7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #778: Featuring Ashley Lukashevsky

h1 January 16th, 2022 by jules


Claire — the narrator of Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Snow Angel, Sand Angel (Make Me a World, January 2022), illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky — lives in Hawai’i and is dismayed when, for a school project, she must make a diorama about winter. “I’ve never even seen real snow!” she thinks. This is a sore point for her; she longs to experience winter and play in the snow. So she’s delighted when her father tells her he’ll show her and her brother, Timbo, some snow up on Mauna Kea, “the top of the tallest mountain in the world, if you measure from seafloor to summit.”

There is snow up there, but Claire is disappointed to see it’s more like blocks of ice. In her mind’s eye, she sees a “yard piled up with white snow.” This is not that. On top of this mountain, she has to be careful about running too much so that she doesn’t get altitude sickness, and she doesn’t have real mittens or a wool scarf. (She and her brother wear her father’s old socks on their hands, and their mother cuts a beach towel in half to serve as makeshift scarves.)

She doesn’t have a real sled; she’s on a sugarcane truck inner tube, navigating her way between pointed rocks. She can only imagine making a snowman; the one her brother builds is, as she sees it, more like “lumps of ice.” She dreams of growing wings and becoming a “real snow angel.” Someday, she thinks …

I will see snow falling from the sky and be like the Inuit, who can name a hundred different kinds of snow.

The book shifts in its second half. The family visits Hapuna Beach the day before the New Year. Throughout the book, Claire’s father — probably sensing her disappointment — consistently points out to her the beauty of the land they live on and the immense knowledge of the natural world that native Hawaiians possess, and this day is no different: “The beach is always right in your own backyard,” he tells her. They spend a day in the sun, building a sandman and making sand angels. This part of the book’s text especially sings — though the entire story is marked by Yamanaka’s lyrical writing and nuanced, never heavy-handed, observations. Once again with her sugarcane truck inner tube, this time floating on waves, Claire listens as her mother names the sea creatures she sees and her father names the “hundred winds that carry the fragrance of these waters to us near the far reef.” Her father reminds her, while they make sand angels: “You can grow wings in this place, this very beautiful place that we know so well.”

It’s a well-crafted story on many levels, but it’s one that, best of all, brings readers to a specific place. Both author and illustrator are from Hawai’i, and they vividly capture the physical locale. Lukashevsky’s illustrations are brightly colored and possess a boundless energy. They are in constant movement, with flowing lines and abundant details. (As always, you can see some spreads below.) The story will also resonate with readers on a more universal level: There are lots of children out there who long for a life they don’t have. (I think of my daughter, currently looking at colleges, who would love to go to a school that sees snow, since middle Tennessee doesn’t see it often, and I think of a friend whose daughter in the Northeast chose a school with warm weather — Florida, no less.) Claire longs for weather she considers exotic, but she also learns to appreciate her homeland, “the mountains and waters of this island, singing the names of a hundred winds.”

An ebullient story. Here are some more spreads. …


“‘Some birds fly away because it gets too cold.’ And then I stop.
‘The birds don’t fly
away from Hawai’i in the winter. They come home.”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“But this all makes me sad. I have never seen snow. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“Someday, I won’t have to wear my father’s old socks,
loose and wet, over my cold hands. …”

(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“My mother tells us the names of the sea creatures. Hinalea, beautiful green wrasse. Manini, striped convict tang. Lauhau, golden butterflyfish.
Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, painted triggerfish. She shows us the rise and fall of
honu’s tiny head and the glide of his shiny turtle shell. …”

(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

SNOW ANGEL, SAND ANGEL. Text copyright © 2021 by Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Jacket art and interior illustrations copyright © 2021 by Ashley Lukashevsky and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Make Me a World, New York.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

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.

1) Possible snow.

2) Walks.

3) I found a piece of paper on my desk with chicken-scratch notes from about two years ago of books I wanted to read. I’m glad I found it, because I’m reading this now and it’s so good.

4) Author-illustrator Steve Jenkins died this week — VERY MUCH NOT A KICK — but it got me thinking about how much his books have meant to me as a former school librarian and parent. My oldest daughter, in particular, loved nonfiction as a child and looooved his book. I got out our copy of Down Down Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea, and there is still a piece of paper in there with her kid-handwriting. She had copied the names of the creatures in the book. She read it over and over …. So grateful for his contributions to children’s lit. I interviewed him in 2008, and his answer to the last Pivot Questionnaire question (“If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?”) was: “Have you decided in which form you’d like to return?” So … maybe, one day, we’ll see him again.

5) Clint Smith.

6) This new song from Mitski:

Mitski · Heat Lightning

7) I appreciate the Giving Tree illustration by Liana Finck in this NYT piece, and I appreciate the article.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #778: Featuring Ashley Lukashevsky”

  1. Hi Imps! Hi Ashley! May everyone here be living in an environment they enjoy, and have the opportunity to explore all the places that call to them!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1. Music
    2. Movies
    3. Progress
    4. Unbothered
    5. Snacks
    6. Okay
    7. Recommendations

  2. Jules — i LOVE LOVE LOVE 7Imp, and not only for your reviews/commentary about children’s literature, but also for the links in your Kicks, which lead me to people and music and ideas I might not ever otherwise encounter! Happy Sunday to you — hope we do get some real snow (so far it’s pretty disappointing…)!

  3. LW: Music and snacks. High-five. May they be your favorite snacks. (I myself am a fan of salty and crunchy ones.)

    Mary: We have snow but now rain, and I think more snow is coming? It’s gonna be a mess. Stay home and read!

  4. Ashley and Lois, I am sharing this book with many,.
    Jules, I hope you get snow. I’m bummed because I can’t read or see the illustrations in the NYT piece (behind a paywall)
    My kicks:
    1. Saw my nieces in LA last weekend.
    2. Planning a trip in June to Ireland and Scotland with oldest niece.
    3. Locating my grandfather’s birth record in Ireland. It’s be a challenge to locate.
    4. Visiting The Last Bookstore.
    5. Sunrises.
    6. Talking with my poetry community over Zoom.
    7. Teaching poetry.
    Have a great week.

  5. Jone, here’s a quick screenshot of the illustration I’m talking about. … Ireland and Scotland! Jealous! Love that third kick. Will you visit family in Ireland too? I also love your last kick, probably my favorite.

  6. Hello Jules ~ Happy Sunday to you! I know Snow Angel, Sand Angel will be a book I am adding to my collection. It looks lovely. I still can’t believe Steve Jenkins is no longer with us, and my eyes got teary reading your words about him. Hooray for walks and snow.
    Mary: I, too, love 7-Imp. I have learned so much here.

    As a huge fan of movies, I love that kick Little Willow.

    Your plans for a trip to Ireland sound wonderful, Jone.

    My kicks:
    1. Sunrises over Lake Charlevoix
    2. My gas fireplace, the only source of heat in the living room
    3. My crawl space is finally insulated and encapsulated
    4. Some outside Christmas lights I left up to see them at night
    5. Finishing up the fiction portion of my 2021 picture books too good to miss blog posts (So many books, too little time)
    6. Days without howling winds
    7. Walks with Mulan

    Have an amazing week everyone.

  7. Ashley’s illustrations feel so full of love. My favorites of the shared spreads are the ones of Claire on one page and the family in the station wagon on the next, and then the one in ocean, bursting with color and life.

    Jules – yay for snow, walks and finding old notes that lead to good books!

    Little Willow – movies and music are wonderful kicks, and more so with snacks!

    Jone – visiting family, and bookstores and planning future trips sounds like a lovely week.

    Margie – sunrises over the lake sound beautiful (and possibly very cold?) Hi to Mulan!

    My kicks this week:
    1) A good outcome for a client.
    2) Cold but sunny days.
    3) Making plans for some home improvements.
    4) Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots.
    5) The wonderful feeling of a hot shower, brand new cozy pajamas, and climbing into a bed made with freshly washed sheets. And a snoring Daisy dog.
    6) This quote: “The quest to change sexist ways of thinking can feel Sisyphean, a lifetime of teaching and explaining and pushing back,” Oakes writes. “And yet, we keep showing up, and we keep trying.” from The Defiant Middle How Women Claim Life’s In-Betweens to Remake the World by Kaya Oakes. Needed to read that today.
    7) Walks with Daisy in the cold sunshine.
    7.5) Hope.

    Have a great week Imps!


  8. Margie, we also intentionally left up some Christmas lights. I’m glad you have a fireplace to keep you warm. I’ll have to go find your PB post! Hugs to Mulan.

    Rachel, thanks for sharing that quote. Love that first kick. And your fifth kick would make this Taurean happy too. Hugs to Daisy!

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