7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #713: Featuring Kasya Denisevich

h1 October 18th, 2020 by jules


“My ceiling is someone’s floor, and my floor is someone’s ceiling.”


 

Today, it’s a pleasure to share some spreads from Neighbors (Chronicle, September 2020), the debut picture book from Kasya Denisevich, a Russian-born author-illustrator now living in Barcelona. These illustrations were rendered in ink, and the book’s typeset is called Kasya Hand—a font created from the author’s handlettering.

“[I]f you stop to think about it … My ceiling is someone’s floor, and my floor is someone’s ceiling.” A young girl moves into a new apartment—number 12 in Building 2 at 3 Ponds Lane. She considers who lives in the building: “If I could stretch my hand through that wall, I could actually touch someone. And that someone is my new neighbor!”

In a series of spreads, she imagines what the apartment inhabitants are doing, how they may look (what may be my favorite spread, pictured below, in which the building’s stairs become a vine; a cell phone performs on stage in the theater at the bottom of the building; a friendly monster lies hiddden in the top of the building; and more), and if they are even home. What if they don’t exist, she wonders, and the building is “my only neighbor.” (Here, she imagines the building itself as its own creature.) What if there’s really just nothingness beyond the walls of her very own room? A series of lovely, gently-paced wordless spreads follow, in which the girl sleeps for the night and then prepares for what we eventually learn is her first day of school. She knows today is the day she’ll connect with someone. And in the very hallway on the way out the door, she gets a happy surprise.

Denisevich’s fine-lined ink drawings are beguiling, and there’s a lot of detail to pore over here. It’s a book for lingering. She uses color, sparingly, to great effect. The grayscale illustrations pop with subtle spots of red, including occasionally in the text, to represent our narrator. It is not until her day of school that we finally start to see shades of other colors, including a sunny spot of yellow for a new friend in the hallway—and then in the blossoms of trees as they walk to school. The book’s endpapers—the tiles of the building’s hallway—also play cleverly with color.

This is a contemplative book, thanks to our reflective, thoughtful protagonist, full of wonder. Here are some more spreads. …

 


“And I finally have a room all to myself!
But if you stop to think about it …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


 


“My ceiling is someone’s floor, and my floor is someone’s ceiling.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


 


“If I could stretch my hand through that wall, I could actually touch someone.
And that someone is my new neighbor!”

(Click spread to enlarge)


 


“Neighbors are really all around me. I wonder what they are doing right now.
Are they going to bed, just like me?”

(Click spread to enlarge)


 


“Do they look like me? Or are they different in every way?”
(Click spread to enlarge)


 


(Click cover to enlarge)


 

NEIGHBORS. Copyright © 2020 by Kasya Denisevich. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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’s Kicks * * *

1) I voted!

2) The line was super long! (YAY. EVERYONE, GO VOTE.)

3) My youngest daughter turned 15 this week, and her sister sewed her a GIANT Baby Kermit. (There has been some entertaining, old-skool Muppets-watching around here lately.)

4) Happy surprises in the mail.

5) Star Trek: Discovery is back.

6) Long walks in the cool weather and …

7) … the bird whistle my friend’s daughter brought for the walk.

What are YOUR kicks this week?





7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #713: Featuring Kasya Denisevich”

  1. Neighbors has wonderful illustrations! I love the grey tones with the red. And the red words! Living in a condo, I have thought about the ceiling being someone’s floor.
    Jules, happy birthday to youngest. It’s so hard to believe your girls are that age. (they are my grands ages). Voting and walks are the best.
    I can’t believe that last Sunday came and went and I didn’t stop by.
    My kicks:
    1. A weekend get away to see family in SoCal.
    2. Tomorrow we head to Yosemite. My first time.
    3. Pumpkins.
    4. Homemade Apple Cider donuts.
    5. HOP TO IT, edited by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell has one of my poems in it.
    6. California beach.
    7. Laughing and stories.
    Have a great.


  2. 1. I learned that the guy who is going to illustrate my MG steampunk fantasy (kickstarter coming in the Spring) was a former housemate of one of my best friends since second grade!
    2. Our eldest cat, Xander, is still hanging in there with us.
    3. I have new boardgames to play. (If I can only find someone to play them with me)
    4. The Great British Bake Off is back. (It’s just the right hint of normalcy I needed)
    5. The weekend still isn’t over yet.
    6. Music
    7. Allie Brosh is back!


  3. Hi Imps! I hope that all of you who can vote will vote / have voted!

    Hi Kasya! Awesome name, cool palette, and very cool cat. I hope you have lovely neighbors!

    Jules: Happy belated birthday to her! What a sweet gift. Your daughters are neat. Yay voting!

    Jone: Glad that you got to visit your family and that you enjoyed your trip!

    Tom: Hello to Xander the cat! Allie Brosh is hilarious. Good luck with your project.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Streaming
    2) Screening
    3) Scheming
    4) Dreaming
    5) Being
    6) Believing
    7) Listening


  4. Wow, beautiful book! Very nostalgic feel evoking old Russian movies. Love the cover!
    My 7:
    1)Beautiful foliage, every drive is a treat
    2)Re-discovering favorite books by re-reading them for the first time in a decade
    3)Children singing
    4)My daughter baking treats
    5)Color! Seeing it, painting it, surrounding myself with it
    6) Rocky Mountains Chapter of SCBWI
    7) Drawing again, drawing a lot, such joy


  5. Love these detailed illustrations! So fun finding all the different details and neighbors in this house.

    Jules – Yay for voting! And happy birthday to your youngest! Hope there was lots of cake. I love that there is lots of Muppet watching going on at your house and that giant baby Kermit sounds like a great gift.

    Jone – have a wonderful time at Yosemite! Looking forward to seeing your photos. Congrats on your poem being in Hop to It. Apple cider donuts – yum.

    Tom – hooray for Allie Brosh, boardgames, GBBO & Xander!

    Little Willow – especially love kicks 3-6 this week.

    Anya – yay for drives through beautiful foliage, favorite books, baked treats and things that bring joy.

    My kicks this week:
    1) I VOTED! It felt awesome.
    2) Treated myself to watching The West Wing reunion after getting home from dropping off my ballot.
    3) Friday I watched the Hamilton fundraiser.
    4) Got a letter from my pen pal in New York this week!
    5) Called my senators every day this week (and wrote them too) to let them know my position on the qualifications of the candidate for SCOTUS. (I love my senators & their terrific staff.)
    6) Making a plan to deliver slate cards to voters in my neighborhood with one of my neighbors.
    7) The free concerts being streamed every weekend this month by Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. Some stunning voices on display: https://www.caichicago.org/
    7.5) My sweet Daisy pup. I am grateful for cozy company every day.

    Bonus kick – decorated for Halloween, even though no trick or treaters this year. Nice to get into the spirit of the season for a small bit of normal.

    Have a great week Imps!


  6. Jone, congrats on Hop to It! Enjoy Yosemite. I’ve always wanted to go there. Safe travels.

    Tom, yay for Allie! Just finished her new book. I’m rooting for Xander. Which board games did you get?

    LW: Scheming! Ooh la la.

    Hi, Anya! A Russian friend of mine saw an image from this on Instagram (that I had shared), and she figured the illustrator was Russian-born before she read that she was Russian-born! Happy drawing, and I saw some beautiful autumn foliage today too. It was a good day.

    Rachel: Do you know I’ve never seen The West Wing? Gotta fix that. Love your fifth kick the most. We will not be trick-or-treating either or giving out candy, but we may play board games all night (maybe games like Mysterium to keep a spooky theme going) or watch scary movies.

    Have a good week, you all!


  7. Long walks in the cool weather and do something that i loved 🙂


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