Archive for November, 2021

Hat Tip to the Holiday Books

h1 Tuesday, November 30th, 2021


Over at Calling Caldecott, Elisa Gall and Jonathan Hunt ask why more holiday books don’t win the Caldecott and write about some holiday-themed picture books they’ve seen this year that they admire (including the one pictured here).

If you’re interested in reading more, that conversation is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #771: Featuring Brendan Wenzel

h1 Sunday, November 28th, 2021

I’ve a review over at the Horn Book of Brendan Wenzel’s newest picture book, Inside Cat (Chronicle, October 2021).

That review is here, and below are some spreads.


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h1 Thursday, November 25th, 2021

“I am thankful for all those things: love and dreams, night and morning.
For a moon and a sun that always come back.
For stars and candles to make my wishes on.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

There’s no doubt that this is a time of year — now until year’s end — when people talk a lot about gratitude. No matter how you celebrate the holidays (or if you even don’t), it’s undeniable the lasting effects of pausing to take stock of what you’re thankful for. (Neuroscientists have even shown that it rewires our brains in postive ways.) Elaine Vickers’s Thankful (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, September 2021), illustrated by Samatha Cotterill, tells the story of one child’s meditations on gratitude.

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Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest

h1 Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

“The witch sighed. She had always found young children exhausting. She looked up.
‘All right then. What do you wish for?'”

I love to see the books of author-illustrator Ole Könnecke, so I was happy to see that Gecko Press has released here in the States his illustrated chapter book, Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest (September 2021). This modern fairy tale features a quick-thinking protagonist named Dulcinea. She knows not to ever enter the enchanted woods next to her home, but … well, sometimes you have to face your fears in order to save your father.

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Getting Graphic at Calling Caldecott

h1 Monday, November 22nd, 2021


Last week at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott, we posed the question: Should ALA establish an award specifically for graphic novels and comics, since currently none exists? Come and join the discussion, if you’re so inclined. That is here.

And today Niki Marion and Alec Chunn discuss the 2021 graphic novels they would love to see garner some Caldecott love, what they call the “CaldeComics.” Their discussion is here.

p.s. This isn’t about a graphic novel, but don’t miss Sabrina Montenigro’s post about Selina Alko’s I Is for Immigrants.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #770: Featuring Nikkolas Smith

h1 Sunday, November 21st, 2021

It has been troubling to me to see the number of news stories about states (including mine) passing legislation to ban discussions in classrooms and libraries that address the racism that is very much a part of America’s past — and present. This has a huge effect on the books that are then shared in classrooms. As you can read here, the people going after critical race theory are engaging in overexaggerations of what it really is. We will never progress with regards to racial equality in this country without giving students truthful accounts of our country’s racist past and present, and giving young people the skill set to critically examine how systemic racism has and continues to shape this country is but one step toward that progress.

Cue Nikole Hannah-Jones’s The 1619 Project. You may be familiar with its New York Times’s and/or podcast iterations, and now it’s in book form. (I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my holiday wish list.) Hannah-Jones also joined Renée Watson to pen the powerful picture book The 1619 Project: Born on the Water (Kokila, November 2021). Read the rest of this entry �

In the Meadow of Fantasies

h1 Thursday, November 18th, 2021

(Click cover to enlarge)

I normally open posts with art, but given that this is one of my favorite picture-book covers of the year, I kick off this post with the cover. (Don’t worry. There are spreads below!)

Hadi Mohammadi’s evocatively named In the Meadow of Fantasies (Elsewhere Editions, November 2021), illustrated by Nooshin Safkhoo and translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili, was originally published in Iran in 2017 and is now on shelves here in the U.S. It tells a tender and beguiling story about a child’s imagination and is a story of generosity: “Not a folktale, not a poem, not a dream,” writes the Publishers Weekly review, “but some whirling mixture of the three, this lulling recitation by Iranian author Mohammadi affirms generosity as a natural impulse.”

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The 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library
Best Illustrated Children’s Books list

h1 Tuesday, November 16th, 2021


Did you see the 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list? Martha Parravano and I discuss the list over at the Horn Book.

Head here!

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #769: Featuring Steven Weinberg

h1 Sunday, November 14th, 2021

(Click image to enlarge)

Today, I’m happy to welcome author-illustrator Steven Weinberg, who is here to talk about his new board book series, the Big Job Books, as well as the illustrated chapter book he released earlier this year, The Middle Kid (Chronicle, March 2021).

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The Big Bath House

h1 Thursday, November 11th, 2021

It was my pleasure to write over at BookPage about Kyo Maclear’s exquisite The Big Bath House (Random House Studio, November 2021), illustrated by Gracey Zhang. Head here to read more about this, one of my favorite picture books this year.

Here today at 7-Imp are some spreads from the book.


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