7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #373:
Featuring Sophie Benini Pietromarchi

h1 March 16th, 2014 by jules

(Click to enlarge)

In The Color Book, to be released by Tara Books next month, Sophie Benini Pietromarchi explores color with child readers in a multitude of ways. “If you ask me,” she writes on page one, “I would have preferred to color quietly, instead of talking. I’m marking this great white page with blue ink, but ideally, I would rather not have written any words at all. Color speaks for itself better than words can — you can ‘feel’ color, and it goes straight to your heart.” But despite this, she notes, she wrote the book to invite children to “get to know colors” — by playing with them, contemplating their subtleties and meanings, considering the emotions that they evoke. It’s what she calls a color dance.

It’s a book both poetic and practical. She opens by relaying the feelings she remembers from her childhood — all based on colors. She then explores what colors are capable of by creating a character for each one (the Red Dragon, Mrs. Brown Snail, etc.), and she further discusses colors and moods by devoting an entire chapter to them. In the book’s second section, “The Basics,” she discusses such things as primary colors, complementary colors, and contrasting colors. And she closes the book by suggesting readers create their own books that explore color; her suggestions for readers’ color books are detailed, and child readers could easily follow along.

Pietromarchi, who both wrote and illustrated the book, uses collages, photos, and found objects in nature to lay it all out, and with an infectious passion for art, she invites readers to make connections and create art meaningful to them.

Here are a few more spreads …

“Yellow is a Bird of Paradise — wearing a flowery scent. Her eyes are two glowing lanterns, and she lives in a castle of straw with a thousand rooms. …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)

“Here’s a sunny, laughing face. And the surrounding colors are equally happy — cheerful, strong and direct.”
(Click to enlarge)

” … I was thinking of Ms Yellow who carries a lemon in her yellow bag;
or a startled blue goat whose milk is made of ink …”

(Click to enlarge and see full text)

THE COLOR BOOK. Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Benini. Translated from the original Italian by Guido Lagomarsino and edited by Gita Wolf. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tara Books, UK and India.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

My daughter, who turned ten years old this week, is having a birthday party sleep-over, so needless to say, I can hardly focus now. (Our house is tiny. It’s LOUD.) Consider it a minor miracle if anything I typed above makes any sense whatsoever, so I’ll forego kicks this week, except to say I’m extra grateful to have had the pleasure of my daughter’s company for ten whole years now.

Also, remember this August 2013 up-and-coming illustrator feature with Kate Berube? I’m happy to say she’s signed with an agent. News like this makes me want to do jazz hands AND spirit fingers. Check it out:


What are YOUR kicks this week?

19 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #373:
Featuring Sophie Benini Pietromarchi”

  1. Love the collages for The Color Book, and so happy that the talented Kate Berube has signed with an agent!

    Early this week as I have an early morning tomorrow.

    Jules – hope the loud sleepover was super fun for the 10 year old! (And that you have an easy recovery.)

    My quick kicks:

    1) Cut the grass for the first time this year – yay spring!
    2) Date night. It was great. That is all.
    3) Finally painted my hallway this weekend – very happy with the finished result – color is Platinum Band – totally works with my color palette.
    4) Beer, pizza, and a friend to help me paint.
    5) Lobster mashed potatoes from date night dinner. Heaven.
    6) Tv show Parenthood. Love it even though it makes me cry.
    7) The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders – very fun if you like Wes Anderson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSEzGDzZ1dY

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  2. I will be adding The Color Book to my next order. I already have a couple of people in mind who will love this book. Thanks to Sophie and Jules for sharing.

    The noise of a house filled with a ten-year-old birthday celebration sounds wonderful. Hope all was glorious.

    My kicks:
    1. My Mom is getting better.
    2. More snow to cover up all the brown landscape.
    3. The beauty of a full moon after midnight
    4. Picture books
    5. Kidlit friends
    6. Reading and writing
    7. Walks with Xena

  3. Can’t wait to read The Color Book–what polychromatic effulgence!

    I turned 40 on March 10, and aside from the sudden urge to bellow at the crescent moon, I’m taking it well.

    Here’s a new poem for nature’s femme fatale:


    Patient spider,
    plain-sight hider,
    down her
    slender thread.

    She’s a lover
    of the undercover,
    and any bug
    to cross her
    ends up dead.

    ©2014 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  4. Thanks for sharing The Color Book. We need more of these. And congrats to Kate for signing an agent.

    Jules, enjoy the festivities of 10 YO invading your home. How fun.
    Rachel, it’s been a wonderful few days in Ptown hasn’t it? We need to mow the lawn too.
    Margie, the full mon at midnight and snow, bet it was lovely.
    Steven, happy birthday.
    My kicks:
    1. Oldest grandgirl is here for the weekend.
    2. We saw a production of Alladin last night. Fun! One of my students was in it.
    3. Walking Buster yesterday.
    4. I’ve written everyday for 15 days in the Slice of Life Story Challenge.
    5. Typing student poems from the author visit.
    6. Reading.
    7. Tomorrow is the beginning of the March Madness Poetry tournament. I will have 48 hours to write a poem and then get votes.
    Have a great week.

  5. Yay for loud 10-year-old sleepovers and the brave mamas who host them! And yay for colors and Sophie and Kate! Love their work!

  6. Pretty colors, Sophie! Thank you for sharing.

    Good morning, Imps! Happy mid-March to you all.

    Jules: Happy birthday to your decade daughter!

    Congrats, Kate!

    Rachel: Yay, spring.

    Margie: Glad that your mom is improving.

    Happy belated birthday, Steven!

    Jone: Kudos for the ongoing writing and reading.

    Hi Jessica!

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Two of my plays had professional readings this week. One was a historical drama inspired by Anna Pavlova…
    2) …the other was a modern-day workplace comedy inspired by The Office and Mindy Kaling.
    3) Range
    4) Filming on location with a lovely fictional family. The film is now wrapped.
    5) A play I wrote was named a semi-finalist and is getting a professional reading in May
    6) A monologue I wrote was selected for performance (I’m not performing it; it’s on the opposite coast) and the project is raising funds for a very worthy cause!
    7) Dreams

  7. Hello Kickers!

    That looks like a fabulous book by Sophie. Will admit to being more than slightly bowled over by the blown-up two-page spreads, especially when I saw the page numbers at the bottom of one spread: 132 + 133. WHOA: a big book, huh???

    Really liked both the little story and the gentle look of Kate’s work, too.

    I’ll just offer general Hola!s to all Kickers in general, since I’ve not (to my shame + chagrin) been much in evidence around here much recently. Always very, very happy to see 7-Imp, y’know. (Which explains my frequent stealth flyovers.)

    Recent kicks:

    1. Big writing days.
    2. Big question-answering days.
    3. Prospect of big phone-upgrade day.
    4. Impending big-travel days (in a couple weeks) (not really big in terms of distance or exoticness, just ‘home’ to NJ to visit family).

    And some more specific ones…
    5. Chinese — even ‘Chinese,’ in quotes — takeout. Mmmmmm.
    6. Hey Little Willow: Leverage! Yes, still knocking me out!
    7. I’d heard so much about the horror film Cabin in the Woods that it was atop my horror-film queueueue. I will say only that it was worth the wait. Very gross, true. I wouldn’t give 5 seconds to any of the films it satirizes (the Saw genre, e.g.). But oh my: very surprising and funny: very, very funny. (And btw, he didn’t direct it, but Joss Whedon produced and co-wrote it. Drew Goddard, a Buffy writer, co-wrote and directed Cabin.) The more you think you might be interested in watching it, the more strongly I’d advise you not to seek out details in advance. Including trailers.

    Have a great week, all!

  8. Oh wow, The Color Book looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    Thanks for all the celebratory words, jazz hands and spirit fingers, Jules and friends!

    my kicks:
    1. Getting featured on here again, yay!
    2. The cherry blossoms that are peaking over the back fence
    3. The weather being warm and dry enough for weed pulling and other fingers in the dirt activities
    4. The Korean feast my love cooked up yesterday (and the leftovers I’ll be having for lunch today)
    5. New Martha Grover drawing for my walls that I traded some of my work for last night
    6. My good health
    7. My good friends

  9. Thanks for introducing me to Sophie Benini Pietromarch’s gorgeous work. I love the look and the feel of this book!

    Jazz hands and spirit fingers makes me want to write a book with this title….hmmmm

    Hi Kate!! So happy to see a sneak peek and can’t wait to see more of your wonderful artwork.

    my kicks… trees in bloom all over the place and the smells in the air! My 23 year old son got a job offer this week and he is one quarter from graduating, yay! Ditto Kate: good health and good friends and family!

  10. Jules- I hope the birthday party/sleepover was a sparkly dream come true!
    Rachel- Yum!! Lobster mashed potatoes- great date night!
    Margie- Well wishes for your mom’s continued recovery.
    Steven- Happy happy birthday month!
    Jone- Enjoy your grandgirl weekend- special times
    LW- Lots of things to celebrate in your life this week!
    JEW- Safe and happy travels
    kate- Congratulations on your feature!

    My kicks:
    1) Our presentation went very well- in fact, my professor called it a “master class” for the rest of the class.
    2) I’ve gotten to spend this weekend visiting with my brother.
    3) Some beautiful Spring-like weather
    4) I cooked dinner for my family every night this week.
    5) My daughter loved that I substituted for her class on Friday.
    6) Made it through a difficult week with my son and I think I handled the parenting fairly well.
    7) My nephew helped his team win the AAC basketball championship and is headed into March madness again!

  11. Rachel, I love that SNL skit. So funny. Also: Ooh la la to great date nights. And I’m going to have to look up what color Platinum Band is.

    Margie! So good to hear your mom is getting better. RAH!

    Happy birthday, Steven! That poem reminds me of Michelle Shocked’s song, “Black Widow.”

    Jone: March Madness Poetry? It sounds delightfully MAD and MADCAP, both good things. Please send updates.

    Hi, Jess!

    Little Willow: DANG, everything is coming up Little Willow, as it should. Always. What good cause? May I ask? Congrats on all your fabulous successes!

    John, please, no apologies for absent times. If only I could keep up with my favorite blogs well (including—insert my own shame and chagrin—yours). And hmmm … If Whedon is connected in any way to that movie, I might have to try it out. Have safe travels, John — and have fun! Oh, wait. It’s not for a couple of weeks, but still …

    Kate, I love those last two kicks. Also, I saw some cherry blossoms this week too. RAH! again.

    Toni: Congrats to your son!

    Shannon: So glad you came back to update on the presentation, and I’m not surprised to hear it went well. “MASTER CLASS.” THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT! I’m doing more jazz hands and spirit fingers now. … Congrats on kick 6. Hear hear to good parenting …

    Have a good week, everyone.

  12. Yowza – I love color so ‘you had me at hello’. That first image of all the paint tubes – fabulous! Thank you, thank you for introducing us to this book. Can’t wait, like someone else said, to get my hands on it.

    Also, GREAT news about Kate B. agent signing business and LOVE the included illustrations.

    Love the kicks. 7-Imp Kickers really have it goin’ on this week!!!

    Too busy a weekend with not enough sleep (our Tiny, who is now 1 and not so tiny was up a bunch each night) to go through each person’s awesome kicks, but I do want to say:

    Jules – hope the party was fun, and I guess surgery went well.

    Steven – another brilliant poem, thanks! And many happy returns!

    Glad to hear there is some enjoyment of flower blossoms somewhere in the winterly climes! My heart and thoughts are with the rest of you in the snowy and cold parts of the country!

    I looked up the color platinum band, I had the same thought as Jules. Good color – very good, better than platinum jewelry in my humble opinion.

    My congrats to the Master Class compliment, Shannon!

    Little Willow is rolling! Awesome.

    Congrats to the March Madness Nephew!

    My Kicks:
    1. gorgeous weather here in LA this weekend (sorry everyone in colder climes!).
    2. pulled our Little’s sandbox out for Tiny and she loved it. (Little is now 7, Tiny is one) Seeing her face as she played and felt the sand and crawled in and out of the purple dinosaur sandbox was unforgettable.
    3. Baseball spring training has started – phew! I am worn out by LA’s obsession with the Lakers and needed some Red Sox action.
    4. Am about to crack open the new VI Warshawski novel by Sara Paretsky. What a writer! What a researcher! What a writer!
    oh, moving on to Kick 5.
    5. Sharing picture book biographies on awesome women with my Little’s 1st grade teacher during Women’s History Month, and getting to read some to his class in the library each week. Oh the riches.
    6. Taking The Tree Lady by by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated gorgeously by Jill McElmurry to San Diego as a thank you gift while we visit a very dear friend from NH. My Little is excited to go on a tree hunt to find all the species of trees from the book and to see Balboa Park again.
    7. Researching books for my voraciously reading 5-year old niece.

    Happy Week!

  13. I am running around in circles trying to get ready for our overseas trip at the end of week, but am loving the kicks here. (I have time to read them because my little one is having a super long nap! And I have done all my washing for the day! Two kicks right there). (I will comment on as many kicks as I can before he wakes up)

    Hope the party was great fun, Jules!

    Congrats on the painting, Rachel, it sounds like you prepared well for the process though with your pizza, friend and beer 🙂 And lobster mashed potato…I’ve never thought of such a thing but want it now!

    Shannon I’m glad you recognise a tough parenting week and appreciate yourself!

    Allison your Tiny is one?! Wow! Love that she is enjoying the sandbox, I like it when babies are obsessed with texture (and eating sand).

    John I hoped you enjoyed some “Chinese” takeout with your fun movie viewing! I thought that one was funny too (though still a bit gruesome at times).

  14. Allison, the surgery is actually this week, but thanks for the well-wishes. I’m so glad it went so well, sharing your PB biographies. The Tree Lady is one great book.

    Hi, Emmaco! Here’s to more long naps this week so that you can get some breaks, some rest, some moments to yourself.

  15. Margie – that full moon after midnight sounds romantic, glad your mom is recovering.

    Happy birthday Steven!

    Jone – yes, loved the sunshine while it lasted! Hope you had a great weekend with the grandgirl!

    LW – congrats on all the successes! Sounds like a great week!

    Hi John! – happy travels! I’ll have to check out that movie.

    Kate – hooray for cherry blossoms & feast’s cooked for you!

    Toni – yay spring and congrats to your son on the job!

    Shannon – hooray for rocking the presentation! And congrats to your nephew!

    Allison – hope your Tiny let’s you get more sleep this week. Love the image of the 2 kids playing in the sandbox – so fun. And I’m with you, I love baseball season.

    emmaco – long naps are wonderful, hope you have a lovely trip!

    Jules and Allison – I am slowly painting the whole interior of my house – It takes me forever to decide. Glad you like the platinum band – I am super happy with how it turned out, the hallway leads out of the main room which is Vintage Bakelite. (I have a ’50s-’60s vibe for the color palette, which seems to work since the house was built in ’61.)

    Emmaco , Shannon and Jules – Lobster mashed potatoes – Made of russets, lobster meat and stock, heavy cream, butter, paprika and a pinch of white pepper. I could only find the ingredients and not the precise recipe, but not at all surprised by the heavy cream component – they were so ridiculously rich and yummy!

    Have a great week!

  16. This book looks great–and makes me think of MY BLUE IS HAPPY, which I just read and loved…

  17. Another round of good, healthy vibes for surgery, Jules!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, imps!

  18. Aw, thanks, Little Willow!

    Rachel, it sounds like a fun project, painting the whole house. I fear it would take me for-flippin’-ever.

    Laura, love that book too!

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