Archive for August, 2020

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #706: Featuring Sydney Smith

h1 Sunday, August 30th, 2020


I’ve a review over at BookPage of one of the most splendid picture books you will see this year. I Talk Like a River (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, September 2020), written by Jordan Scott and illustrated by Sydney Smith, is nothing less than a masterpiece.

My review is here, so you can read my thoughts over there if you are so inclined.

As always, I have some spreads from the book to show you here at 7-Imp today, but illustrator Sydney Smith also shares some preliminary images (for which I thank him). If you read 7-Imp, you’ll know from previous Smith visits that you’re in for a treat. Pictured above is an early painting from Sydney, followed by the final art (the opening to the book’s dramatic double gatefold spread).


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Flamer: A Conversation with Mike Curato

h1 Thursday, August 27th, 2020

It’s a pleasure to welcome author-illustrator Mike Curato once again to 7-Imp. Today, we discuss Flamer (Godwin Books/Henry Holt, September 2020), his new graphic novel for teens. Flamer is fictional but based on some of Curato’s own personal experiences.

The book tells the story of 14-year-old Aiden, who is away at summer camp (awash in toxic masculinity) and trying to figure out a lot of things about himself, including the fact that he has a crush on a boy. He dreads the return to school (he’s about to transition from a Catholic school to a public high school) and is accustomed to being bullied — for his size and weight, for being effeminate, for not playing sports, and for his Filipino heritage. It’s a powerful and poignant coming-of-age story and a departure for Curato, who until now has made picture books.

I thank him for visiting today to discuss the book and share some art.

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Cozbi A. Cabrera’s Me & Mama

h1 Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

“There’ll be me and Mama.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Cozbi A. Cabrera’s Me & Mama (Denene Millner/Simon & Schuster, August 2020). That review is here, and here today at 7-Imp I’ve some of the book’s spreads.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #705: Featuring Temi Coker, Alexis Franklin, Omar T. Pasha, and Jenna Stempel-Lobell

h1 Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

I know I regularly post here at 7-Imp about picture books and illustration, but sometimes I see a book cover that blows me away. In this case, it’s the cover art (pictured above) for the YA novel Punching the Air, written by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam and coming to shelves next month. I read an early copy, and it’s a beautifully crafted and compelling story.

How about that cover art, right? See below to take in the whole package, the cover with its lettering. The jacket art is by Temi Coker; the portrait is by Alexis Franklin; and the jacket design and lettering is by Jenna Stempel-Lobell. (I highly recommend following all of them on Instagram — respectively, @temi.coker; @alexis_art; and @jstempellobell. I don’t know about you all, but that’s my primary reason for being over at Instagram — to see art.)

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Thao Lam’s The Paper Boat

h1 Thursday, August 20th, 2020

If you’ve seen Thao Lam’s previous picture books, you know that she works in a distinctive paper collage style and that her books have been consistently quirky. (Case in point is last year’s very funny My Cat Looks Like My Dad.) Coming to shelves next month, though, is a personal story from her, called The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story (Owlkids, September 2020). Here today at 7-Imp are a few spreads from it.

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Baby Cakes Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

(Click to enlarge spread)

Here’s a post in honor of an upcoming begining reader that makes me laugh — David LaRochelle’s See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog (Candlewick), illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Coming to shelves in September, it’s an entertaining set of stories for new readers.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #704: Featuring Meilo So

h1 Sunday, August 16th, 2020

I’m pleased today to share some spreads from Deborah Hopkinson’s Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterlies (Chronicle, August 2020), illustrated by Meilo So. It’s an empowering story about children working together as grassroots activists, and it’s a smart pairing of text and illustration.

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Thanks to Frances Perkins:
An interview with Kristy Caldwell

h1 Thursday, August 13th, 2020

I’m pleased today to welcome illustrator Kristy Caldwell to 7-Imp as part of a blog tour for Deborah Hopkinson’s Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights (Peachtree, August 2020). Hopkinson frames this biography of the groundbreaking workers-rights advocate, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor (the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet) for twelve years, with “math questions” for the young readers at whom the book is aimed: “How many yeras will it be until you turn sixty two?” and “What year will that be?” You’ll want to thank Frances Perkins, Hopkinson writes, when you get to that age.

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The Blue House: A Conversation with Phoebe Wahl

h1 Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Phoebe Wahl’s neweest picture book, The Blue House (Knopf, August 2020). That review is here.

Because this is one of my favorite 2020 picture books, I asked Phoebe if she wanted to talk a bit about the book. (I just noticed that three out of my five questions to her below begin with “I love how ….”) There are a few spreads from the book below, and Phoebe also shares some sketches and in-studio images. I thank her for visiting!

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #703: Featuring Jutta Bauer

h1 Sunday, August 9th, 2020

“… play with my children …”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)

I don’t want to say too much about today’s book, a German import written and illustrated by Jutta Bauer. And that’s because Selma (Gecko Press), coming to shelves next month, is a slim, small book, and I don’t want to steal from you the wonders of reading it for the first time. And it’s a small book that asks a big question: What is happiness?

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