7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #375: Featuring Manuel Monroy

h1 March 30th, 2014 by jules

“‘Why are you doing that?’ asked Chepito as his mother stood at the stove, cooking eggs and frying beans. … ‘These eggs and beans will make you really strong.’ …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today’s featured book won’t be out till June. Yes, June! Sorry to be posting about it so early — I try not to make a habit of this.

Why Are You Doing That? (Groundwood Books) is a picture book for very young readers, written by Elisa Amado and illustrated by Manuel Monroy. Elisa is an author and translator, born in Guatemala. Manuel is one of Mexico’s most celebrated illustrators. It’s a companion to their first picture book, What Are You Doing? (2011).

In this book, a young boy, named Chepito, explores his environment one morning—from his mother, cooking breakfast, to his neighbors, flattening dough and milking cows and feeding chickens—all the while asking in his sing-song way (as if he’s a bird), “Why are you doing that … What for? What for?” All the patient, accommodating adults answer him; this is a gentle read about curiosity and rural communities and not only where food comes from, but also how we nurture our bodies and the animals that feed us. It even closes with a short glossary.

Monroy evidently started out with color pencil and watercolor drawings, and then he went the digital route from there. The illustrations are warm and affectionate. Please note, however, that they appear a bit brighter here on the screen than they do in the book.

Here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy.

“There was his neighbor, Manuel, digging in the ground. … ‘Look at this nice elote,’ Manuel said as he peeled back the husk.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

“Chepito ran around the corner. He saw Doña Ana throwing corn to some chickens. … ‘What for? What for?’ sang Chepito. ‘So that they can grow strong and lay good eggs like the ones you just had for breakfast.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)

WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? Copyright © 2014 by Elisa Amado. Illustrations © 2014 by Manuel Monroy. Published by Groundwood Books, Toronto. All images here reproduced by permission of the 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. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Hands down, my biggest kick of the week was an opportunity to chat with Barry Moser about Appalachian children’s literature, as a favor for some friends at UT in Knoxville, who are planning an upcoming exhibit about that very topic. I got a picture afterwards. It was a pleasure to chat with him.

2) And the night before, I heard him and author Ann Patchett speak at Vanderbilt about writing and typography and design and illustrations and books and such.

3) And that reminded me to pick up Ann’s latest book, which I’ve been wanting to read for a while now.

4) I’m mildly to moderately obsessed with Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel,” which I only listened to about 77 times this week. Not this particular rendition below, but still …


“Well, never mind / we are ugly, but we have the music” …

5) This CD is now on my Want List.

6) Planetariums.

7) Sean Lennon! New sound! (It’s the first song there, called “Too Deep.”) Well, it’s Sean Lennon with Charlotte Kemp Muhl, and they call themselves The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Did you all see that the Hans Christian Andersen Award was given this week — as well as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

12 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #375: Featuring Manuel Monroy”

  1. This book looks to be perfect anyone who’s experienced the endless questions of toddlers.
    Jules, Barry Moser and Anne Patchett in one week! Woot. I will be on the look out for her new book.
    My Kicks:
    1. Students.
    2. Poems.
    3. Poetry postcard illustrations.
    4. Simplicity.
    5. Tulips.
    6. Play rehearsals.
    7. Grand girl.
    Have a great week.

  2. I like the rhythm of the questions and the warm bright colors – definitely perfect for toddlers.

    Jules – what a great week! I had not heard of Ann Patchett’s latest, definitely going in my TBR pile.

    Jone – Hooray for tulips. and even all the rain (and hail) we’ve been having to help them grow.

    My quick kicks:
    1) A good result in a several day trial this week.
    2) Winning motions the next day in a different case.
    3) Cocktails with coworkers to celebrate.
    4) Date night last night with Thai takeout and the cute/fun movie, “This Means War.” A romantic comedy where things also blow up and there are chase scenes.
    5) Time to relax.
    6) Reading Rae Carson’s “The Bitter Kingdom”.
    7) Last week’s episode of The Good Wife. Total shocker, but so well done. Looking forward to seeing how the characters deal with the aftermath.
    Bonus kick: Sun is out today, so time to work in the garden!

    Happy Sunday everyone! Have a wonderful week!


  3. Good morning, Imps!

    The world has been certainly saying hello this week, hasn’t it? To those in earthquake areas and rainy sections, stay safe!

    Kudos for the spotlighted book and curious protagonist. Three cheers for those who are thoughtful and curious.

    March is the seventh anniversary of readergirlz, so we’ve been posting mini-interviews and guest blogs from authors all month long at the readergirlz blog. Go check them out if you haven’t already! My post goes up tomorrow.

    Jone: Did students illustrate the poetry postcards?

    Rachel: High-five for the good results! Woot! Have fun in the garden.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) I continue to sit on some good news. The news is squirmy and wants to shout from the rooftops, but it can’t yet, so…we wait.
    2) Hearing two of my pieces out loud for the first time yesterday
    3) Finding and reading the play ALICE by Laura Wade
    4) Rehearsals
    5) Auditions
    6) Inspiration
    7) Steady

  4. My Sunday is complete now that I’ve stopped at Seven Imp. It is easy to imagine reading Why Are You Doing That? aloud. This questioning is so normal readers will easily identify with the character plus the illustrations are indeed warm and comforting.
    Jules: You really had some week! But I loved your inclusion of planetariums. It’s been so long since I’ve visited one I’ll have to see if I can change that.
    Jone: You have tulips? I still am sinking in the snow up to my knees in the yard. The only tulips we will have for awhile will be from the flower shop.
    Rachel: Time to relax sounds like bliss.
    Little Willow: Hooray for inspiration!
    My kicks:
    1, Warm temperatures
    2. Melting snow
    3. Sunshine
    4. Blue sky
    5. First robin of spring sighted today
    6. Audio books
    7. Walks with Xena

  5. Jone, so far, her book is great. Who’s illustrating your poetry postcards? And is it too late to sign up for one?

    Rachel, congrats on your work kicks. Hope you enjoyed your gardening today.

    Little Willow: Can’t wait to hear about kick #1!

    Margie: WHEW, you saw a sign of spring. I know you’ve had a harsh winter (though, for all I know, harsh winters are normal for your neck of the woods).

    Have a good week, all.

  6. Jules, students are doing the illustrations. Email me your address for one (I have plenty, I could send one to each of your girls, send names).
    Rachel, I missed the hail yesterday.
    LW, yes the students are doing the illustrations. Totally student created project.
    Margie, I am soo sorry that you still have snow!

  7. What charming illustrations and a lovely idea. Just in time for my Tiny. I look forward to the book. Thanks for the treat!

    Great Kicks, Everyone! Glad I had a few minutes to stop by.

    1. beautiful weather in LA this week
    2. sweet good bye party for my Little’s Teacher’s Mom who has been volunteering wonderfully in their classroom all year.
    3. 2 weeks til my brother and his family arrive from NYC with their kids.
    4. earthquakes – I know this sounds weird, but the little ones help prevent, hopefully, The Big One.
    5. Homemade pesto for dinner tonight

    Have a great week!

  8. Jone, thanks! Just emailed you.

    Allison, have fun with your brother!

  9. I love these illustrations! Warm and sunny, to offset the seemingly neverending winter here on the east coast.

    My kicks:
    1. Warm weather. Any warm weather.
    2. Despite the dreariness, my indoor herbs and potted pussy willows have been flourishing
    3. Finishing up a CNA program! Bodily fluids here I come
    4. Oreos
    5. Girlfriend got a raise
    6. Earl Grey tea
    7. I had another oreo.

  10. Kat, I think you should eat an Oreo for me, too. Deal? Deal. (I did, though, just have some Ben & Jerry’s. Mmm.)

    Do you mean you FINISHED your program — or will be soon? If the latter, good luck!

    It was warm in Tennessee today, too. Ah. Lovely.

  11. And congrats to your girlfriend, too!

  12. Hi All, just came back to see if anyone else commented and just laughed out loud at Kat and the oreos!!!!! Thanks for that!
    also, Jules – wanted to thank you for your usual encouraging comments to me and everyone!
    AND so excited that you got to meet and get a pic with Barry Moser – cool!!!!

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