7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #583: Featuring G. Brian Karas

h1 April 22nd, 2018 by jules

Illustrations from title page spread
(Click to enlarge)


I’m doing that thing again (forgive me) where I’m writing about a book several months before it arrives on bookshelves, but I’ve had this art for a while and decided to go ahead and share it today. (See how I waited at least a little bit?) Karen Hesse’s Night Job (Candlewick), illustrated by G. Brian Karas, will be on shelves in September — and it is a book to look forward to.

This is the story of a boy and his father, who leave their apartment complex and take a motorcycle on a Friday night to the school that the father cleans for a living. “He opens the door, and the building sighs,” Hesse writes. “Come, it whispers to us.” While sometimes the boy plays (shooting hoops while his father cleans the gym or reading aloud to him while he cleans the library), he also gives him a hand, “sweeping the school from stem to stern.” Hesse captures one night of the father’s custodial work; afterwards, they head home and, just as the sun is rising, drift away together in a recliner.


Half title page
(Click to enlarge)


Hesse sets a lovely, hushed tone throughout the book and captures precise details that make the story come alive (the lilac smell of the school, the green vinyl sofa in the library). The boy, it seems, looks up his father and particularly enjoys their bike rides to the school (and back), zooming over “the darkening bay, riding the dusky highway.” Karas fills these spreads with dark night-time shadows but with the street lights, motorcycle headlight, and school lights illuminating the pages; in one spread, pictured here, they eat on an outdoor school bench in the dark, while the light from the open door illuminates just the two of them and their momentary break from work.


“At ten Dad leads the way to the courtyard, where we unwrap our egg salad sandwiches, with their triple dollop of mayo and a heaping teaspoon of chopped pickle.
We take big bites that fill our mouths and chew and chew and chew
until there are only crumbs left. And then we chew those, too.”

(Click to enlarge illustration and see text)


It’s the tender story of one boy’s special night, made so merely because he got to spend it with his father. Here’s a bit more art. . . .


“On Friday nights, when the sun goes down, I snap the clips shut on Dad’s lunch box
and climb onto the back of his bike.”

(Click to enlarge and see text)


(Click to enlarge)


NIGHT JOB. Text copyright © 2018 by Karen Hesse. Illustrations copyright © 2018 by G. Brian Karas. Reproduced by permission of G. Brian Karas and the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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) Basil.

2) Tomatoes.

3) Squash and zucchini.

4) Lavender.

5) Strawberries.

6) Daisies and dahlias.

7) Rosemary.

Those are some of the things we planted yesterday, and those are my seven kicks. It was good for my bad mood of yesterday to step outside in the sun. Please, stay away, cold snaps.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #583: Featuring G. Brian Karas”

  1. What a great book. It is near to my heart as my dad was a school custodian before he was a teacher. No motorcycle though. Love the illustrations.
    Jules, what a great garden list.
    My kicks:
    1. School board recognition for National Library Week. And the superintendent took the time to acknowledge another librarian and myself for our service as we both retire in June.
    2. Oregon Ballet Theater: Man Woman.
    3. Dinner with my friend who has two sons in the ballet as principal dancers. ( and a daughter in law).
    4. Friend told me a story about 4th grade that I’d long forgotten.
    5. Grandgirl’s swimathon. She swam 270 laps in 2 hours.
    6. Sunshine.
    7. Earth Day and memories of the first Earth Day.
    Have a great weel.

  2. What a lovely book. One on one time with dad (or mom) after hours at work is definitely special.

    Jules – what a great garden planting day you had!

    Jone – congrats on being honored and recognized at your school. Go grandgirl go! That is some impressive swimming. Hooray for sunshine, finally.

    My kicks this week:
    1) A good day in court.
    2) An amazing result for a client (different day/case.)
    3) Sunshine.
    4) Finally having time to get a new lawnmower & cutting the grass. (Had to cut it twice because it was so high.)
    5) Thorns game Friday night. A draw.
    6) Seeing Rebirth Brass Band after soccer game Friday night. Dancing to their music can cure what ails you. So fun!
    7) Having breakfast and coffee while sitting outside in the sun with Daisy today.
    7.5) Earth day planting seeds and seeing green. Grateful.

    Have a wonderful week Imps!

  3. Jone, yes, happy Earth Day to all. …. In your 4th kick, do you mean one of your own 4th-grades stories or one of former students? Love your first kick, and go, grandgirl!

    Rachel: I always like to hear about your successful days in court. It’s rare to find people who loooove their professions. Hugs, as always, to Daisy.

  4. Jules, yes. From me as a 4th grader.
    Rachel, sitting outside is the best.

  5. Hi Imps! Happy Earth Day! I hope everyone had the chance to take a walk, get some fresh air, and stop and smell the flowers of your choice today – and not just today, but often. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing Night Job previews! Congratulations to Karen Hesse and G. Brian Karas. I love the thought of the building whispering to the characters.

    Jone: Yay for being recognized! That’s lovely. Kudos to your mermaid granddaughter. Wow. That’s a lot of laps!

    Rachel: Now I’m singing, “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do…”

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Performing
    2) Laughing
    3) Staying buoyant no matter what
    4) Being appreciated
    5) Making things happen
    6) Chin up
    7) GO GO GO

  6. I’m so glad you shared this even though it won’t be out for months. I love looking forward to fine books. I too love the whispering building, and I love the lilacs (always!).
    Such great kicks.
    Alas, such a late spring for everyone. We have been reveling in a little extra rain here in Southern California recently – the exact opposite of the rest of the country.

    Such kicks – seems as if all is OK in the world with you each in it. It always cheers me up to read your kicks.

    My kicks are:
    1-6: details of visiting the Long Beach CA aquarium with our littles plus one 4 and a half year old friend today: touching sharks, friendly rays, jellies, penguins, feeding lorikeets, learning the rain/water cycle for the LA basin.
    7: started reading Holes to my big Little – he’s loving it.

    Wishing everyone a good week – and Jules some happy moments!

  7. Little Willow and Rachel, here’s my favorite Daisy song:

    Little Willow: I needed to read those buoyant kicks on a Monday morning.

    Allison: How kind of you. … And HOLES! What a great read-aloud. Speaking of, I forgot to include this kick this week: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/well/family/reading-aloud-to-young-children-has-benefits-for-behavior-and-attention.html?smid=fb-share.

    Have a good week, you all!

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