Archive for March, 2015

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #425: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Haejin Park

h1 Sunday, March 29th, 2015

On the first Sunday of each month, I like to feature student or debut illustrators, but I’m doing things a bit early right now. I’m taking a tiny bit of a blog break this week, and since this means I will be posting on only a couple of days and also traveling, it would be harder to feature a student next Sunday. So, today it is.

Her name is Haejin Park, and she’s very close to graduating in Illustration at RISD. She talks about her work below, and she shares some art as well. (Most, but not all of it, is in watercolors.)

I thank her for visiting.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sibylle Delacroix

h1 Friday, March 27th, 2015

“Jenny is feeling out of sorts, but she doesn’t want to talk about it.
She just wants to be loved.”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about the anniversary edition of Heather Has Two Mommies, as well as a couple of Heather’s descendants. That link is here.

* * *

Last week I wrote here about an import originally published in France in 2013, Sibylle Delacroix’s Prickly Jenny (Owlkids Books, March 2015), so today I’m following up with some art from the book.


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Jay Hosler and Sentient Beetles Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Here’s a book I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while, Jay Hosler’s Last of the Sandwalkers (First Second, April 2015). If you haven’t seen an early copy of this book, you’re in for a treat, especially if you love science and/or graphic novels. That’s because it’s a graphic novel created by a biology professor/entomologist and cartoonist, and it tells the story of Lucy, a beetle (a “sandwalker”), who loves to explore and investigate. She lives in a community of beetles, which includes a group of elders who harbor a secret about the world beyond the palm tree in the desert where they live. Lucy, who puts the spunk in spunky, heads out into the wild world to discover its secrets, even breaking the rules to do so — and learns that beetles aren’t the only creatures in the world.

This is an entertaining story that packs in a lot of science — but also much more. As the Publishers Weekly review notes, Hosler “mingles themes of family, forgiveness, and freedom of ideas, and even manages to make big-eyed, mandibled crawlers emotive without getting too cartoony.” There’s a lot of adventure packed into this graphic novel.

First Second invited Jay, pictured above, to visit a small handful of blogs and share, at each one, an original drawing, as well as beetle facts. An original drawing. I just couldn’t say no, given that 7-Imp is, for all intents and purposes, an art blog. And I’m happy to post about the book, given it’ll be a big hit, in particular, with children who love to read about science (but not limited to just them, by any means). Pictured above is the Bark Beetle. They’re characters in the book, but below are all kinds of fun facts about them, straight from Jay:

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Oksana Lushchevska: An International Collaboration

h1 Monday, March 23rd, 2015

What a treat I have for readers today, especially those of you who, like me, enjoy following international picture books. In fact, next week is the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy (how I wish I were going!), so the timing of this post is particularly good.

Today, I welcome Oksana Lushchevska, a PhD student in Reading, Writing, Children’s Literature, and Digital Literacy in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia. She is contributing a guest post on contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature. Oksana’s doctoral research is focused on international children’s literature, and she also translates picture books from Ukraine into the English language, some of which have been awarded the Bologna Ragazzi Award. She also works with a private publishing house in Ukraine, creating bilingual picture books for children.

Oksana reached out to me to see if she could write here at 7-Imp about Ukrainian picture books. “I strongly believe that contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature might be of interest in the U. S.,” she told me, “especially bilingual picturebooks and award-winning translations.”

I was so pleased she contacted me; I’m glad to have met her, if only online; and I am grateful she is contributing this post today, especially since it’s filled with art. She calls this piece “Contemporary Ukrainian Children’s Picturebooks: Why Shouldn’t We Welcome Them?” Let’s get right to it …

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Oksana: First of all, I am very thankful to Jules for this wonderful opportunity to introduce contemporary Ukrainian picturebooks on her marvelous blog, which I’ve been following for quite a while. To briefly introduce myself, I’d say that I can surely call myself a children’s literature enthusiast, and my involvement in children’s literature is multifold. I must admit that all my activities often divide my daily routines into two parts: my “Ukrainian” phase of the day and my “American” phase of the day (because of the seven-hour time difference). It is sometimes really challenging, but is also very interesting!

I am currently a third-year PhD student at the University of Georgia, researching and studying U.S. and international children’s literature. Together with my academic advisor, Dr. Jennifer Graff, I am serving as a columnist for the “How Does That Translate” column. Additionally, I regularly contribute to the IBBY European Newsletter, which focuses on contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature. From time to time, I am doing children’s book reviews for Bookbird, WOW, JoLLE, the WGRCLC Blog, and several Ukrainian literary websites. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #424: Featuring C. G. Esperanza

h1 Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

“With her trunk she grabbed a brush and joined my little game.”

This morning at 7-Imp, I welcome artist C. G. Esperanza (Charles, pictured right), whose newest book is from Sky Pony Press. Red, Yellow, Blue (And a Dash of White, Too!), a promising author-illustrator debut, was released this month. Charles has previously illustrated Tania Grossinger’s Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship (Sky Pony Press, 2013), a story that is partly about famed baseball player Jackie Robinson, and he lives in the South Bronx. He tells me and 7-Imp readers more about himself below, and we get to take a look at some more art from Red, Yellow, Blue (And a Dash of White, Too!), as well as some early sketches from the book and a few of his other portfolio pieces.

For those who want to see even more of Charles’ work, his Instagram/Twitter handles are both @CGEsperanza.

I thank him for visiting.

P.S. If you want to read Charles’ thoughts on why picture books are the new Hip Hop, head over to his piece at Afropunk.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did
Last Week, Featuring Jon Agee and Brooke Kerrigan

h1 Friday, March 20th, 2015

“There once lived three fishermen: Peter, Santiago, and Ahab. They were tough.
They were as salty as the bottom of a pretzel bag. They were as weathered as a twisted stick of driftwood. Yes, these three were fishermen through and through.
Which is not to say that they didn’t sometimes dream of things
other than fish, knotted nets, and saltwater.”
— From Colleen Sydor’s
Fishermen Through & Through,
illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan

(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Jon Agee’s It’s Only Stanley
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a picture book import, called Prickly Jenny. That link is here.

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Last week, since I wrote (here) about Jon Agee’s It’s Only Stanley (Dial, March 2015) and Colleen Sydor’s Fishermen Through & Through, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan (Red Deer Press, originally released in 2014), I’ve got some spreads from each book. (The spreads from Fishermen Through & Through are sans text.)

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

A Conversation with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

h1 Thursday, March 19th, 2015

It’s really hard for me to say where this story came from. It’s not like any of my other novels. I was researching first-person accounts of World War II and the homefront in England, and the child evacuations always interested me, but Ada herself seemed to spring out of nowhere — and then Susan, and then Jamie. I had arguments with Jamie in my dreams. This one was somehow buried in my subconscious.”

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I’ll get back to picture books tomorrow, but over at Kirkus today I talk to author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley about her newest children’s novel, The War That Saved My Life.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …


Photo of Kimberly taken by Katie Bradley and used by permission of the author.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Benji Davies

h1 Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

“Almost … asleep….”
— From Jory John’s
Goodnight Already! (Harper, December 2014)
(Click to enlarge)

“… But he said they must take the whale back to the sea, where it belonged.”
— From
The Storm Whale (Henry Holt, September 2014)
(Click to enlarge)

I always open my “breakfast” illustrator interviews with art — but usually just one image. I have two images today, though, from British illustrator Benji Davies, because I couldn’t pick.

The first image is from his latest illustrated book here in the States, Jory John’s Goodnight Already!, which was released at the tail end of last year.

And that second image? It’s from The Storm Whale, which Benji both wrote and illustrated and which was released last Fall here in the U.S. (2013 in the UK). I wrote about that book here at Kirkus last year, and I couldn’t get over then what a beautiful illustration the one above, in particular, is. (That happens also to be the U.S. cover for the book.) And I still can’t get over it. Scroll back up and take a moment to enlarge that illustration and soak it in. Ah.

So that’s why I have two Benji art moments up there.

Benji—who, as you will read below, has been making picture books and board books for years now—is here for breakfast this morning. “Definitely with eggs,” he told me. “Preferably Benedict.” How’d he know I can’t start my day without eggs? Also, not without coffee. So, I’ll get that brewin’ while I get the basics from him before we chat over breakfast.

I thank him for visiting. (And if you want more, there’s Matthew Winner’s February podcast with Benji.) Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #423: Featuring Ed Young

h1 Sunday, March 15th, 2015

— From Gary Golio’s Bird & Diz
(Click to enlarge spread)


“Should you be a vaporous smoke, I’ll lift you to touch the heavens.”
— From
Should You Be a River
(Click to enlarge spread)

It’s an Ed Young kind of day here at 7-Imp.

Over at BookPage, I have a review of Gary Golio’s Bird & Diz (Candlewick, March 2015), which Ed illustrated. That review is here. I’ve got some spreads from it here at 7-Imp today.

To boot, I’ve got some spreads from Ed’s Should You Be a River, which will be on shelves in mid-April from Little, Brown. This is a poem that, as he explains in the closing Author’s Note, Ed wrote two years after the death of his daughters’ mother, his late wife. Ed’s friend, photographer Sean Kernan, contributed his photography to the project, and the book is a series of collages with these photos as a base. Calligrapher Barbara Bash also contributed to the book (hand-lettered calligraphy).

The poem is, at turns, intense (“Should you be a waterfall, I’ll scream when you plunge”) and poignant (“Should you be a rain shower, I’ll be a gentle valley to receive you”). The Kirkus review describes it as “mystifying and ultimately uplifting.” It’s quite possibly a book that will appeal more to adults, but people of all ages should see Ed’s cut-paper collages in this one, breathtaking in spots.

I’ll just let the art speak for itself. Below are some more spreads. Enjoy.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Yevgenia Nayberg and Gemma O’Callaghan

h1 Friday, March 13th, 2015

“On a day that shamed the sky, people were herded into the center of the town and forced to hand over their musical instruments—wooden or metal, it made no difference—to the Tyrant’s guards who carelessly pitched them into wagons.”
— From
The Wren and the Sparrow
(Click spread to enlarge)

“I must have been about twelve when I first went to see him on my own in the Scilly Isles for my summer holiday, and by then the nightmares had gone. That’s not to say I wasn’t still apprehensive in those first few days after I arrived. But I was always happy to be there, happy just to get out of London. …”
— From
Half a Man
(Click spread to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books — one from a smaller publisher that came out of nowhere and I really enjoy, as well as a brand-new picture book from the great Jon Agee. That link is here.

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Since I wrote here last week about J. Patrick Lewis’ The Wren and the Sparrow, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, and Michael Morpurgo’s Half a Man, illustrated by Gemma O’Callaghan, I’ve got a bit of art (above and below) from each book today.

Until Sunday … Read the rest of this entry �