7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #573: Featuring Sonia Sánchez

h1 February 11th, 2018 by jules

“And she did.”
(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)


“Ruby’s mind was always full of ideas,” opens Brenda Maier’s The Little Red Fort (Scholastic), illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. In a story whose framework follows that of the classic folk tale The Little Red Hen, we read as Ruby asks for her brothers’ help to build a fort in their backyard. But when she’s met with a series of repeated rejections, she forges ahead, building it all by herself. She learns how to do it; she draws up her own plans; she gathers her supplies; she cuts the boards for the fort; and she hammers and builds. (She gets some help from her mother, who knows her own way around a set of tools, as well as her grandmother.) The result is a pretty rad fort.

Ruby did all the work, so Ruby plays in her fort. Not only did her brothers refuse to help her; they also laughed at her. But given that they’re ever-so curious about the killer little building she’s made, they build a mailbox, plant some flowers, and even paint it “fire-engine red.” Then they all enjoy a snack inside the fort, because … well, snacks make kick-ass forts even better. Yum.

I love to see Sánchez’s artwork. (She illustrated Patti Kim’s Here I Am, published in 2013 and which I posted about here.) For this book, Sánchez uses a combination of traditional and digital mediums, and her busy lines and bustling spreads captivate. (The spread in which we see Ruby drawing the plans for her fort is covered in delightful scribbles.) We readers are treated to several close-up perspectives of glorious, self-sufficient Ruby at work, and the colors throughout are rich. Ruby pops off the page in her bright red cardigan, her red boots, and her busy-at-work red cheeks.

Here are a couple more spreads. Please note: This book will not be released until March 27. I try not to post about books well in advance of their publication date, as that could be frustrating for you, reading about it but not being able to get your hands on it. I really thought this came out sooner (I sort of assumed it was already out but failed to check the publication date), so my apologies.


“One day, she found some old boards.
‘Who wants to help me build something?’ she asked her brothers.”

(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)


Illustration on closing copyright page
(Click to enlarge)



Illustrations from THE LITTLE RED FORT, written by Brenda Maier. Art © 2018 by Sonia Sánchez. Used with permission from Scholastic Press.

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) USBBY’s (United States Board on Books for Youth) 2018 Outstanding International Booklist (OIB) is out, and I love to see the list every year. You can read about the books here.

2) I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this interview with Maggie O’Farrell, and I especially love what she says about being a reading child who grew up to become a writer.

3) This tweet. This letter is everything, and I mean EVERYTHING:


4) All these words of wisdom from Jacqueline Woodson.

5) Sweet potato pancakes.

5½) My first dinner at The Green Dragon, a pub with a Middle Earth theme in the town where I live.

6) I finally own a Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure.

7) ALA’s Youth Media Awards will be announced tomorrow. It’s always my favorite day of the year, given that it’s a celebration of children’s books. (I’m forcing myself to sound calm here, as I’m actually rooting super hard for one particular book to win the Caldecott, but let’s not discuss it.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #573: Featuring Sonia Sánchez”

  1. The Little Red Fort sounds great! And my kicks this week are: my brothers and the ALA Youth Media Awards tomorrow!! 😀

  2. Tarie, life goal: Meet your awesome brothers one day. BUT FIRST I HAVE TO ACTUALLY MEET *YOU* IN PERSON.

  3. Oh my. March is soon, right? What a book The Little Red Fort will be. On my list!.
    Jules, i have the original Nancy Perl. Must add to my collection. Bot the Matt LaPena and Jacqueline Woodson were spot on this week.
    Tarie, hello, friend.
    My kicks:
    1. Poetry.
    2. Members of Poetry Rocks.
    3. Organization.
    4. We have a winner for the CYBILs Poetry. TBA announced on Wed.
    5. Haiku.
    6. 100th day of school tomorrow.
    7. 3rd grader: You don’t look bad for your 60’s.
    Have a great week.

  4. As a Little Red Hen myself, I salute The Little Red Fort!

    Hi, Imps. It’s been a strange week over here, with both joy and loss, and it would feel strange to list kicks, so I’m just going to say one simple thing: gratitude.

  5. Only one kick this week and it was your review of Floaty. Specifically, the bit about the dog’s name (I loved what you wrote!). I’ve been sitting on a blog post about pet names in picture books. My favorite is Orangey the Goldfish.

    My regards to Green-and-Purple. Happy Sunday!

  6. Jone, thanks for the Cybils reminder. Also, I love third-graders. That was my sweet spot as a school librarian.

    Little Willow: I understand that feeling, though I wish I could give you a hug in person. I’m glad you stopped by, even during a week of loss.

    Jerrold: Dude. Thanks. You just made my day. (I think Green-and-Purple is still around here somewhere.)

    Have a good week, you all.

  7. LW: Gratitude is a wonderful kick.
    Jerrold: Floaty sounds like an interesting read.

  8. Great book! So glad March is soon. Can’t wait.
    That letter and post from Matt de la Pena – yes! Jacqueline Woodson – yes! Such inspiration.

    My Kicks:
    1. heart shaped chalk for my Little for Valentine’s Day
    2. a lovely picture book called Be Kind we are using during Kindness week at my Bigger Little’s school.
    3. watching my students voting for their favorites during our mock Caldecott voting. After the Fall and Before She Was Harriet were often top choices.
    4. planning spring break travels
    5. grateful for small kindnesses

    Can’t wait for awards to be announced tomorrow morning.
    Wishing everyone a great week.

  9. Allison, thanks for sharing the mock winners. Just under an hour now before we find out what the committee decided.

    Small kindnesses are what keep the world spinning, right?

  10. Thanks for sharing this one–I can’t wait to read THE LITTLE RED FORT. It sounds like just the kind of book I’m collecting to share with my daughter someday.

Leave a Comment

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