Tiny Kitty, Big City: A Visit with Tim Miller

h1 March 16th, 2021    by jules

It’s a pleasure to have a visit once again from author-illustrator Tim Miller, who takes a deep dive here into his newest picture book, Tiny Kitty, Big City (Balzer + Bray, March 2021), and shares some process images as well. The story, told in short and punchy two-word phrases on each spread, is one of a stray kitten who eventually finds a home — but not after wandering, lost and during winter, throughout New York City. It may be crowded and loud and scary for the tiny creature, but kitty is brave — and survives, thanks to the kindness of strangers.

This book is a love song to cats and New York City. It nearly hums with the magic of the Big Apple in winter, all brought to life in Tim’s vibrant, spacious, and unfussy cartoon style. I thank him for visting today to talk about the gouache (and cat hair) illustrations, how this story was born, and much more. Let’s get to it.

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #734: Featuring Elizabeth Haidle

h1 March 14th, 2021    by jules

I’m taking a break from picture-book spreads today (though I’ll be back very soon with some) to share this sun from illustrator Elizabeth Haidle. It’s in honor of spring coming and the first buttercup I saw in our yard this week. It’s in honor of hopes that we’ll all get the vaccine sooner than we expected, thanks to Biden’s efforts and the news he shared this week. And it’s posted as we note the one-year mark of first coming to terms with the pandemic and heading inside to socially isolate. Whew. It’s been a long year, but the sun is coming out. Soon, we may even be able to hug a friend again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Your Mama: A Conversation with
NoNieqa Ramos and Jacqueline Alcántara

h1 March 11th, 2021    by jules

As you can read below in today’s 7-Imp visit with author NoNieqa Ramos and illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara, Your Mama (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) — on shelves next month — sprung to life when Ramos decided to “approach a trope with a fresh perspective.” In this case, that trope is the tried-and-true “yo’ mama” joke, often used to disparage someone and their mother. Here, Ramos and Alcántara turn that joke on its head and pay tribute to mothers everywhere — in particular, an independent, brown-skinned, single Latinx mother who is all. that. And then some.

Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Kusel’s The Passover Guest:
A Visit with Illustrator Sean Rubin

h1 March 9th, 2021    by jules

“Muriel loved Washington in the springtime. The white buildings stood out crisply against the green lawns. The cherry trees burst into pink blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
She could feel Passover in the air.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Susan Kusel’s The Passover Guest (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, January 2021), illustrated by Sean Rubin, is a reimagining of the great Uri Shulevitz’s 1973 picture book adaptation, The Magician. (In 1904, Polish writer Isaac Leib Peretz orginally published “The Magician” as a short story in Yiddish.) And it is a breath of fresh air, infused with her love of Uri’s book, a childhood favorite of hers; Passover; Washington, D.C. and its cherry blossoms; and the Lincoln Memorial. The book’s richly colored tableaux are brought to us by Sean Rubin, who visits today to talk a bit about the process of illustrating this one.

In the book’s opening spread, seen above, we meet Muriel, who loves Washington in the spring and can “feel Passover in the air.” But it’s 1933, and families everywhere are suffering. Her own family cannot buy all the food necessary for their Passover seder. As she walks home one evening and passes the Lincoln Memorial, she sees “a strange figure dressed in rags, juggling on the steps of the monument.” After she puts a penny in the hat at this feet, he tells her to hurry home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Parnassus Books: Chat with
Jessica Young and Rafael López

h1 March 8th, 2021    by jules


I mentioned this in a post last week, but here’s a reminder:

Tomorrow evening, March 9, I’ll chat with author Jessica Young and illustrator Rafael López about their newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event. It starts at 6:00 PM Central.

Here are the details. Come join us, if you’re so inclined.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #733: Featuring
Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

h1 March 7th, 2021    by jules

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know (Groundwood, March 2021) is a book about the seasons — and a beautiful collaboration between author Brittany Luby, illustrator Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, and translators Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere. The book is written in both Anishinaabemowin and English.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams

h1 March 4th, 2021    by jules

Title page spread
(Click to enlarge and see with text)

Today, I’ve got a Q&A over at Chapter 16 with author Jessica Young, who chats with me about her newest picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams (Little, Brown, March 2021), illustrated by Rafael López.

Here is the Chapter 16 chat with Jessica.

Pictured above is the book’s title page spread (sans text), and below are some more spreads from the book. Also! Please do come join me for a Parnassus Books Facebook Live event during which I’ll chat with both Jessica and Rafael about this book. That will be next Tuesday, March 9th, at 6:00 PM Central. Here’s the info.

Read the rest of this entry »

Starting Over in Sunset Park

h1 March 2nd, 2021    by jules

I’ve a review over at BookPage of the bright and beautiful Starting Over in Sunset Park (Tilbury House, February 2021), written by José Pelaez and Lynn McGee and illustrated by Bianca Diaz.

The review is here, and below are some spreads.


Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #732: Featuring Giselle Potter

h1 February 28th, 2021    by jules

“Because once people have eaten apples and bananas, purple potatoes and
yellow tomatoes, kiwifruit and sugar snap peas and spaghetti squash …
who knows
what they’ll try next?”
(Click spread to enlarge)

The next time you eat passion fruit, a donut peach, or purple asparagus, you can give a note of thanks to produce pioneer Frieda Caplan, the subject of a new picture book biography from Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Giselle Potter and arriving on shelves last month (Beach Lane Books), Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat is informative, eye-opening, and will have you reaching for the nearest fruits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mornings With Monet: My BookPage Q&A
with Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré

h1 February 25th, 2021    by jules

“It is magic.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

“Once I began focusing on Monet, I kept writing drafts that started in his childhood, which is a typical way to connect a young reader to historical biography. I soon realized that Monet’s childhood would bore children, because it was boring me! When I asked myself what I thought a young reader would find interesting, the answer was the boat.
Why would you paint on a boat? How do you paint on a boat?
What happens when you paint on a boat?”

— Barb Rosenstock

Over at BookPage, I’ve a Q&A with author Barb Rosenstock and illustrator Mary GrandPré about their newest collaboration, Mornings with Monet (Knopf, March 2021). It’s a nonfiction picture book, as Barb notes in our Q&A, that begins and ends in four hours and captures Claude Monet one morning (3:30 AM, no less) “on his way to work.” And “work” is painting, from his rowboat (his “studio boat”), on the Seine. It’s a beautifully crafted book, filled with vivid sensory language and richly imagined acrylic illustrations.

Here’s the Q&A, and below is another spread from the book.

Read the rest of this entry »