7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #34: Featuring LeUyen Pham

h1 October 28th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule —
and Lizzy Rockwell’s ’07 snowflake}

Jules: Mwahahahahahaha. Happy Halloween to everyone! This week’s illustration is by LeUyen Pham (who, apparently, goes by “Uyen” and says it’s pronounced “win”), and let me just say that I love her illustrations but it wasn’t ’til I saw this post in July at Chicken Spaghetti, in which Susan talked about Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by LeUyen, that I became familiar with her books. Whoa, she’s talented. Go visit her great web site, too, where you can see all kinds of her illustrations in her gallery. Eisha, I think, was already in love with her art work, and I thank Susan for posting about one of her books so that I could discover her awesome-ness myself.

And many thanks to LeUyen for giving us permission to use this Halloween illustration, which is on her web site — especially since she just gave birth and yet still managed to take the time to correspond with us about this. She also sent many other illustrations, some never seen before (as in, slotted for upcoming publications), and told us all about them. Woot! So, here’s the deal: If you’re a LeUyen fan, you’re in luck. If you’re not, we hope to convert you. If you really just visit every Sunday to merely read and list kicks and don’t care about the illustrator features (my New Favorite Thing Ever at 7-Imp), then scroll down to the kicks, by all means.

We’re just going to post these beautiful things and include her commentary about them right next to them:

Freckleface Strawberry (Bloomsbury Books), by Julianne Moore, just out now… This book was great to do. Julie apparently was sent several artists’ work to select from, and she loved the book Big Sister, Little Sister I had done a couple years ago. She’s the sweetest person, and really let me go at it with the character. In fact, she even asked me to cover the little girl in freckles — initially, I was shy about putting too many dots on her! Contrary to popular opinion, I never saw pictures of Julie as a child. My editor and Julie were pretty adamant about the fact that the character should just come from my imagination. I was pretty surprised afterward to discover that the little girl I had drawn looks almost exactly like Julie’s daughter!”

“This is from The Winter’s Tale (Dial Books), a re-telling of Shakespeare by Bruce Coville, also coming out this season. I have lots of different styles, and this one was a great chance to paint in the traditional watercolor I’ve always loved. The development of these characters was a lot of fun, almost like casting for a play. I don’t use photo reference often, and I don’t ever use models, so I really got to develop how each of these characters should look. It was like being a director, an actor, and a set designer all in one.”

And . . . Uyen’s comments on the illustration featured below: “This is from a book entitled God’s Dream (Candlewick Books), by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to be released next year. The book is a lovely condensed version of Archbishop Tutu’s many inspirational writings. I was really pleased to be selected by the Archbishop himself for this one. The fellow in the red shirt, center of the piece, is a caricature of him.”

Grace for President (Hyperion Books), by Kelly DiPuccio, is also coming out next year. It’s a story of a little girl named Grace who is astounded that there has never been a female president, and consequently decides to run for president in a mock election at her school. When deciding on how Grace should look, I thought an African American girl sounded ideal, and gave her as much spunk as I could. This, of course, was before Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton decided to run for president — how timely that my candidate is both female and African American!”

The Prince of Persia (First:Second Books), by A.B. Sina and Jordan Mechner, is also scheduled for next year. It’s a project I did with my husband, my first graphic novel, and a huge endeavor at that. 180 pages, and we finished it (from start to finish) in five months, while I had three other deadlines to meet. Crazy amount of work, based on the video game, written by an actual Persian Prince (who’s writing under a pseudonym). It was great to do with my husband, Alex Puvilland, who is also an artist.”

LeUyen also added, “Aside from these, I’ve illustrated My Chocolate Year (Simon & Schuster) by Charlotte Herman, and Alvin Ho (Schwartz&Wade) by Lenore Look, both young readers due out next year.

That’s about it! It’s been a busy year, and by the way, I illustrated all of these books (except the Shakespeare book) while I was pregnant with my first child, my son Leo. I’ve already dedicated three of these books to him! And technically, Prince of Persia is a family project, since we all three were involved in one way or another . . . That’s all! . . . Happy halloween!”

I found those book cover images there for the last two titles she mentioned. Thanks so much to LeUyen for sharing so abundantly with us on this last Sunday in October. What a treat to see all those LeUyen images!


By way of explanation for any new folks (who we hope will leave their lists), our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing 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.

*******eisha’s kicks*******

Man, I just love these illustrations. The Halloween one is so excellently spooky. And so fitting, ’cause I am so in the Halloween mood.

Boy Toy1* I read some great books this week. One was Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, but Lyga took a tricky subject (a teenage boy dealing with the aftermath of a sexual relationship with a teacher) and made a very believable and honest and compulsively readable story out of it. Well done.

2* Also, I finally-finally-finally got on the Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer bandwagon. That book freakin’ rocks. It’s so hard to find a truly original fantasy anymore. This one scores on just about every level. Also well done, Laini Taylor.

3* I also finally saw Mirrormask, and fell in love with Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean and the Jim Henson Company all over again. I’d been scared to see this one – somehow the premise worried me, like it was just going to be a big gothy CGI version of a Cirque du Soleil Mirrormaskshow. But no. It’s awesome.

4* Jules continues to kick ass with guest-blogging for ForeWord Magazine. Way to represent, Jules! And we’re working on a challenging co-review for our last week there, and even though it’s proving to be a tricky book to talk about, it makes me so glad to have a blog-partner like Jules who gets what I’m trying to say even when I can’t say it as eloquently as I’d like.

5* Fall is here in full effect, and it is just glorious – the air has that crisp edge to it, the trees are gorgeous, and I’m crunching through leaves all over the sidewalks and kicking up that excellent earthy-airy-tea scent. I love it so much, I would gladly sacrifice most of summer to keep it around longer.

6* I’ve discovered all sorts of new Halloween candy this year. Like, did you know that Hershey’s has a new bag of miniatures that are ALL SPECIAL DARK versions of the standards? SPECIAL DARK Mr. Goodbars! SPECIAL DARK Krackels! Yum!!! Why even bother making the other kind anymore?

7* We’ve run into our upstairs neighbors a couple of times in the stairwell and out in public, and they are so nice! They’re a couple, both poets and teaching at Cornell, and
just seem very cool. She even brought us just-baked-still-warm chocolate chip cookies the other night, just because she’d made ’em and felt like sharing. And they invited us to their Halloween party, a.k.a. the Zombie Prom. I’m kind of excited about the prospect of getting social with people in the same building – it could be just like Friends! Not to mention – Zombie Prom!!! How cool is that?

Whatever your plans, have a Happy Halloween, everybody!

*******Jules’ kicks*******

Well, now that is a tough act to follow, and Eisha has captured the joys of Autumn very well. And thanks for the kind words, Eisha . . . My week was just great, but I still don’t necessarily have seven separate kicks. Plus, we’ve just returned from a Ghouls-at-the-Zoo type event at Nashville’s zoo (a definite kick here on this Saturday night, as I type), and I think I’m too beat to type any more. There was lots of trick-or-treating; seeing one of my best friends who works there do her gross-‘n’-spooky-animals-of-the-world show (she carried around some kind of jumbo timbuktu cockroach, which made me want to pass out from way up in the audience; she’s a brave woman); and carousel-riding to boot! So, that was fun, and generally I’m just thankful that my friends and family — and especially my girls — are safe and healthy and happy during this kickin’ month of October, to which we’re about to say goodbye. Can you believe it?

What are your kicks?

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #34: Featuring LeUyen Pham”

  1. Good Morning! Eisha, agreed, why bother making anything else but dark chocolate? Chuck received a milk chocolate “C” from Belgium, told him it was safe as it was milk not dark. Our book club is talking about Dreamdark in January, Wanna attend? Jules, the zoo sounds fun, the cockroach sounds creepy.
    My kicks:
    1. Attending the AASL conference. My body is spent today from luggin’ books around.
    2. Hearing Wendelin Van Draanen speak. (author of the Sammy Keyes and Shredderman) Check out her pay it forward: http://www.exercisetherighttoread.org/.
    3. Stumbling into the last session that I didn’t plan to see. What a gem, all on an early bird program where kids come to read in the AM in the library before school.
    4.Meeting Sondra from Kane Miller. So nice to put a face with a name.
    5. Advanced Review Copies.
    6. Knowing that AASL will be in Charlotte, NC in 2009.
    7. Coming home. Love traveling but love returning home.

  2. Jone, I believe it was Sara Holmes who sent me that Exercise the Right to Read link before. Neat.

    Glad you had fun at the conference. And I’m still glad Sondra is okay, given all those CA fires.

    And yeah, I never said that those dark chocolates sound great to me, too. They are the supreme kind of all the chocolates after all. LeUyen’s and Charlotte’s chocolate book looks good to me, too. It’s sub-titled “A Novel with 12 Recipes.” Mmmm.

  3. Oooh, I’m so tired that I probably shouldn’t post because I might fall asleep in mid-senten……zzzzz

    Kidding, but I’m pooped, in a good way. The SCBWI had its annual Mid-Atlantic Conference in Arlington this weekend, and I was privileged to be on a panel of first-time authors with their editors. There is nothing better than being on a stage surrounded by members of your tribe and getting to talk writing. Plus, I got to spend time with old friends and more time really getting to know a new one. I always come away from these events bursting with new ideas and fresh inspiration, while at the same time, feeling utterly drained. So off to take a nap, which I think is one of the world’s kick-worthy-est indulgences. Zzzzzzz

  4. Wow, what great kicks, Eisha. I especially like the “friends” one. Always cool when you move to a new place.

    1. Friends. Who saved my life in the kidlitosphere. I feel normal and in control again. (Special thanks to Anne, Jules, Jen, Susan, Pam, Sara and Robin who really helped me out.) It really shocks me that, over time, I have made friends online. I never expected that.
    2. Reading again.
    3. Writing again.
    4. Recognizing that I have limitations and that doesn’t make me a bad person. (Yes, I’ve always had issues…)
    5. NaNoWriMo.
    6. My 2 writing groups, one of them old, one of them new, both of them awesome.
    7. the blog Rate your students (http://www.rateyourstudents.blogspot.com/) which keeps me sane and laughing at work.

    Have a great week, Jules and Eisha!

  5. I wouldn’t have recognized LeUyen Pham’s name, but seeing all her work there, I realize I’m familiar with it and that I like it. 🙂 That Halloween illustration is particularly awesome.

    Eisha, I am with you on the SPECIAL DARK. Someone keeps putting the regular ones in our candy stash drawer at the Reference Desk and I have to keep getting SPECIAL DARK chocolates to counterbalance.

    Jules, WORD to friends and family being safe and healthy and happy.

    Let’s see if I can get to seven:
    1. I read my homeschooling book for the last time. The next time I see it, it will be published, and I have a very solid plan not to look at the inside once it’s published because if there are any typos, I just don’t want to know. Anyway, this is both exciting and scary.
    2. I went to a screening of Evil Dead 2 at the Dryden Theater here in town last night. This is a film one really needs to see projected with a live audience. There was much exclaiming and clapping.
    3. I got a new sweater that I feel like I could just live in all the time.
    4. Pushing Daisies continues to amuse me.
    5. Yesterday was a good hanging-out-by-the-fire-in-sweatpants kind of a day.
    6. This morning, I got up and was super-productive before I came to work.
    7. Freshly made apple cider, by the gallon.

  6. Cool, Sara. Will you be blogging about the panel? (I accidentally typed “penal” at first, which sounds like an altogether different kind of conference).

    Adrienne, SPECIAL DARK all the way. And is that Evil Dead, as in Bruce Campbell? My husband adores those movies. But that’s old, so surely you must be talking about another one??

    And, see now, I really trust your taste in television/movies/all-around visual entertainment, and I’m already behind on Pushing Daisies. One more show to get on DVD in about three years. Congrats again on the book! I can’t wait to see it and tell my local librarians how they have to buy it.

  7. There’s a graphic novel about Prince of Persia coming out?!? SWEET! I loved that game when I was a kid! Thanks for a great illustrator review!

  8. Brooke, yes, isn’t that exciting? I’m not a game-player or huge graphic novel fan (don’t have anything against them either; just not my big passion), but my husband is kind of both, I guess (more of the former, really), and he was leaning over my shoulder at the computer, looking at that title, saying, “cool.”

  9. Kelly, I’m glad you feel more in balance now. I have to do some blog re-balancing, too, I think, ’cause I didn’t have time to actually read a novel last week. Nope. Not once. I started a novel about two weeks ago, and now I think I’m going to just have to put it away and start over when things slow down.

    Since I’m blogging about books, I need to re-evaluate my busy blog schedule. Now, picture books aren’t a problem, but I have a huge ‘ol stack of novels. (Wait, I did read half, I think, of Judy Blume’s new middle-grade one. Whew, there’s something!).

    But I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining either — the Robert’s Snow features are SO FUN to read, and in the upcoming WBBT, we’ll be interviewing authors I really admire and respect, so that’ll be great. I was feeling unbalanced before those things. I told Eisha we need to hire a 7-Imp secretary — just for correspondence! That alone takes a ton of time.

    Blah blah. Sorry to ramble. I am happy you feel relieved now and have rediscovered your blog’s original focus. As someone who has trouble saying no to things, too, I can feel your elated relief! And we’re all going to benefit from your renewed focus, I just know it. ‘Cause when you talk books, it’s always a good thing.

    And I loved reading Jen’s post about all this, too. I guess I could talk about this forever, as it’s a subject I’m eager to hear others’ thoughts on right now, but I’ll shut up now.

    CONGRATS again, Kelly! And thanks for visiting. We’ve missed your kicks.

  10. Great post–TadMack and I both love LeUyen Pham’s work. Thanks for the feature! I’m also still blown away by the fact that Prince of Persia was written by…an actual Prince of Persia. That’s just a weird, fun fact.

    I loved your kicks, guys. I’m so bad at coming up with these kinds of things, but here goes (in no particular order):
    1. Going to the Bridge School Benefit concert last night and being blown away by Regina Spektor, whose music I was hearing for the first time.
    2. Organic kohlrabi in our weekly vegetable subscription box. I’ve never had kohlrabi, so it will be a food adventure!
    3. Drywall in our addition! Woo! It’s getting there.
    4. Got back in touch with a friend from art school using Facebook.
    5. Started making notes for my NaNoWriMo novel.
    6. Got a few Cybils books in the mail–yay! I love fun mail.
    7. Got a hefty jury-duty check in the mail, too, for driving 90 miles to the district court. I was paid well for my wasted time! When does that ever happen?

  11. Thanks, Jules. And thanks for all your honesty and discussion through this process. You’ll figure it out soon too. Like you said…you just have to have the time!

    Sarah: You’re doing NaNoWriMo too? I’m going to try and find you so I can have 1 buddy at the site 🙂

  12. Okay, here are my seven kicks of the week all rolled into one: I drove up to New Hampshire on Friday with Grace Lin and Anna Alter. We attended the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival on Saturday. We had a great time! I hope to post about it later this week–if I ever get around to it–so may Grace and Anna. Quite a number of other children’s authors and illustrators also attended the festival.

  13. Jone – Heck yeah, I wanna attend your book club! And tell Chuck to save a little of that Belgian chocolate for me – I will stoop to eating milk chocolate if there’s nothing else around.

    Sara, you’ve earned that nap. Enjoy.

    Kelly and a.fortis, I cannot believe you guys can do your own blogs, your regular job and real life stuff, the Cybils, AND participate in NaNoWriMo. You rock something fierce.

    Adrienne, you’re the second (online) person I’ve seen mention how good Pushing Daisies is. You’ve added another show to my pile, too.

    Elaine, I can’t wait to hear about the festival on all your blogs. Sounds like a lovely event.

    And I’m so glad that so many of you understand why SPECIAL DARK needs to be in all caps. It’s just that special.

  14. Hello Everyone,
    Great lists as usual, and I love the halloween illustration. Here are my kicks for the week.
    1. Color me impressed and amazed by all the folks gearing up fo NaNoWriMo. Wow!
    2. I have been fall housecleaning for nearly two weeks. I have dusted every book and teapot I own. (The teapots number more than 50 single serving size and the books, well … ugh!) As much as I despise cleaning, I love how the house looks, feels and smells.
    3. William has decided that for every book we read about a boy (Nate the Great, Stink, Henry and Mudge) we need to read about a girl. Now we’re reading Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine. Hurray!
    4. I too and getting Cybils books in the mail and am enjoying reading them. Now I need to get goind on reviews.
    5. I attended a reunion lunch with all my travel buddies from China, some of whom I haven’t seen since we returned.
    6. Purchased a copy of Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer at the book fair at William’s school. I was thrilled to see it displayed so prominently. I just started it last night and am loving it.
    7. My husband went out of town for a golf trip and I am enjoying a quiet weekend full of books, art, pumpkin carving, cookie baking and snuggling with my son. How sad I’ll be when he tires of spending time doing all these fun things.
    That’s it. Have a great week folks.

  15. Mmm…dark chocolate! And MirrorMask, and Faeries of Dreamdark…I like everyone else’s kicks!

    I was contemplating a meteorological kicks list this week:
    1. Rain. Yay! It rained!
    2. Wind. I feel like L’Engle’s Mrs Which: “WIld nights are my glory.” I love the autumn wind.
    3. Cold. Enough for sweaters and blankets, but not enough to have to turn the heat on yet. Perfect. I cleaned out my closet yesterday and rotated in the cooler weather stuff. (I kept some t-shirts, though; I know how fickle Virginia weather can be.)
    4. Sun. Warm and sunny while I raked leaves this afternoon.
    5. OK, I ran out of weather-related kicks. The Red Sox are my next one. It’s getting hard to stay awake for the ends of games, though, so if they close it out tonight I’ll be ok with that.
    6. Another knitting project done! (No picture until it reaches its recipient, however.)
    7. Blog focus angst postings–Kelly and Jen, thank you again!

    ps–Tricia, I love William’s even-handedness! That’s so cool…

  16. Tricia, I think I adore William. And I’m frightened of your teapot collection. That is hardcore.

    Libby, we’re enjoying the same kind of weather, and as I think I may have mentioned, I love it too.

  17. Tricia, Not that I didn’t already know this, but William is way cool.

    Jules, Your first thought is right, it was one of those old Evil Dead movies. The Dryden is the theater at the George Eastman House (http://dryden.eastmanhouse.org/calendar/), where they have this amazing collection of films. They screen new stuff, but they also screen a lot of older things (like sometimes they even do silent films with someone playing the piano live, which is amazing). Over the last couple months, they’ve been doing this 80s series that has been making me want to go there every week. And, of course, now they’re doing horror on account of Halloween.

    Eisha, I still haven’t seen disc two of the second season of Extras. It’s getting shameful, but it’s so hard to keep up with everything. Sigh.

  18. Agreed about the SPECIAL DARK versions of Halloween candies, Eisha. And I hope that the “Friends” think works out with the people from your building. That would be very cool. And Adrienne, I like Pushing Daisies, too. You should check it out Eisha. It’s different from anything else on TV. Oh, and Tricia, I love William deciding to read books about girls as well as boys. That is very cool. Let’s see…

    1. I finally started a weekly newsletter with some of my blog posts, something I’ve been wanting to do (for people who aren’t set up to visit the blog every day), and I found a way to do it without a ton of extra work. It will just have selected content that’s already on the blog, but it will be easy for me to email that to people every week. Thank you FeedBlitz.

    2. I made brownies with regular chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips in them, for no particular reason. I way undercooked them, and they are so good when heated in the microwave.

    3. I finally got back to writing some reviews, after a month-long hiatus (I think Anne intimidated me at the Kidlitosphere conference, plus that whole time thing). And speaking of writing more reviews…

    4. I received amazing feedback to a post that I did in which I was waxing introspective about how to better focus my blogging efforts to meet my goals. Many many thanks to the people who’ve been helping me to figure this out. (Ditto to Kelly H. about the whole friends from the Internet thing – her own efforts particularly have inspired mine, and I’m very happy to have been able to help her a little bit. And thanks to Jules and Libby, too, for your comments above – it’s such a nice thing to think of making other people’s kicks. Libby, I think you’re the one who will make “blog focus angst” catch on a term.)

    5. I met Susan Taylor Brown and Linda Urban this week, at Linda’s signing at a local bookstore. It was wonderful to talk books with them. And then I read, and absolutely adored, Linda’s book: A Crooked Kind of Perfect (which is so much nicer than meeting her and then not adoring her book).

    6. How ’bout those New England Patriots?

    7. How ’bout those Red Sox?!!! (Watching game 4 right now, kicks done during commercial breaks)

    All in all, a pretty fine week.

  19. A. Fortis, I love Regina Spektor’s music and am jealous you saw her live.

    Elaine, can’t wait to read about the festival at your site! Woot! You always really take us there, as if we were sitting next to you.

    Tricia, I echo the GO, WILLIAM! remarks!!

    Libby, I love your weather-related kicks and that you keep visiting every week!

    Adrienne, got it straight now. My husband LOVES those movies, and he thinks that a friend of mine and Eisha’s, Darrien, looks like Bruce Campbell. You think so, E?

    Jen, congrats on the weekly newsletter. Excellent.

    And you sports people confuse me with the teams and games and other sporty stuff. But I like reading about your passion for your teams and the play-offs and touchdowns and goals and hockey pucks and, uh, I’m just throwing out every sports term I know right now, ’cause a sports person I am not. Seriously, when it comes to what’s going on and even big things like the World Series and Super Bowls and Quidditch tournaments, I’m a Big Idiot. But I’m glad you come here to exude your own particular joys about them.

  20. Blaine thinks Darrien looks like Bruce Campbell? Huh… Nope, don’t see it. I’ll run it by my B., though – he’s a hard-core Bruce fan, too. Even has Bubba Ho-Tep from Netflix sitting here right now.

  21. I love Bubba Ho-Tep. It’s awesome-ness all around. One of the best redemption films.

    Blaine thought that back when he first met Darrien, that there was a bit of Bruce in him. Darrien’s changed, though, as we all have (physically, that is). I don’t think he so much looks like him now, but I could see a bit of Bruce in his face before — from certain angles.

    Does he know we’re talking ’bout him? Heh.

  22. I freaking love Bubba Ho-Tep. It’s a crime that Ossie Davis wasn’t nominated for a supporting Oscar for his role in that film, and the whole premise was just so much fun.

  23. […] The forthcoming titles LeUyen Pham shared with us in […]

  24. […] The forthcoming titles LeUyen Pham shared with us in […]

  25. […] A surprise from illustrator LeUyen Pham in the mail, including her teeny-tiny, 3½-inch book on 2009, the Year of the […]

  26. […] LeUyen’s lively drawings from the book to share, too. (LeUyen fans, note that she previously stopped by 7-Imp almost two years ago.) So, without further ado, here’s Laurel. I thank her for stopping by. […]

  27. […] for president — how timely that my candidate is both female and African American!” LeUyen Pham (interview w/ “7 Impossible Things before […]

  28. […] Strawberry was checked out so I ended up with two of the following books. LeUyen Pham told “Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast,” this about the experience: “Freckleface Strawberry (Bloomsbury Books), by Julianne Moore […] was […]

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