.

    Emmaco, shucks. Thanks. I couldn’t do it without you all. And, hey, it’s still Sunday here.

    And I hear you on the holiday confusion. Makes one’s head swim sometimes, huh?

    Happy New Year to all!


  26. Margie: Good times, good times.

    Ally: Welcome out from the lurking shadows! Nice to meet you!

    Hi emmaco!


  27. Congratulations, Jules! I love Elisa’s artwork. I had planned to comment yesterday, but we ended up having a spontaneous, social-filled day. Dude, that almost never happens. First, friends of ours invited us out to ice-skate. Those friends went on to other things afterward, but the rink, we found other friends who were keen to have lunch together afterward. By the time we got home, we were sated and tired. It was a lovely day.


  28. [...] world and in myself but I still couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. And then I read one of my favorite blogs this morning and the image above was the first I saw. It looked like peace would indeed be my [...]


  29. Ah, emmaco — I wondered where you might’ve been. Holiday day-confusion, you say. But you don’t fool me. I just know that’s a plain-English translation for a phrase along the lines of “I just had a fair dinkum of a wolligog, Mate.”


  30. John: HA. Things would be … paler without emmaco around, huh?

    Farida: I think that Being Out and Having Fun and That Keeping You Busy is the perfect kicky reason to not come and leave kicks. I’m jealous of all your friends that get to spend time in person with you.


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