Archive for February, 2020

Geraldo Valério’s At the Pond

h1 Thursday, February 27th, 2020

How about this beautiful cover? (You can click on it to see a larger version.)

I promise not to go on and on (and on) about the picture book I’m featuring today. It’s a wordless book, and if you can manage to find a copy, it’s best you experience it for yourself anyway. It’s from Geraldo Valério, born in Brazil and now living in Toronto. At the Pond (Groundwood) is a visual feast, as you can see from the three spreads below; find the nearest preschooler and make their day with this one. It should be on shelves next week.

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My Best Friend

h1 Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Julie Fogliano’s newest picture book, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, is coming to shelves in early March (Atheneum). It’s called My Best Friend, and I hate to even use those initial caps in the title there, because the book has nary a capital letter in it (including in the bios on the jacket flap). The use of all lowercase letters is but one of the ways you are ushered into the world of this book, one where small people rule. Though their exuberance is anything but tiny, they are. They are preschool-aged, it’s safe to say (though they could perhaps be older toddlers). Either way, it’s two young girls, who play outdoors near what appears to be a playground.

I may as well tell you about the book’s fabulous twist ending (picture-book spoiler alert ahead) so that I can talk about it …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #679: Featuring Chloe Bristol

h1 Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

If you are a fan of Edward Gorey’s books, you may be interested in Lori Mortensen’s new picture book biography, Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey (Versify), illustrated by Chloe Bristol and coming to shelves in March. Evidently, Gorey would have turned 95 this year.

Mortensen writes in a chummy tone — “Greetings, Dear Reader!” the book opens — with hints of (and tributes to) Gorey’s writing style throughout. She kicks things off in 1925 with Gorey as a child, a “dandy boy who looked out his window, drew sausage-shaped pictures of city-bound trains, and taught himself to read.” She marks his introduction to the books that would eventually change his life — such “quaint and curious” and “dark and disturbing” books as Dracula and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The Next President

h1 Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

“And some don’t have a clue yet that one day they’ll be president.”

I reviewed Kate Messner’s The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents (Chronicle), illustrated by Adam Rex and coming to shelves in March, for the Horn Book. And that review has been posted over there. As I wrote in my review, there are picture books aplenty about U.S. presidents, but I recommend you make way for this breath of fresh air. To read the entire review, head here.

Today here at 7-Imp, I have some spreads from the book, and Adam also shares some early sketches. I thank him for sharing.

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Meet Mel Valentine Vargas

h1 Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

I’m breaking my own rules again here at 7-Imp. Normally, I feature illustration students on the first Sunday of each month, but hey, I feel like featuring one day. So I am.

Meet Mel Valentine Vargas! They are, as they will tell you at their site, a Chicago-based Latinx illustrator and comics-creator. Mel, as explained below, is currently attending Columbia College Chicago, studying illustration and animation. Mel likes inking illustrations with brush pen work, and they also enjoy exploring new ways to detail and texture their work digitally.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #678: Featuring Noa Denmon

h1 Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Say hello to illustrator Noa Denmon. (That’s her self-portrait above.)

I read a just-released YA novel last week (which, by the way, I highly recommend) — Echo Brown’s Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard (Henry Holt, January 2020). I was really taken by the book’s cover art, and when I saw that it was by Noa Denmon, I visited her site and then emailed to see if I could secure her permission to share some of her art. Lucky for me, she said yes. So, today I’ve got a bit of her artwork. Here — isn’t it beautiful? — is the dustjacket of the novel I read:

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Like the Moon Loves the Sky

h1 Friday, February 14th, 2020

“Inshallah you plant gardens filled with sweet fruits.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

Want to see some spreads today from Like the Moon Loves the Sky (Chronicle), written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Saffa Khan? Saffa — a printmaker, as well as an illustrator — was born in Pakistan and now lives in Scotland, and I’ve a few of her vividly colored spreads to show off here at 7-Imp today. The book will be on shelves in early March.

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My Chapter 16 Q&A with Alice Faye Duncan

h1 Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

“I wrote Just Like a Mama to celebrate and affirm adopted children. I also wrote it to acknowledge the aunts, grandmothers, and
big sisters who cheerfully care for children not their own.”

Over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16, I talk to author Alice Faye Duncan about her newest picture book, Just Like a Mama (Denene Millner Books, January 2020), illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow.

My chat with Duncan is here. (Note: Barlow actually visited 7-Imp last year to talk about making the illustrations for this, her debut picture book. That post is here.)


The 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour:
A Q&A with Author Debbie Levy

h1 Monday, February 10th, 2020

“…Flory played the songs of her Nona, and they helped her feel closer to home.”

I’m happy to be a part of the Association of Jewish Libraries’ 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour with a visit today from author Debbie Levy. Levy won a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category for The Key from Spain (Kar-Ben, August 2019), illustrated by Sonja Wimmer.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #677: Featuring Magdalena Mora

h1 Sunday, February 9th, 2020

“Suffragists didn’t / Give up on the fight,
And the Nineteenth Amendment / Gave women the right.”

Today, illustrator Magdalena Mora visits to talk a bit about creating the illustrations for Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America (Beach Lane, February 2020), written by Deborah Diesen, as well as share some early sketches and final art. This is Mora’s debut as a picture book illustrator.

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