7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #509: Featuring Beth Krommes

h1 November 13th, 2016 by jules

“… as we slumber unknowing …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Joyce Sidman’s Before Morning (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2016), illustrated by Beth Krommes. That review is here, and today I’ve got some spreads from the book, as well as some preliminary images from Beth. I thank her for sharing.


Beth’s brainstorm page
(Click to enlarge)


Beth’s practice scratchboard






Original sketch, followed by final sketch


Final art: “… the earth turn to sugar …”
(Click to enlarge)


Final art: “… change the world before morning …”
(Click to enlarge)



BEFORE MORNING. Text copyright © 2016 by Joyce Sidman. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Beth Krommes. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. All other images used by permission of Beth Krommes.

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 * * *

Well, you all. I’m not gonna lie: I don’t really have any kicks this week. Honest to goodness, none. This is not about red or blue either; it’s about basic human decency. Nothing about the election results is acceptable in any way whatsoever. None.

That’s about all I’ve got, except I am at least grateful that we have this beautiful art to see today.

Please do share your kicks this week, if you have them.

15 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #509: Featuring Beth Krommes”

  1. I am so glad to see this art work today. Just had a conversation with students about book design, illustrations, and it all works.

    Jules, I hear you. This morning though, I knew I could come to this place and I would be among like minded people who are grieving and heartbroken. Thank you for this space.

  2. Hello Kickers —

    Thank you for today’s post and artwork, Jules. Anything that contains a word like “scratchboard” is always worth reading! I love that the girl’s *mother* in this story is a pilot (maybe an Air Force pilot?). It seemed so, from the sample illustrations above and elsewhere, but it was good to see your review confirm it — I mean, good in the sense that it overturns a stereotype of “professions for girls.” (Yes, especially in this week’s context.)

    Kicks this week haven’t been easy to come by. (Even Black Mirror‘s Waldo the Bear episode — which should have been more satisfying than it was — cut painfully across current events.) But I’m grateful 7 impossible times over for the friendship and support of like-minded folks… I’ve been very fortunate in my circle of family and friends.

    (Speaking of which, by the way, I hope you’ve crossed paths with my friend Garnet Bluth on Facebook. The two of you would get along so well!)

    Here’s to whatever kicks may come, because there WILL be some (and probably when we least expect them).

  3. Thanks, you all. I am so so so so so so so so grateful for all of you. Really.

  4. Hi Imps! This week’s turn of events made me beyond disappointed, disgusted, and dismayed. I am finding solace in music and movies, in conversations and compassion, in laughter and in hope. We have to make things better.

  5. We love you, Little Willow. I’m speaking boldly for all kickers here, but I know they’d agree.

  6. I am grateful for likeminded people who have voices to comfort us by sharing their similar feelings. Thank you, Jules.

  7. This week has been so rough. I too, knew I could come here for solace & beauty.

    I especially love the illustration with “the earth turn to sugar.” so beautiful.

    Little Willow – yes, we have to make things better.

    I will say there were some (few) good moments this past week that are helping me find strength and resolve and hope.

    Reading stories on Pantsuit Nation on election day, it made me so happy to see how many like-minded women & men there are across the country. So many stories.

    I spent election night on a bus with 44 women. We had our 2 state senators come on board & give speeches, and a state rep as well. It was inspiring, and even when the night took the bad, horrible, awful turn that it did, while we were all devastated, I am proud to say we have now regrouped, started rolling up our sleeves and are making plans to help change the future.

    Have signed up to volunteer on Thanksgiving with a friend at a community center.

    Bought a coffee for the person behind me at the Starbucks drive-through on Wednesday, when I was feeling the worst. Very small thing, but it made me feel better to do something for someone else, & prompted a conversation with the barista that made me feel even better.

    This looks pretty cool & was shared by a friend. Its a book project by singer songwriter Tyrone Wells and Broken Eagle https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thewhatamagump/the-whatamagump-a-hand-crafted-story-picture-book/description

    There are lawyers across the country gearing up to join forces to fight the bad. They may or may not be referring to themselves as Dumbledore’s Army.

    SNL and Dave Chappelle, but especially Kate McKinnon singing Leonard Cohen and then her words. The healing cry I needed.

    All of you. I love you all and this place of light and joy and love that Jules has created. Stay well and be good to yourselves. Things are not good, but don’t give up.


  8. Jules,

    I’m with you. This is the first time in my life that I was brought to tears on election night. I find it hard to believe that a racist, bigot, misogynist, unscrupulous businessman, and bully will lead our country for the next four years. I worry about my granddaughter’s future.

    My mother was taken to the emergency room yesterday. She is having heart and other problems. She’s 98–so she has lived a full life. Still, it is hard to watch loved ones begin to fade away.

    “Before Morning” arrived in the mail yesterday. It certainly lives up to all the hype that I have read about it. What a gorgeous book! It certainly deserves to be considered for a Caldecott. And I love everything that Joyce Sidman writes. She is a poetry genius.

    I have just one kick for this week: I had a reason to smile yesterday when I read Publishers Weekly wonderful starred review of my book “Things to Do.”


  9. Hi Jules and Kickers.
    Thank you for sharing this gorgeous book this Sunday. Its beauty, gentleness, poetry, snow (my favorite!) is all so wonderful it helps soothe the sad, worried hearts and minds. Like a cool, soft cloth on a fevered brow.
    I love, love this book. I so admire both Beth Krommes art and Joyce Sidman’s poetry.
    I don’t think I have any kicks except to say that I am heartened that so many are willing to face with determination and courage the work it will take to root out the disease of discrimination, racism, sexism and hate, and replace all these with love and friendship and openness and kindness.

  10. Hi Dow. Thanks.

    Rachel, that Dumbledore’s Army of lawyers. That is cheering.

    Elaine: I send good wishes to you and your mother. I hope that she is feeling better soon. Congrats on the starred review!

    Allison: Hear, hear. I still feel down, but you’re exactly right.

    Have a good week, all.

  11. Also, I hope I didn’t miss anyone. And thanks again to you all for even showing up today.

  12. Sorry to hear about your mother, Elaine.
    Your book sounds wonderful.
    One day at a time this week.

  13. To all the kickers which came here yesterday I am sending you a hug and lots of love. This has been a rough year and election night and its repercussions are going to be even rougher but reading your posts have given me solace. Thank you Jules for highlighting this book. It is going to be a part of our Mock Caldecott discussion. I will link to this post on my post. My kick for this week and for hopefully many years to come is my new puppy Mulan. She is a true beauty and so full of spunk. I hope you all have a wonderful week with unexpected kindness coming your way.

  14. Mulan! Yay!

    Love to you, Margie.

  15. Elaine, your family is in my thoughts.

    Margie, please hug Mulan for me!

    Jules, thank you. Always.

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