It’s such an honor for us to be guest-blogging this week at Practically Paradise. Diane asked us to talk a bit about what we do over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (which has garnered the nickname of “7-Imp” in the kidlitosphere. We like it! It’s rather puckish, no?). We also decided that it’d be fun to interview each other and talk a bit about blogging, what we’ve done over the past couple of years, and -– of course -– books.
And, if you’re not familiar with 7-Imp, let us briefly explain who constitutes the “we” here: Julie Danielson (Jules) and Eisha Prather, who are both librarians, complete with graduate degrees in the field. Jules is currently taking a temporary break from librarianship to raise two young girls (the blog helping her keep up while she’s away), and Eisha, having just moved to the state of New York, is currently looking for her dream library job. Here’s the low-down on 7-Imp and what we do:
- First and foremost, we review books. That’s our purpose. (And our review-copy policy has an entire page devoted to it at our site, as we want to be sure to wear our ethics on our sleeves). We set out (in August of 2006) to review books for any age, but we’ve ended up being a blog which covers children’s and YA lit probably about 95% of the time. We’re not one of those blogs which is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest news bits (there are a handful of other blogs which do that splendidly); we simply set out to talk about our favorite books -– and, occasionally, if books pain us enough, we’ll talk about the ones we don’t like. More often, we do the former; we only have little windows of time for blogging, and so we simply don’t have enough time to talk about the ones we could barely finish. For all intents and purposes, we’re a fan site.
- Yes, we know that, generally speaking, author and illustrator interviews are not considered the highest form of literary analysis yadadayadadayadadaya. But we love to do ’em. We love to hear our favorite illustrators and authors talk about their craft (and always end the interview with the wonderfully weird set of questions called The Pivot Questionnaire). Our list of author interviews to-date are listed here. And illustrator interviews to-date are grouped here. We are always adding Q & As to these lists.
- That includes a brand-spankin’-new series in which we’re interviewing illustrators. We began last week with Jeremy Tankard, Grumpy Bird’s best friend, in “Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeremy Tankard.” We have a long list of other illustrators with which we’d like to chat -– to see pictures of their studios, learn about their process, read their thoughts on their favorite medium, and find out what profession they’d like to do if they weren’t making art.
- Hands down, our favorite feature occurs on Sundays: We meet -– in the only posts at 7-Imp that smack of the personal and non-book-related -– to list our seven “kicks,” or Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things From the Past Week (whether book-related or not) That Happened to You. Folks from all over come and leave their kicks as well. But what’s our favorite thing about this feature? Back in May ’07 we decided to feature an illustrator’s work at each of these Sunday posts. An illustrator will send us one or two or eight illustrations from current or forthcoming projects (and, often, never-seen-before images), sometimes adding a comment or two about them, and we post away. In January 2008, we decided to feature a student of illustration or a newly-graduated one on the first Sunday of each month (here’s an example of one). All the illustrators featured at "kicks" posts are listed here.
- When Jules posts about picture books, she also tries her best anymore to get permission (from illustrator or publisher) to include a spread or two from them. It’s safe to say that 7-Imp is terribly picture-book-friendly. We have a disproportionate amount of posts about picture books and illustrators. Jules keeps a list of the illustrators whose work she features in picture book reviews here. And all the fabulous illustrator interviews and snowflake features, conducted by many bloggers, for Blogging for a Cure 2007 — to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — are listed here.
- We also have an ongoing series in which we interview other bloggers. We like Pivot’ing them, too! There is a “Blogger Interviews” page at our site as well, archiving those interviews to-date.
- We will also occasionally put our heads together and do what we call co-reviews -– do a back-and-forth dialogue about our thoughts on a book. We recently started inviting other bloggers over to 7-Imp to do that with us. In August of last year, we talked about Cat Weatherill’s Snowbone with Betsy Bird in September, Gabrielle Zevin’s Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac with Jen Robinson; in October, Perry Moore’s Hero with Roger Sutton; and in December, Mo Willems’ new Elephant & Piggie beginning readers with MotherReader.
- And we participate in Poetry Fridays, Non-Fiction Mondays, and multi-blog events, such as blog blast tours, Under the Radar posts, Wicked Cool Overlooked Books (when we’re organized enough), and One-Shot World Tours. We’ve also done some freelance writing, thanks to the blog, which you can read about at the “Freelance Writing” page at our site.
There’s probably more, but this is long enough. How about I (Jules here) grill Eisha? Let’s have at it!