7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #558: Featuring Maya Christina Gonzalez

h1 October 29th, 2017 by jules

“… cuando conozco a alguien / me sonrojo tímido como / Marte en martes /
when I meet someone new / I turn red like Mars / on Tuesday …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


If you’re having trouble waking up this morning, today’s illustrations from Maya Christina Gonzalez might just do the trick. I’ve got here today some of her bright, vivid artwork for Francisco X. Alarcón’s Family Poems for Every Day of the Week / Poemas familiares para cada dia de la semana (Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low Books, October 2017).

These are poems, published posthumously (the award-winning Alarcón died last year), celebrating family and community for each day of the week. Evidently, the entries are based on Alarcón’s own childhood experiences with his family. Each entry is published in both Spanish and English, including the fascinating opening author’s note about the days of the week and how their names came about. The book’s playful font and typography keep readers on their toes, and the poems strike various tones. “I can barely open / the shut oysters / of my sleep eyes” on Mondays, Alarcón writes, yet Saturdays are joyous: “I feel thrilled and free / like a hummingbird / in the Garden of Eden.”

It’s a book that celebrates—and from a child’s perspective—family traditions and gatherings. But it also celebrates down time. Sundays, for instance, are for family (including the grandparents) and, therefore, “it’s always sunny / on Sunday.” Gonzalez’s patterned, detailed artwork is rendered in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic markers. In an opening Illustrator’s Note, she talks about her repeated use of circles (and why) in the book, relating it to the sad passing of Alarcón in 2016: “When I returned to the imagery, I realized I had been charting a path for Francisco’s return, through his family, back to the heart of the sun all along. Circle upon circle.”

Here are a couple more spreads:


“… al mediodía aún estoy / soñando con la Luna / el lunes /
at noon I’m still / daydreaming on the Moon / on Monday …”

(Click to enlarge spread)



“… hasta el azul del cielo / parece mucho más azul / el sábado /
even the blue of the sky / seems a lot bluer / on Saturday …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


FAMILY POEMS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK / POEMAS FAMILIARES PARA CADA DIA DE LA SEMANA. Copyright © 2015 by Francisco X. Alarcón. Illustrations © 2017 by Maya Christina Gonzalez and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc., New York.

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) Dean Dinners …

2) And being this week in my friend’s house after she’s gone — right when I was missing her. It was good for the soul.

3) This profile of author Jason Reynolds. His new book gave me goosebumps.

4) Story time (at Parnassus Books) where my friend’s kindergartner showed, two other toddlers wandered off (as toddlers are wont to do at story time), and so that left just me and my kindergartner friend, one on one. Score!

5) Passionate booksellers who recommend books to my daughters.

6) A weekend of binge TV.

7) Best for last: I was feeling disgusted at the beginning of the weekend over plans White Supremacists had to march in the public square of the city I live in. But then look what happened. Proud of Murfreesboro.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #558: Featuring Maya Christina Gonzalez”

  1. It’s really interesting how the poetry has a some wordplay that you can only get in Spanish because of the names of the days of the week being different in the language (“me sonrojo tímido como / Marte en martes” just doesn’t mean as much in English). But you mentioned the line about “it’s always sunny / on Sunday.” In Spanish, “Sunday” is called “Domingo.” Were the poems originally written to be bilingual? That’s really cool.

  2. Cassandra: Good question. Not sure, but I would venture yes to that.

  3. Okay, WHY did this book NOT get nominated for the CYBIlLS? Pout.
    Jules, it was bittersweet to read about you visitinh your friend’s home. Amd yes, for your towm, standing up for what’s right.
    My kicks:
    1. Seeing former students perform in Alice in Wonderland.
    2. Fall weather.
    3. Fifth grade.
    4. Live twitter.
    5. Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper
    6. An exchange between my elementary friend and me about a house in our neighborhood.
    7. The Dodgers!
    Have a great week.

  4. Good morning, Imps! Hello, Maya Christina!

    Jules: One-on-one storytime can be fun. What are the girls reading? Which TV shows did you watch?

    Jone: Yay for Alice in Wonderland!

    My kicks:
    1) and 2) Auditions
    3) and 4) Performances
    5) Preparation
    6) Application
    7) Visit

  5. Thanks for sharing such a gorgeous book this Sunday.

    Jules – love all your kicks this week, but especially kick 7. And Kick 4 sent me down a rabbit hole after hearing Jason Reynolds mention Queen Latifah’s Ladies First. God I love her, been listening to her Dana Owens Album now and it will probably be on the playlist all week,

    Jone – Go Dodgers!Hope the play was fun.

    LW – hooray for auditions and performances!Sounds like a busy and fun week!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Gorgeous fall weather with lots sunshine.
    2) Finished “Dogs and Goddesses” by Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich, and Jenny Crusie. Fun read.
    3) My copy of The Explorer by Katherine Rundell arrived.
    4) Another busy week. Hectic, but nice to be so busy.
    5) Going out with friends for Halloween celebrations. They were American Gladiators – homemade costumes – and even won a costume contest.
    6) Drives through rural Oregon. Beautiful.
    7) Sweet Daisy snuggles while watching the World Series.
    7.5) Go Dodgers!
    9) Waiting for Monday…..

    Happy Halloween! Hope everyone has a safe and fun week!

  6. Jone: Is it super chilly up there? We finally have cool weather here.

    Little Willow: We binged Stranger Things 2. Piper is always reading fantasy. (Right now, she’s reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, as she had only read The Golden Compass previously.) Ada is re-reading the first Jumbies book. …. Break a leg at auditions AND with the application!

    Rachel: I hope you enjoy The Explorer! Woot woot! I saw your social media pics for kick #5, and it looked so fun.

    Happy Halloween to all!

  7. Oh, and Little Willow: It was Tamora Pierce’s books that the Parnassus booksellers had recommend to Piper!

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