Archive for September, 2017

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Evan Turk

h1 Friday, September 29th, 2017

Early sketch and final art: “‘Last I checked, you can’t eat the blues for breakfast,’
said Grandma Della. ‘No child of mine is gonna waste his time with music.’
But Muddy was never good at doing what he was told.”

(Click each to enlarge)


Today at Kirkus, we’re saying hi to some old friends.

That is here.

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If you like Michael Mahin’s Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters (Atheneum, September 2017), illustrated by Evan Turk, as much as I do (I wrote about it here last week), you may enjoy today’s post. Evan shares some of his process paintings, and your eyes will be happy. There are even more images in this post at Evan’s site, where he also talks about the reasons behind the newspaper collages in the book’s illustrations. Oh, and Evan mentioned this book in my 2016 interview with him and shared some images there as well.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Q&A with Charly Palmer

h1 Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Art affords me the freedom to express what I love, and what I love is black people and the various aspects of black culture. Much of our youth are drastically underexposed to their history, and that saddens me. Continuing to take on black children’s book projects allows me to bring to life the stories of our people.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to illustrator, fine artist, and graphic designer Charly Palmer, pictured here, about his picture book debut, Kathryn Erskine’s Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2017). This book tells the story of Grammy Award-winning South African singer Miriam Makeba.

That Q&A is here.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some artwork from the book.

Until tomorrow …

Song of the Wild

h1 Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

“White wings, as delicate as paper,
and a body lighter than a cupcake …”

(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)

Here’s a quick post to show you a bit of art from a book, coming to shelves in early October, that will catch the eye of young readers. Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals comes from children’s book author and zoologist Nicola Davies. I always love to see what she’s up to, and this book, with illustrations from Petr Horáček, is a wonderful offering. As the title indicates, it’s a “first book” of animals, geared at young children — and great for browsing, over a hundred pages as it is.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #553:
Featuring a Brief Elisha Cooper Moment

h1 Sunday, September 24th, 2017

I think I mentioned here earlier that I’ve joined the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott team. This week, Lolly, one of the Calling Caldecott bloggers, wrote about Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat, Little Cat, released in March. I’ve also written about this book this year, and I’ve even got some art from it here. But I’m using today’s kicks post (mostly, I admit, because I’ve had a busy weekend and am not quite prepared to write about the book I had originally planned on writing about today) to point you to Lolly’s smart thoughts on this wonderful book. That is here.

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Suzy Lee and Kathryn Otoshi

h1 Friday, September 22nd, 2017

— From Kathryn Otoshi’s Draw the Line
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Suzy Lee’s Lines
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I write about Michael Mahin’s Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters (Atheneum, September 2017), illustrated by Evan Turk.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Suzy Lee’s Lines (Chronicle, September 2017) and Kathryn Otoshi’s Draw the Line (Roaring Brook, October 2017). Here at 7-Imp today is some art from each book.

Enjoy …

Read the rest of this entry �

A Moment with the Art of Chris Sheban

h1 Thursday, September 21st, 2017

(Click to enlarge sketch)

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with author Patricia MacLachlan about several things, and one of those things was her newest picture book, Someone Like Me (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, July 2017). Today, I’ve got some art from the book from illustrator Chris Sheban. He also includes some early sketches.

If you like what you see here, I’ll have more soon. I’ve had Chris’s responses for a 7-Imp “Seven Questions Over Breakfast” interview for an embarrassingly long time. It’s taken me longer than I like to get to that interview. The good news is: This is because it will have so much art in it. But the challenge is that those longer, art-filled interviews take longer to format. Anyway, I hope to have that up soon (and I thank Chris for his everlasting patience).

The final art you see here below from Someone Like Me is sans text.

Enjoy! And thanks to Chris for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �


h1 Tuesday, September 19th, 2017


I’ve a post at Calling Caldecott today, which is all Henkes, all Egg.

That is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #552:
Featuring Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

h1 Sunday, September 17th, 2017

(Click to enlarge spread)

When I was a child, I used to wonder about things like souls and my very identity. That is, I wondered what made me, me and what it would be like if I were born as someone else. Hell, I’m 45 and still wonder about these things sometimes.

Paige Britt’s Why Am I Me? (Scholastic, August 2017), illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, is a contemplative book that gets at the heart of these questions — without, that is, providing any pat answers or, really, any answers at all. The illustrations feature a busy cityscape, a boy and a girl noticing each other on the subway and wondering, “why am I me … and not you?” The children look out to all the people bustling around them and wonder why it is they are who they are and “not someone else entirely.” They ponder these questions as they pass parks, people making music, people playing sports, and more. In the end, they meet and say hi to one another, and it’s clear a friendship has begun. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Katherine Roy

h1 Friday, September 15th, 2017

Today over at Kirkus, I’m reading between the lines, so to speak. That is here.

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Last week, I talked here with author-illustrator Katherine Roy about her newest picture book, How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild (David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook Press, September 2017). Today, she follows up with some beautiful sketches from her research trip to Kenya, a bit of a peek into her process, and some final art from the book. (Pictured above is an early sketch.)


Read the rest of this entry �

My Kirkus Q&A with Patricia MacLachlan

h1 Thursday, September 14th, 2017

I think that my slow process of becoming blind is a great reason for this book. When I now look in the mirror, I look like an impressionist painting — interesting perhaps, but not clear. What I do see is my childhood, sharp and clear. Someone Like Me grew out of my memories, a wonderful world that now serves me.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan, pictured here, about her newest picture book, Someone Like Me (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, July 2017), illustrated by Chris Sheban, and much more.

That Q&A is here.

Next week, I’ll follow up here with some of Chris’s art from the book. (I also have a lovely, art-filled interview with Chris I’m eager to post but which I’m ridiculously behind on. I hope to post that soon!)

Until tomorrow …