Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there! It’s time for our 7 Kicks, but before we get to that, don’t forget the Summer Blog Blast Tour and its inaugural interview today. That would be an interview with Gene Yang over at Finding Wonderland. Don’t miss it, people. It’s really well-done. And we here at 7-Imp will have our interview with Brent Hartinger tomorrow and an exclusive interview with Sonya Hartnett the next day. For our other interviews this week, visit this link (and here’s the Grand Master Schedule).
Hey, look up there at our 7 Kicks illustration-of-the-week. It’s Hugo and Miles! Have you read Hugo & Miles in: I’ve Painted Everything (An Adventure in Paris)? (Jules reviewed it here, and here is a February review of Kara LaReau’s Ugly Fish, which Scott also illustrated). Author/illustrator Scott Magoon sent us this illustration for this week’s list; Hugo and Miles there are atop the Eiffel Tower, taking in a grand view of Paris. Thanks to Scott!
And, wait, there’s more . . . Look, it’s an illustration from his upcoming Fall picture book (Houghton Mifflin), called The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating by Alice Weaver Flaherty (a neurologist who teaches at Harvard no less, according to this link). Scott says it’ll be out this September, and we went and found the Houghton link to it. Looks like good stuff. We are fans of Scott’s work, and we thank him for not only the Hugo & Miles art work but the sneak peek Lochness illustration, too.
Okay, let’s get to the lists then. Here’s our usual intro for any new people: It’s time for another installment of 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks. For those new to our series, this is where we all stop in every Sunday to report seven (more or less is fine) Good Things that happened to you (or that you read or saw or experienced or . . . well, you get the picture) this week. Absolutely anyone is welcome to contribute, and your lists don’t have to be book-related.
I’m doing my list early this week, since I’ve got some SBBT interviews to get ready for tomorrow and Tuesday. Whew. We hope you enjoy all our SBBT interviews this week. Here were my Good Things from this week:
1). Anyone remember me talking about how my daughters are obsessed with Regis Faller’s Polo books? And that my husband and I commissioned a very talented woman here in Nashville to create a Polo doll for my youngest, who cries out Polo’s name after we’ve hidden the Polo books for having read them about, oh, twenty kajillion times in a row (to. be. exact.)? (And she once walked around the grocery store, clinging to an illustration of Polo from one of those square Horn Book Guide subscription ads that you can rip from the magazine, saying “My Polo!” repeatedly). Well, here he is! How spot-on is that beautiful creation? And there she is giving him a big, happy hug. After she got him, she ran around hugging him, apparently doing a Polo Dance, and she’d stop in front of the stove in the kitchen, see her reflection in there, and say, “No! MY Polo doll” to the girl in the appliance.
(Fair Use, Fair Use, I cry to anyone who questions the legality of this, by chance. And, come on, just look at my daughter’s face when she first SAW HIM!) . . .
2). Getting to see good (and out-of-town) friends this week (Shannon and Susan) and getting to talk a bit with Shannon about the YA poetry anthology we want to get published one day. Shannon also did repeated dramatic recitations of The Monster at the End of this Book in a really convincing, rousing, thoroughly entertaining Grover voice for my daughters’ great, squealy enjoyment. Probably lost his voice that evening from his enthusiastic readings. He’s a sport, that one.
3). I finished Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. And here’s the deal: I’m not going to give it a formal, its-own-post review, because I do not want to give away a single plot point. What I love about Hosseini is captured here by The Washington Post Book World when reviewing The Kite Runner: “no frills, no nonsense, just hard, spare prose . . .” Or, as this New York Times review that I just found put it, “Mr. Hosseini . . . writes in straight-ahead, utilitarian prose and creates characters who have the simplicity and primary-colored emotions of people in a fairy tale or fable.” Since I think he is such a fine storyteller (and, yes, he does do the “primary-colored emotions.” I see that, I get that, but it’s still compelling stuff) and since his prose is so straightforward with a complete and utter lack of literary somersaults in the name of showing off, I don’t want to give away any of the dramatic action, should you want to read this for yourself and let it unfold for you. (And even though his prose is mostly straight-up, no-nonsense, he’ll throw in moments like this — “In the middle of the night, when Laila woke up thirsty, she found their hands still clamped together, in the white-knuckle, anxious way of children clutching balloon strings” — which just slay me). This novel covers three decades in the life of war-torn Afghanistan (anti-Soviet jihad, civil war, and the Taliban), all seen through the lives of two women. We all know about the stifling patriarchy of the Taliban and their mistreatment of women — or at least we hear about it repeatedly and think we know it — but, wow, this was really eye-opening (hint: Did you know that the Taliban allowed only a few women doctors and nurses to work, but hospitals still had segregated wards for women? In one scene, one of our main characters has to have a c-section in a very dirty, segregated hospital with. no. anesthesia. Needless to say, it’s difficult to read) . . . If anyone else has read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts (Betty?). Good stuff.
5). Check out this great story: So, I go to story time this week at the Nashville Public Library, and they have a (high school, I assume) summer volunteer there, who looks nothing like Eisha but has the same slight, petite build, long hair, and sweet demeanor with children that Eisha has. And my three-year-old is drawn to her like a magnet, sits next to her, gives her hugs, keeps giving her coy smiles (she is normally quite shy and doesn’t exactly sit with total strangers). I had a suspicion it was ’cause she was reminded of Eisha (she lurvs Eisha dearly and always enjoys her visits). I asked her, does she make you think of Eisha?, and she said, “YES!” . . . Can I get a big collective “AWWWWWWWWWWW!” please?
6). Look, Alkelda! My daughter’s first sunflower has blossomed!
1* AWWW! That pic of Ada with her new Polo doll!
2* AWWW! That story about Miri with the library volunteer. I’m so flattered. And I lurv Miriam right back!
3* My turn for the cuteness overload! It’s been a while since I shared a Miles pic, but my sister-in-law just sent some new ones, including this sweet smile, which just floored me. Miles is getting so big. And bald. Hopefully his hair will come back soon.
4* This week was totally insane at work, because we’re gearing up for the start of our summer reading program next week, and I spent a lot of time at the school next door to our library, going class to class, plugging the SRP with a pharoah’s headdress on my head. It’s exhausting, but I got to say goodbye to some of the teachers and students that I’ve gotten close to over the past four years. *sniff*
5* At our monthly children’s librarians meeting on Friday, they threw a little goodbye party for me, complete with cake from Rosie’s (oh how I will miss Rosie’s - for serious, they have the best buttercream frosting ever), and a copy of Mo Willems’s grown-up book, You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons. Do they know me, or what? I’m really going to miss that crew - definitely the most dedicated and excellent team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. *sniffle, sniff*
6* My friend and co-worker Jamie also gave me two ARCs she’d scored at Book Expo America: Kiki Strike: the Empress’s Tomb, and an Adam Rex illustrated novel (?!? - I hadn’t even heard about this!!!) called The True Meaning of Smekday, which is even autographed for me. I am so very lucky to have Jamie as a friend. I’m going to miss her so much. *sniffle, sob*
7* Jules kicking ass in her SLJ Practically Paradise blog interview. Way to represent, yo!
How ’bout you, Dear Readers? Anything kick-worthy to report? Please do!