7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #585: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Shanda McCloskey

h1 May 6th, 2018 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, dear Imps, which means we look at the art of a student or debut illustrator. Today it’s the latter. Shanda McCloskey’s debut picture book, Doll-E 1.0 (Little, Brown, May 2018), is on shelves now. It’s the story of tech-savvy Charlotte, whose parents (worried she may be “too techy”) give her a doll for her birthday. (“I was thinking you could play house or doctor with it,” her mother tells her.) “How do you use it? Are there instructions?” Charlotte asks. She’s dismayed that the doll just sits there. Charlotte is itchin’ to build something new. Needless to say, Charlotte is pumped when she discovers that the doll (who says “Ma-ma” repeatedly) has a set of two batteries — a power supply!

When Charlotte’s pet dog, Blutooth, interferes with Charlotte’s new friendship with her doll, things take a turn for the worse. But Charlotte’s creative, technically-bent mind and her ingenuity save the day.

McCloskey visits 7-Imp today to tell me a bit more about these endearing characters, Charlotte and Blutooth, and to talk a bit about the making of the book. I thank her for visiting. Let’s get to it!

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Shanda: My name is Shanda (rhymes with panda). My debut book, DOLL-E 1.0, just released! I’m proud my book is in the company of many great STEM, STEAM, maker, and girls-in-STEM books that have “awakened” from the movement. Each person has unique thoughts and ideas that only they can express, and there is (or soon will be) a book for every type of creator and thinker to cherish.

I’m somewhat techie and my husband is a web developer, but I wish I had a more in-depth knowledge about coding and robotics. So, I lived vicariously through the making of this book.

Below are some preliminary sketches. Charlotte, the main character, started out as a blonde, because my oldest daughter is a blonde, and it seemed fitting to push against the “dumb blonde” stereotype. But it didn’t fit the character as I worked. Once I landed on the Wonder Woman-inspired blue-black hair, there was no going back.









Shanda: “My favorite piece! This really got me excited.”



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Shanda: “My youngest daughter ‘petting’ Blutooth. (Fun fact: The dog’s name was almost Megabyte. But I had been calling him Bluetooth from the beginning, so we changed the spelling to Blutooth with no ‘e’ because of the trademark.)”


Final art from book: “Charlotte’s head was always in the cloud.
Tinkering. Toggling. Coding. Downloading.”

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Some final art from the book
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Final endpapers (without color)
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As my art director, Jen Keenan, and I worked on the cover for this book, we found that there was a fine line between it looking fun/inventive and like a torture scene! See for yourself . . .


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Final cover:



Much better!

Another fun fact about me is that during the creation of this book, I developed early cataracts and had to have cataract surgery in both eyes at age 35. So, I have plastic lenses in my eyes, making me somewhat bionic now? Maybe a little?

I’m currently working on my second book with Little, Brown that will be a companion to Doll-E 1.0 — about a boy and his drone.

It’s been fun recounting all these memories, sketches, and facts for this post. Thanks so much for having me here!


DOLL-E 1.0. Copyright © 2018 by Shanda McCloskey. Published by Little, Brown and Company, New York. All images reproduced by permission of Shanda McCloskey.

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) Bionic illustrators!

2) New song from one of my favorite bands, The Innocence Mission:



The lead singer, Karen Peris, animated that. You can read more about it here.

3) Michelle Wolf speaking truth to power.

4) Watching stand-up on cable when I was down with a bad cold this week and laughing till my sides hurt.

5) A surprise in the mail from a thoughtful friend.

6) Surviving a few very, very busy weeks of work.

7) It’s my birthday today, and family time and chocolate cake with ganache await me. I’m grateful for 46 years, my friends, my family, and my health.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

5 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #585: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Shanda McCloskey”

  1. Shanda, I. Love. This. Book! How totally fum and I can’t wait for the companion book.
    Jules Happy Birthday. Never too much chocolate cake.
    My kicks:
    1. Dinner with HS friends yesterday.
    2. Working with a first grader on her panda poem ( @ Check It Out blog) She’s deciding whether she wants to revise.
    3. So many students were accepted into the Young Americans Poetry Digest. Fimgers crossed they’ll get permission letters signed.
    4. Dinner with work collegues.
    5. Readying the deck for outdoor sitting.
    6. My Free Little Library for Silver Star School was approved.
    7. Sunshine.
    Have a great week.

  2. Jules! Thank you so much! I love it!
    Jone! Thank you! I’m excited for the next one too 🙂

  3. Good morning, Imps!

    Hi Shanda! Congrats on your debut. Yay for STEAM and STEAM and stories and storytellers and technology and technicians. 🙂 Best of luck with your next book, too.

    Jules: Happy birthday to you! I hope you have an amazing day. Sending you healthy vibes! Thanks for sharing the song. I liked it.

    Jone: Yay for the young poets, and yay for the free little library!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Perseverance
    2) Connection
    3) Communication
    4) Sharing
    5) Kindness
    6) Light
    7) Understanding

  4. Believe it or not Jules and Shanda this book is sitting next to my computer. It is comletely delightful. This girl is my kind of girl. I am so happy both it and Shanda are featured today.

    Happy happy birthday, Jules. We are so grateful you are here. This blog and all your work in children’s literature has greatly enriched my life and the lives of so many others.
    Hooray for the approval on your LFL, Jone.
    We can never have enough kindness, Little Willow.

    My kicks:
    1. Eating meals on the worn steps of a log home basking in the sunshine . . . finally.
    2. I will no longer be homeless after May 25th. Hopefully my house hunting is over.
    3. Indie bookstores
    4. New picture books
    5. Walks with Mulan
    6. Laughter with friends
    7. Spring!

    Have a fantastic week everyone.

  5. Jone, I love your third and sixth kicks. How are you feeling about that upcoming retirement? Excited?

    Shanda: Thanks again for visiting!

    LW: Thanks for the well-wishes and your, as always, uplifting kicks.

    Margie: Thanks! I could say the same to you! … I didn’t realize you had been house-hunting. Congrats! Hugs to Mulan, as always.

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