Archive for March, 2016

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #474: Featuring Masamitsu Saito

h1 Sunday, March 13th, 2016

“But I’m all right.
The snow covers me like a fleecy blanket.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Okay, you all. Before Spring officially gets here, I must take some time to tell you about Yuki Kaneko’s Into the Snow, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito and released by Enchanted Lion Books last month. This is a book that captures the glee and exhilaration of a beautiful day of play in the snow. It’s captured with such exuberance — the textured artwork (rendered via oil pastels, gouache, acrylics, and colored pencil) nearly leaps off the page and pulses with an infectious energy.

A young boy wakes to see the snow from his window and bundles up to head outside. He feels the snow, finds an icicle, and heads to the top of a hill for a sled ride. He barrels down the hill, and his joy (and probably a fair share of fear) at this moment are captured in four dynamic spreads. His mother comes for him, and he heads home — to hot chocolate, no less.

The colors here pop off the page — bright blues, warm greens and oranges, vivid yellows. Saito’s lines are delightful, particularly as the boy sleds down the hill; they’re a swirling jumble of movement and speed. The whole book is a snapshot in time for the boy, perfectly capturing the joyous parts of Winter.

Let me just show you what I mean with a few more spreads. Enjoy!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Karen Klassen

h1 Friday, March 11th, 2016

Today over at Kirkus, I write about the new poetry collection from Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about a new series of books (Owlkids) from author Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Karen Klassen. You Are One will be on shelves this month; You are Two comes in the Fall; and You Are Three will publish next year. Today, I’ve got some of Klassen’s art from the first two books.

I’ll close with Klassen’s lovely self-portrait and a portrait of O’Leary she did.


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Hannah. Sugar. Kate.

h1 Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Do you remember reading here, 7-Impers, all about Kate Berube? When I posted that back in 2013, she was not yet published. That is, incidentally, one of my very favorites of the up-and-coming illustrator posts.

Well, Kate’s debut picture book is out. I’ve got a review (it’s here) at BookPage. It’s called Hannah and Sugar and was released by Abrams this month. As a follow-up, Kate visits today to talk about the book and share early images and art, etc. “Generally,” she says, “I will draw and draw and draw a character until I find one that strikes me. This [pictured left] was that drawing for Hannah.”

Let’s get right to it. I thank Kate for sharing. I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and, especially, seeing her preliminary images. (And I can’t wait to see what she does next.)

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Philip C. Stead Shares a Short Essay on
Anxiety and the Making of Ideas Are All Around

h1 Tuesday, March 8th, 2016


(Click to enlarge)

Over at BookPage, I reviewed Philip C. Stead’s newest book, Ideas Are All Around, published this month by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press. That review is here if you want to read a bit about what the book is about (and why I like it).

Phil visits today to talk about learning what art is, how he made the illustrations for this one, and how he’s unsure how to answer your question about which parts of the book are real (and which are not).

Let’s get right to it. I thank Phil for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #473: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Helen Zughaib

h1 Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Out of the Box

My guest today is artist Helen Zughaib, who was born in Beirut. Helen says she knew she wanted a life of painting and making art when she was very young and cites Matisse, Rousseau, Mondrian, and Jacob Lawrence as influences. Growing up primarily in the Arab world, she says, also influenced her — “the light, the patterns and colors on carpets, tiles, and buildings that surrounded me.”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Francis Vallejo

h1 Friday, March 4th, 2016

“Nobody calls me Bill / Except my wife / I’m the Count / Ol’ Base / Or Holy Main …”
(Click image to see spread and text in its entirety)

Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at the first book in a new picture book series of sorts from author Sara O’Leary and illustrator Karen Klassen. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about my love for Roxane Orgill’s Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph, illustrated by Francis Vallejo (Candlewick, March 2016). I’m following up today here at 7-Imp with a couple of spreads from the book.

I highly recommend spending time at Francis’s site. There’s more art there.


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My Q&A with Mildred D. Taylor

h1 Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

I always wrote, even in high school, but my work had been rejected many times. I was living in Los Angeles, working as a proofreader, when a friend told me about the contest, sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books. I heard about the contest on a Thursday, and the deadline for submissions was the following Monday. I spent the weekend rewriting a story I’d been working on, typed it at work on Monday (my co-workers covered for me!), and got to the post office just in time to mail the manuscript.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Mildred D. Taylor, the winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The novel’s birthday is being celebrated in more ways than one—a writing contest and an exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library—and all of that, plus my chat with Taylor, is at Kirkus today at this link.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Mildred D. Taylor used by permission of Dial Books for Young Readers.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Christy Hale

h1 Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Pictured above is one of Christy Hale’s beautiful illustrations from Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, A Life in Nature, coming to shelves in September of this year. “This was Ansel’s front yard,” Christy tells me, “the Golden Gate Headlands before there was a bridge. I work traditionally in collage, pasting down papers and stylized photographic elements. Line work and addition layers are added in Photoshop.”

It’s a pleasure to have Christy visiting 7-Imp for a cyber-breakfast this morning. She is pictured here with Jerry Pinkney, who was her illustration teacher at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. Pinkney must be proud. Christy went on to forge herself an impressive career in this field — not only illustrating but also writing, designing, art directing, and teaching. She talks more below about that work, as well as shares more images from Antsy Ansel — and lots of other artwork.

“A book is architecture of the imagination,” she noted in her 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor acceptance speech for the wonderful Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building, which she both wrote and illustrated, and her work over the years has sparked the imagination of many children. As a former school librarian and now a parent, I look forward to any book with her name on the cover. Her richly textured illustrations are ones to pore over.

Since she usually switches her breakfast up between oatmeal/berries/almonds and scrambled eggs, I say we have all of the above. And coffee, because she says there’s always coffee. Looks like we’re aligned on that.

Let’s get to it, and I thank Christy for visiting. …

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