7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #806: Featuring Liza Ferneyhough

h1 August 7th, 2022 by jules

“Nina has two grandmothers who live on opposite sides of the world. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


Nana, Nenek & Nina (Dial, August 2022) is the debut picture book from author-illustrator Liza Ferneyhough. It is the story of Nina, who has a Nenek and a Nana who, as you can see above, live on “opposite sides of the world.” Nina is in San Francisco; Nana is in England; and Nenek is in Malaysia. “If she misses them and wants to visit,” we read, “there’s a lot of figuring out to do.” In the opening spreads, we see her packing. She’s on her way to visit both grandmothers. Ferneyhough — who created the warm, playful illustrations on “tea-stained paper, using watercolors, many tiny brushes, and a crow quill dip pen” — dedicates the book to her own British-Malaysian-American family.

Each spread captures Nina’s two visits by showcasing England on one side of a spread and Malaysia on the other, which emphasizes the universality of the experience of visiting a grandmother, no matter where she lives, as well as conveys the particularities of each locale. And Ferneyhough fills these moments with details that delight in their specificity, starting with the spread showing a phone call each grandmother receives, the call that says Nina and her parents will visit: “Beep beep” goes Nana’s phone, while Nanek’s is a “brring.” “Welcome,” says the airport sign in England, though on the other side of the spread, in which Nina hugs Nanek, we read “selamat datang” on the wall. And Ferneyhough doesn’t miss a thing (you want to take your time with these spreads): If you look closely at the plane sitting beyond the airport window, the spread’s verso has a sky colored differently from the sky on the recto.

Ferneyhough showcases each of Nina’s activities in this way. What is it like to dress for the day at Nana’s house? What about Nenek’s? One involves a pinny, mac, and wellies, and the other, a topi, baju renang, and selipar. Readers see the grandmothers’ gardens; trips to the shore; meals; bath time; and more. Each experience is differentiated by the locale, weather, and culture, but what remains constant, no matter where Nina stands, is the love and affection her grandmothers have for her.

Ferneyhough’s palette has a warm glow to it (it might be that tea-stained paper). Earthy colors dominate with rose, lavender, and apricot highlights. The body language throughout the book is particularly expressive, especially Nina’s. Readers will fall for her. Perhaps we will be treated to another of her adventurous journeys in future books. That would be lovely.

Here are some spreads. …


“They make sure everyone has a good breakfast. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“Nana and Nenek both get their shopping done in the lafe afternoon,
while Nina takes her nap. …”

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


“The moon she knows from home glows far outside both windows. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


(Click cover to enlarge)


NANA, NENEK & NINA. Copyright © 2022 by Liza Ferneyhough. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 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) Air conditioning.

2) The tofu quesadilla at Nashville’s Taco Mama.

3) Everything Everywhere All at Once.

4) Getting to meet (for a work assignment) via Zoom an attorney friend and colleague of our own kicker Rachel.

5) The dialogue in season 1, episode 2 of The Old Man in which Chase is taking about a guy he once served with: “This wise old man, he never spoke. And it wasn’t because he couldn’t or because he had nothing to say. It was because he believed that language deceived. That by its very nature, it clouded the truth, so it made the world harder to know. And this wise old man, he believed that the truth lived only in silence. Communicated by other means. That the food he prepared from his garden conveyed his affection, his gratitude or his indifference … far better than any words could convey. And it was said that this wise old man … he could change minds in that way. He could soften the hardest of hearts without ever saying one word.”

6) This line from this book: “In an average life lived by a relatively average soul, what else remains but singular moments of astonishingly framed light?”

7) Nightswimming.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #806: Featuring Liza Ferneyhough”

  1. Those across the ocean spreads!!! I love them. Also, “Beans for breakfast, beans for dessert” that’s too good!!!

    I loved Everything Everywhere All At Once soooo much. Best time I’ve had at a movie in ages.

  2. I love debut books and ta grandma story as well, I’m all in.
    Jules, yes to air conditioning! And nigh swimming.
    My kicks 1-7 is being at the coast Friday-Tuesday.
    Have a great week

  3. Hi Imps! Happy Sunday!

    Hello to Liza, Nana, Nenek, and Nina! I like the side-by-side style, and I especially like the moon pages.

    Jules and Rachel: It’s a small, small world!

    Jone: Yay for a lovely trip.

    My kicks:
    1) Taking my time
    2) Silver linings
    3) Considering
    4) Information
    5) Details
    6) Forward motion
    7) Snacks

  4. Really love the illustrations and the premise of this book – my favorites are the gardens, the night time with the moon and the shopping.

    Jules – hooray for being able to connect good people – whether for work or whatever. Kick 6 – oof, what a sentence. Night swimming sounds like a perfect summer kick.

    Jone – have fun at the coast, hope it’s cooler temps than we are having in Portland!

    Little Willow – love Silver Linings, Forward Motion and Snacks! And yes, it most definitely is a small world.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Reading “Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good by Paul Newman and A. E. Hotchner, which is all about how they started Newman’s Own and then The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. I hadn’t known that after Hole in the Wall they helped other found similar camps across the country and internationally.
    2) Fresh tomatoes from my garden.
    3) Evening walks in the neighborhood.
    4) Pinky Pie kitty purring after allowing some morning pets and brushing with her breakfast.
    5) Settling a case well this past week.
    6) Making friends with dogs on a walk at Mt Tabor.
    7) My niece loving When Women Were Dragons as much as I did.
    7.5) Having coffee in the yard in the early morning before the heat, listening to the birds and the neighborhood waking up.

    Have a great week Imps!

  5. Jerrold, I figured you might really love this book.

    Jone, the coast sounds so great. Glad you had a good time.

    Little Willow, that’s a fascinating groups of kicks. I like that silver linings and snacks are of the same week.

    Rachel: PINKY PIE! Hello to her. LOVE that 7th kick, and I like that bonus one just as much.

    Have a good week, you all!

  6. I love, love, love this book. The grandmothers, the colors, our girl, the opposite sides of the world, and so much more. I must get one.
    I am delighted to have managed to get here on Sunday, even tho’ it is late in the East.
    So good to read from some of you whose names I’ve seen for years.
    Love the Kicks – and congrats to Jules for passing 800 Kick Sundays!
    My kicks:
    1. Meeting our new Kinder teachers and talking books
    2. Getting the Libraries ready for students
    3-6. So many new books, so little time!
    7. A lovely birthday with my family.

    Take care everyone.

  7. Allison, happy birthday! Or happy belated birthday! Those students are so lucky to have you. I hope it’s a great school year.

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