Archive for May, 2022

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #796: Featuring Juana Medina

h1 Sunday, May 29th, 2022

I have sat here a long time, trying to figure out how to start this post. I had planned on writing about a book, as usual, but I decided instead to share this image from author-illustrator Juana Medinashared earlier this week on Instagram with the note: “Enough.”

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I’ve Got Nothing Else This Week

h1 Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

I’m Not Small: A Chat with Nina Crews

h1 Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

“I am not small! My dog is small.
See how tall I am when I stand on my toes?”

(Click spread to enlarge)

It’s a pleasure to welcome author-illustrator Nina Crews to 7-Imp today. She and I talk about her new picture book, released this month — I’m Not Small (Greenwillow) — and how she momentarily put down her camera to work in a new style. I’m Not Small is an empowering tale about a child exploring how all things in nature are relative. Stepping into the yard — “Sunshine! Daytime! Time to play outside.” — the young child experiences the thrill of doing so independently: “You’re a big kid now,” says mother. The child feels small next to the big tree but tall next to the dog, as pictured above. “I am big!” the child declares triumphantly after exploring creatures in the yard.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #795: Featuring Wanda Gág

h1 Sunday, May 22nd, 2022

(Click to enlarge)

The great and groundbreaking picture book artist Wanda Gág published The ABC Bunny in 1933, and it went on to win a Newbery Honor the following year. It’s an alphabet book, and it includes hand-lettering by Gág’s brother. Also, music for the text (“ABC Song”) is included in the back of the book in the form of a score. This was composed by Gág’s sister. Clearly, it was a family affair.

Last month, the University of Minnesota Press — Gág was a Minnesotan from an immigrant family — released a board book edition of the book. Though many picture books don’t translate well to board book form, I think this one works.

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A Day for Sandcastles

h1 Friday, May 20th, 2022

I’m always excited to see a picture book with a story concept conceived by JonArno Lawson. Lawson’s newest, A Day for Sandcastles (Candlewick, May 2022), is illustrated by Qin Leng. Even better.

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Yoshi and the Ocean

h1 Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Lindsay Moore’s Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home (Greenwillow, May 2022).

That is here — it’s a remarkable story, this tale of Yoshi — and below are some spreads.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #794: Featuring Matthew Cordell

h1 Sunday, May 15th, 2022

I’m sending you to the Horn Book today to read, if you’re so inclined, my review of Philip Stead’s Every Dog in the Neighborhood (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House), illustrated by Matthew Cordell and arriving on shelves in June. Here’s the review. This is, hands down, one of my favorite picture books thus far this year.

And then, if you’re so inclined again, you can look below to see some spreads.

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The Velveteen Rabbit: A Visit with Erin Stead

h1 Thursday, May 12th, 2022

A color sketch
(Click image to enlarge)

When I was a child, I read Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), originally published in 1922, over and over again — so often that I can still recite the book’s first paragraph by memory. I remember feeling chilled by the description of Nana, who “ruled the nursery.” I remember her “swooping about like a great wind” and being short-tempered and careless with the toys. It was my first lesson in how an author can depict so much about a character via their actions alone. I remember the Skin Horse’s words. And I was mesmerized by the fairy.

A reader can certainly have a nostalgic longing for a book they read as a child, but is the book good? I am all the time talking to my picture book grad students about this — about not letting that kind of thing get in the way of evaluating a book on its merits. For me, this book endures. This is why I was excited to see that Erin Stead has illustrated the 100th anniversary edition of the book, released in April by Doubleday. Erin put it well in this NPR piece: “The part that we all remember about talking about what’s real – that really carries with you for the rest of your life with all of the relationships you have, all the friendships that you’ll make, and all the times that people aren’t necessarily kind to you. There’s a lot of insecurities. There’s a lot of figuring out how you belong. It’s hard to shake a story that’s that honest.”

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The Waiting Place

h1 Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

“Matin is five. He is from Afghanistan. His waiting place is a field of shipping crates turned into homes, just below a misty mountain where ordinary people picnic and hike. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a children’s book this year as driving, urgent, passionate, and deeply felt as The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found (Candlewick, May 2022), which comes from author Dina Nayeri and photographer Anna Bosch Miralpeix. The book chronicles Nayeri’s and Miralpeix’s 2018 visit to Katsikas, a refugee camp near Ioannina, Greece.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #793: Featuring
The Art of Alice & Martin Provensen
and The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales

h1 Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Martin and Alice Provensen
(Click image to enlarge)

I’m goin’ vintage today, you all. If you are fond of reading about picture books, illustration, the history of children’s literature, and (especially) the work of illustrators Alice and Martin Provensen (pictured above), I have two books here at 7-Imp today that will certainly pique your interest — each superb, spectacularly detailed, and lovingly designed.

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