Archive for August, 2022

A Short Breakfast Break

h1 Monday, August 29th, 2022


I’m taking off this week — I have a daughter to take to college — but will return on Sunday. I leave you with this excellent piece at The Hechinger Report, written by teachers Christie Nold and Ursula Wolfe-Rocca:

The wave of state legislation and school board policies restricting what educators can and can’t teach shows no signs of slowing. These efforts rely on a narrative that learning about the history of racism and white supremacy harms students — particularly white students, leaving them feeling guilty and ashamed. We emphatically reject this narrative; it in no way matches our combined 30-plus years of experience as public school teachers. It is not teaching about racism that endangers our students, but the curricular gag-rules that seek to perpetuate their miseducation.

Again, here’s the full piece. Happy reading.

Until Sunday …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #809: Featuring Theodore Taylor III

h1 Sunday, August 28th, 2022

“Mom and Dad were so excited, moving from one end of the country to the other to trade our fast, busy city life for a small, quiet one far away. I wasn’t feeling it.” This — the opening spread of Theodore Taylor III’s Off the Wall (Roaring Book), coming to shelves in October — depicts the narrator, looking out the car window at a sign that says: “BUFFINTON Population 80, 723.” In speech-bubble dialogue, we read the child’s response: “Meh.”

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Me and the Boss

h1 Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

“‘You!’ She wraps me and Bess in her special hug, and we share something that is bigger than my pocket, bigger than Bess’s ear, maybe even bigger than me or Zora.”

“I know big sisters. Zora, the boss, she’s mine.” That’s Lee, Zora’s little brother, in Michelle Edwards’s Me and the Boss (Anne Schwartz Books), illustrated by April Harrison and coming to shelves in October. Lee knows Zora is in charge, and he does his best to keep up with her. The two visit the library one day, where the librarian, Mrs. C, teaches a group of children how to sew.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #808: Featuring JooHee Yoon

h1 Sunday, August 21st, 2022

“Supposing I lived close to a circus and took scraps every day to my favorite lion and learned to speak Lion, and one night the lion escaped and frightened people and I ran up to the lion by myself and spoke to it in Lion until it went to sleep and the manager gave me a free ticket to the circus for the rest of my life…”
(Click spread to enlarge)

Alastair Reid’s Supposing … was originally written in 1960. In a new edition from Enchanted Lion Books, on shelves now, JooHee Yoon interprets this playful text in dynamic ways.

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Dadaji’s Paintbrush

h1 Thursday, August 18th, 2022

“Once, in a tiny village in India, there was a boy who loved to paint.
He lived with his grandfather in an old house full of paintings.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Dadaji’s Paintbrush (Levine Querido, August 2022), which comes from Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Ruchi Mhasane, is the open-hearted and tender — oh, the tenderness — intergenerational story of a boy and his grandfather in India. And it’s a thing of beauty.

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Karl James Mountford’s The Circles in the Sky

h1 Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

“Neither creature spoke for a little while;
they just sat in the quiet with the bird.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

It is striking to me how Karl James Mountford addresses death in The Circles in the Sky (Candlewick Studio), coming to shelves next month. To be sure, there are plenty of picture books out there that address the topic, but Mountford does it in a way that pays tremendous respect to child readers.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #807:
Featuring Holly Berry and Gerda Muller

h1 Sunday, August 14th, 2022

— From Gerda Muller’s The Musicians of Bremen


— From Holly Berry’s Told and Retold
(Click spread to enlarge)

“Storytelling is as old as humankind. Before people could write or read, they entertained each other, taught lessons, shared information, and expressed universal truths by telling stories.” This is the introduction to Holly Berry’s picture book Told and Retold: Around the World with Aesop’s Fables (Philomel, August 2022). And it applies to the other book I’m featuring today, Gerda Muller’s The Musicians of Bremen: A Grimm’s Fairy Tale (Floris), originally released in France nearly a decade ago but coming to shelves next month in a (second) U.S. edition.

Let’s take a look at these two new picture books, celebrating traditional tales. …

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Jeff Mack’s Marcel’s Masterpiece

h1 Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Author-illustrator Jeff Mack takes on some big questions in his newest picture book, Marcel’s Masterpiece: How a Toilet Shaped the History of Art (Henry Holt, August 2022): “How can we tell when something is art or when it isn’t? Who gets to decide?” And he poses these questions by way of this one: “Can a toilet really be art?”

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Hope Is an Arrow:
The Story of Lebanese American Poet Kahlil Gibran

h1 Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

“Kahlil wanted to believe in all religions and all people. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

Today I’ve got some spreads from Hope Is An Arrow: The Story of Lebanese-American Poet Khalil Gibran (Candlewick, July 2022), written by Cory McCarthy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. This picture book biography spends most of its time in the childhood and teenage years of the life of the celebrated poet Kahlil Gibran.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #806: Featuring Liza Ferneyhough

h1 Sunday, August 7th, 2022

“Nina has two grandmothers who live on opposite sides of the world. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

Nana, Nenek & Nina (Dial, August 2022) is the debut picture book from author-illustrator Liza Ferneyhough. It is the story of Nina, who has a Nenek and a Nana who, as you can see above, live on “opposite sides of the world.” Nina is in San Francisco; Nana is in England; and Nenek is in Malaysia. “If she misses them and wants to visit,” we read, “there’s a lot of figuring out to do.” In the opening spreads, we see her packing. She’s on her way to visit both grandmothers. Ferneyhough — who created the warm, playful illustrations on “tea-stained paper, using watercolors, many tiny brushes, and a crow quill dip pen” — dedicates the book to her own British-Malaysian-American family.

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