7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #344: Featuring Lauren Tobia

h1 August 18th, 2013 by jules

The amazing Anna Hibiscus who lives in amazing Africa is back, you all! (I’m not just engaging in hyperbole for fun. “Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa” is how these books tend to open.)

If you’re wondering whom I’m talking about, I’ll send you here, if you’re so inclined to read. That was a 2011 Kirkus column I wrote about the very delightful Anna Hibiscus chapter book series from Kane/Miller. Anna’s appeared in a picture book as well, featured here at 7-Imp in 2011, and now she’s in a new one, Splash, Anna Hibiscus! (also from Kane/Miller). In a nutshell, Anna is a young African girl, living in a commune with her huge family (including a Canadian mother). The series is top-notch reading for children and has been recognized by the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards (2011). The books are written by Atinuke, a Nigerian storyteller, who spent her childhood in both Africa and the UK and now lives in Wales, and illustrated by British artist Lauren Tobia.

In this new story, Anna’s at the beach with her family. She loves the waves but wants to play in the water with a family member — anyone who will just stop being busy to participate in her joy.

Lauren shares some art today (sans text), as well as a couple of sketches. I thank her.

Front endpapers
(Click to enlarge)

Title page illustration
(Click to enlarge)

“‘Joy! Clarity! Common Sense! Will you come and play in the waves with me?’ asks Anna Hibiscus. ‘No, no!’ laughs Joy. ‘We are too big now for playing,’ says Clarity.
‘And we are too busy,’ says Common Sense. Anna Hibiscus stamps away.
She wants to splash in the laughing waves. And she wants to splash with somebody!”

(Click to enlarge)

“”Papa?’ asks Anna Hibiscus. ‘Don’t interrupt,’ says Anna’s father.
‘Wait until I have finished talking.’ Anna Hibiscus waits a long time.
But the men don’t ever stop talking.”

(Click to enlarge)

(Click each to enlarge)

SPLASH, ANNA HIBISCUS! Copyright © 2013 by Atinuke. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Lauren Tobia. Published by Kane/Miller, California. All images used with permission of Lauren Tobia.

* * * * * * *

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) Sam Phillips writes some wise words here. I like how she turns to art in emergencies. I get that.

2) Look. Someone stole my punk rock band name.

3) The Smiths’ lyrics meet Peanuts.

4) Another peek at Neko Case’s forthcoming CD. Looking forward to it.

5) Opportunities.

6) I’m reading Cheryl Strayed’s tiny beautiful things, and in one piece, she writes in a very stinging and funny way about how hard parenthood is, but it’s this below that made me put the book down and mutter, ‘oh, wow’:

[Your children] will also give you everything back. Not just all they take, but many of the things you lost before they came along as well.

7) This is such good news, and Colbert’s take on it made me laugh and cry:

(I was born not far at all from Vicco, Kentucky.)

BONUS: Wasn’t it Emily Dickinson who said, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry”? I had a moment like that this week, reading a poem. It’s a good thing, this feeling. Makes one feel really alive.

ANOTHER BONUS: Look what I stumbled on. Also, I think I lined up my first 2014 post-publication talk about the book—either that or I’m going to talk about picture books in general—in Alabama for a librarians’ conference. And I’ve only been to Alabama once before. It shall be an adventure.

JUST ‘CAUSE… Did you see Dan Santat’s recent book trailer? That Santat makes good trailers:

Here’s another trailer, ’cause I love how MoMA is publishing children’s books now (and, hey, we all got a peek inside this book this past April):

What are YOUR kicks this week? I’m out of town at this moment, but I’ll be back tomorrow to read your kickin’ kicks.

21 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #344: Featuring Lauren Tobia”

  1. Love this latest Anna Hibiscus book too. I did wonder why you describe her as living in a commune. That to me suggests a community of people who decide to live together because of like-minded ideas (and, admittedly, it makes me think of the 60s:),not necessarily related. However, Anna lives in what to me looks like a middle-class extended family situation in West Africa. They are all related and living together in a way that is traditional there, at least in my experience. It is one of the many things I love about the books — the description of the extended family living situation that was so typical when I lived in Sierra Leone in the 70s (when there were still tons of communes in the US).

  2. Yes! You’re right, Monica. I’m using the word way too loosely. My bad.

    And it is, indeed, one of the wonderful things about the book — this living situation.

  3. I love the name, Anna Hibiscus, and the artwork. Unlike her companions, I discovered I wasn’t too old to build sand castles at the beach this summer.
    Jules, I love the Emily Dickinson quote and the Strayed quote.
    Monica, what an experience to live abroad.
    My kicks:
    1. CYBILS applications for judges and panelists opened up this week. Need poetry judges.
    2. Met and had lunch with April Halprin Wayland last Sunday.
    3. I “flew” at Santa Monica Beach with my brother as coach doing acroyoga.
    4. Time with family and friends over the last fifteen days.
    5. Reuniting with pooches after being gone for 15 days.
    6. Book club tonight to start selecting books for the coming year.
    7. Savoring the summer days.
    Have a great week.

  4. Good morning, Imps!

    Anna Hibiscus looks so happy! I love joyful characters (and joyful real people, of course!) Thanks for visiting, Lauren!

    Jules: Yay for Wild Things! You make my heart sing. 😉 I should have know you’d have a punk band. Congrats and good luck with the talks and events to come! Here’s something which contains that Emily quote:
    – and I quoted Emily for Poetry Friday at my blog just two days ago:
    Someday, I will act with Stephen Colbert. Someday.

    Here are my kicks for the past week:
    1) Callback
    2) Wrote multiple plays
    3) Read a fun book
    4) Submitted some things for consideration
    5) Watched a movie
    6) Listened to music (and one of the songs inspired a new screenplay – not written yet, just scribbled down the basic premise)
    7) Rehearsals

    Hi Monica!

    one: Congrats! Be safe out there! I read April’s verse novel Girl Coming in for a Landing.

  5. Hello, Kickers!

    Anna Hibiscus: great premise for a kids’ book. (AH reminds me of The Pooch, kinda. Feels like we’re always telling her little self, like, “Wait… just a minute… be right with you… SOON…”) And I love the front endpapers!

    (I think if I were a book illustrator, I’d require a contract clause for every book, giving me the endpapers to do with as I wished — relevantly, of course, but otherwise open-ended.)

    Very succinct kicks this week, Jules *coughcough*. I went to the Julie Ruin blog and was delighted to see that the (current) most recent post was about Candwiches.

    (If I were someone setting out to preoccupy JES for the better part of a Sunday just following hyperlinks, I’d write your weekly Kicks.)

    Hello, Monica! That’s a very sensitive response to the Anna Hibiscus stuff posted here. Thank you!

    (If I were a children’s book author, I’d want reviewers like you.)

    jone — wow, that must have been some pooch-reunion. We’d planned a sans-Pooch getaway this weekend, which fell through because of weather. But we always look forward to the joyful parting-of-the-heavens barking and spinning in circles when we get back from a trip. (We’re pretty sure she thinks that every time she sees us drive off, she assumes it’s for good. And each day we’re gone just makes the case more convincingly.)

    (If I had one physical-fitness regimen the name of which I’d like to just drop in passing, even if I’d had to make the name up myself, it would be acroyoga.)

    Hey Mizz Willow. Sounds like it was a really good week for you on the creative-writing front! Oh, how I wish I knew what the song was which inspired the new screenplay’s premise (but I do NOT want you to tell us until you take it past the premise stage :)).

    (If I were a responsible Kicker, I’d do my weekly kicks like you do yours…)

    1) New stories
    2) Old comfy-fit software that still works as needed
    3) New software that makes me think, “Where have you been all my computing life?”
    4) Lively minds
    5) Lively talk
    6) Near-miss, sooooo-close movies (like this)
    7) Concision

    Have a great week, all!

  6. P.S. Sorry, Jules — forgot to close off that “coughcough” italicization. HATE when that happens!

  7. Happy Sunday Imps! Love the exuberance and the joy in the illustrations, and perfect for summer too.

    Jules – love the Sam Phillips quote about seeking art in rough times. Hubert Selby Jr. was a big fan of that as well. Years ago when I was lucky enough to interview him, we both shared how we loved going to LACMA on rough days. He liked the paintings, I loved spending time in the Rodin room…

    Hooray for Wild Things coming out! Loved that Colbert report.

    Jone – sounds like a lovely vacation, you are reminding me I have not made it to the coast yet this summer. Dog reunions are the best.

    LW – busy week, as usual! Congrats on the callback!

    JES – New stories, lively minds and lively talk sounds great.

    My kicks:
    1) Yearly kickball tournament last weekend. We lost all our games, but I made a leaping catch from the pitcher’s mound in one & got Game MVP! Even better? Sunny gorgeous day spent with lots of friends.
    2) Kayaking in the Willamette River once a week, sometimes paddling south to the Falls, sometimes north to circle some of the islands.
    3) Seeing a huge sea lion hanging out on a dock this past week. He was branded, which means he is a smart sea lion who swims inland up the Columbia to the Bonneville Dam where he can eat all the salmon. (This is causing uproars on both sides.) I think if the sea lions are smart enough to figure out that’s where the easy fishing is, it’s evolution, and they should be rewarded.
    4) My tomato plants are producing like crazy. I love popping sun-warmed cherry tomatoes into my mouth straight off the vine.
    5) Trying to pick the latest summer dessert – any voters on if it should be a lemon-type dessert or a chocolate one?
    6) Boot camp. Always inspiring.
    7) A picnic with a good friend and her 5 & 2 year old girls at Grant Park at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden. They ran and played in the water surrounded by statues of Ribsy, Ramona & Henry Huggins & it was a lot of fun. My inner-nerd-girl was very happy. It’s been on my list of things to do in Portland for a while.

    Have a great week everyone!

  8. Hi Jules and Jes, it was a pleasure :0) to drop by
    and Jes endpapers are definitely the funnest part ..its the place where you get to have free reign to decorate two pages however you like (relatively)
    cheers Lauren

  9. Lauren, I recently did a blog post about the endpapers of a favorite childhood book which made the same point. I was sort of guessing what must go through an illustrator’s mind, though — so glad I guessed about right!

  10. First off, ‘splash’ is just such a wonderful kid-experience title and perfect for a picture book. Plus Tobia’s depictions of splashing are so joy-filled. (I also am enamored of that RED, red boat on the title page.) I was recently with a toddler who’d just learned the word ‘splash’, and it was a BIG deal. “Splash!” went the rock in her bucket, the ice cube in her mom’s drink and the soap bar in her bathtub. I definitely have to buy this charming book for my little splasher!

    jules – Me thinks you excel at opportunities; you go girl! I really loved the Vicco vid; three cheers for the mayor and all the good folk of Vicco who recognize his hard work for, and equal standing in, the community. Made me happy. #6 – quote is worth some real thought; wow indeed.

    Monica – I wish the extended-family living experience was a more accepted norm in the US. Our amazing independent streak really pays off in some ways, but it has its also has its high costs; and the comfort, safety-net and cultural continuity of families is sometimes one of them.

    jone – what a fun week you had! April H.W. was one of my writing teaches at UCLA and now is one of my peeps in my critique circle; such a smart, generous lady. Small world.

    LW – I love how you jot down, “Wrote multiple plays,” like someone else would write, “Opened several cans of soup.” Geez. Can I hate you (with jealous affection) for a few minutes?

    JES – You description of pooch-POV reunions is priceless. ha! And film, Love, looks interesting!

    Rachel – my in-laws worked at the tourist center at Booneville Dam. When we were visiting and went to the salmon-ladder viewing area (where college researchers count salmon and tourists watch them pass the dam) we’d sometimes see a seal swim by in pursuit.
    I’m with you and the Humane Society thinking the clever, industrious seals should be left alone.

    My kicks:
    1. Dinner with old friends who have become their best wise, kind, humble selves.

    2. Dinner with old friends who have remained their zany, questing, unapologetic selves.

    3. Watching a writer acquaintance’s YA novel debut and her dedicated work rewarded. : – )

    4. Watermelon & tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette (so good together! Who knew?)

    5. Asking a favor.

    6. Reading a Lewis Carroll biography by Carpenter. There is a fabulous excerpt (pg. 16) from a letter his father, the elder Rev. Dodgson, wrote. The missive to young Charles is filled with dry off-the-wall humor, w-a-y out there, but very properly put; it explains a lot about his family’s wit.

    7. Watching Elysium a 2nd time, this time on an IMAX screen. Whoa. Yep, it’s graphically violent, but it also asks the right questions. Director Neil Blomkamp is a thoughtful fellow worth watching. I especially liked two of the supporting actors: Wagner Moura as Spider, and Diego Luna as Julio. Breakout performances, both.

    Have a good week kickers!

  11. Fly by kicks in the car on the way home from Provincetown with the family (a kick in itself).
    This week I ate ice cream, swam in the ocean, saw fireworks on the beach, met Aaron Becker (his book is so beautiful) and bought some things from my favorite store in Ptown.
    Have a great week all.

  12. Denise, it is a small world. Was so much fun.

  13. Greetings, all! Sorry I’ve been neglectful of everyone. I’ve fallen in love, you see… with my ukulele! Yes, yes, I went to guitar camp with my guitar, and came back with not only a renewed commitment to the guitar but a new passion for a four stringed instrument that sounds perky, even when I play the sad songs like “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (The answer to that, of course, is, “In the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shine, I’d shiver the whole night through.–Lead Belly)

    I enjoyed the joyful illustrations! Have a lovely week, everyone. May you have an abundance of kicks in your lives.


  14. Farida: I hope you and your ukelele are very happy together. Yay! 🙂

    Moira: That sounds like an awesome week.

    Denise: It was a good week. And so shall this new week be!

    Thanks, Rachel.

    JES: We’ll see what happens. It has to hang out in the queue for a bit…

  15. I love the buoyancy of these sketches and paintings and look forward to learning all about Anna’s world (just heard that the first book about her I ordered has arrived!) Thanks for this and for many other eye opening posts.

  16. Jone: Enjoy the last summer days. (When do you all start school again?) You’ve made the most of your summer, too, which is kickin’. I’ll have to look up what acroyoga is.

    Little Willow: My, you’re prolific (as always). And I don’t *actually* have a punk rock band. That was just so-to-speak or as-if.

    JOHN! Good work! (Little Willow, you need to know that John and I were discussing this week how succinct and lovely your kicks always are and that we’d challenge ourselves to try to do one-work kicks like you. I knew I couldn’t do it this week, but maybe soon?) … Now I want to see the movie you linked to, even if you call it a near-miss. Looks intriguing.

    Rachel, MVP! Congrats! … I vote for lemon, still it’s still technically summer. You’re inspiring me now. My husband and I decided to bake weekly desserts for the girls (and us), instead of, say, store-bought cookies. Now, BOTH are bad for us, but the former is at least high-fructose-corn-syrup free and such. So, I might have to find a lemony dessert, too. … You had such a good, rich week, Rachel. Amen to that.

    Lauren, thanks again for sharing.

    Denise, your friends sound like people I’d like to meet. And now I gotta add Elysium to the queueueueueue. Why haven’t I seen it?

    Moira: Fly-by hi! So great that you met Aaron. You, like Jone, are making the most of the summer, too. Didn’t your children start school this week, or am I imagining that?

    Farida: I want a performance!

    Hi, Elisa! Enjoy the books!

  17. These are some of the most joyful books around. I was so happy when I first discovered them, and so glad they continue to arrive.

  18. Two and a half more weeks until school starts.

  19. Jules, I am thinking of this:


    I’m with you and your husband on the homemade treats being better for them…plus, its way more fun to make goodies at home!

    Denise – Elysium was already on my list, but now its a must-see.

  20. Hi, Tricia. Joyful, indeed.

    Moira: Enjoy the final weeks.

    Rachel: DROOL. Unfortunately, the girls said they don’t want lemon-y treats. We made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I’ll have to make these for MYSELF.

  21. I enjoyed reading this! Just found this blog! This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.