Tag Archives: kyo maclear
I’m so happy to share the picture book life of Kyo Maclear today since she’s one of my very favorite writers. Her one-of-a-kind work has a simultaneously intellectual and daydreamy quality. In my view, she embraces the unexpected—whether that be taking inspiration from historical figures to taking risks—in the best way and never underestimates young readers. In a word, she’s brilliant.
“‘My picture books start with text and image. I weave an ‘art script’ into my text manuscripts because my stories are visually driven, but these art notes are always open for interpretation by the illustrator,’ Maclear explains. ‘The word-image dynamic is so enmeshed in my books and often so amplified by the metaphoric intuition and intelligence of the illustrator, I find it hard to separate one aspect (or intelligence) from the other. By the end, the collaboration is pretty seamless.'” (From the CBC)
From Kids Can Press:
“Kyo now resides in Toronto, where she shares a home with two children, a cat, a musician and a lot of books. In addition to writing, she likes to listen to music, watch old movies, do yoga, make art and play around in her bright, open kitchen… As well as writing for children, Kyo is a novelist and a visual-arts writer.”
“‘When I visit schools, I meet a lot of kids who are first-generation immigrants and I see myself in them,’ Maclear says. ‘Many of these students have super-strong linguistic skills (often serving as interpreters for their families, as I did for my mother). Yet, if asked, many of these verbally dexterous, multilingual kids would not imagine themselves as future writers.
‘I think it would be a great public service to explore how children’s linguistic hesitance (both in reading and writing) is tied to experiences of migration, social marginalization, and a dearth of role models. There are children with amazing verbal/narrative imaginations who are simply not finding their way to the language-based arts. And I believe that’s a loss for our literary cultures.'” (From the CBC.)
“Her first children’s book, Spork, a delightful tale of a mixed-identity kitchen utensil, was inspired by the birth of her first child, and Maclear’s own dual British-Japanese heritage.” (Link to feature/quote here.)
This one is inspired by the relationship between Virginia Woolf and her sister, Vanessa Bell, and a different spin on Bloomsbury. It’s for anyone feeling upside down and not themselves.
Two friends (one of whom is named after Julia Child) whip up a feast filled with sweetness, wonder, and imagination to remind busy, worried adults of what they’re missing. A couple of years ago, Lyndsay from Coco Cake Land made the chocolate almond cupcakes from the book for this blog! Check it out!
A book about journeying, wishing, and kindness. And I made a craft for this one at the start of this year—a picture book wish tree for classrooms or families. Come see!
A lyrical picture book full of the most wonderful language and the truest of feelings.
A family of list makers, fabulous lists, fantastic references, and one unexpected guest. I love this book.
This super clever book includes a bird who watches humans a la birdwatching and who notices a change in the land where it lives. A story of coming together over a common observance and care for the world. The wordless spread is especially arresting.
A delightful story in three parts following Yak and Dove’s friendship, the ups and downs of opposites with a special bond. Altogether charming.
You can find all Kyo Maclear’s picture books on her website.
A special shout out to all the talented illustrators she collaborates with as well!
You can see all my “Their Picture Book Life”posts here.
And here’s the one I did on the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
Julia is a child. (One who wears roller skates, which I especially admire.)
She bears some resemblance to THE Julia Child in her affinity for French cooking and butter, but this picture book is otherwise a fictional tale.
click image(s) to enlarge
Julia has a best friend named Simca. Together, they are experts in friendship and cooking and childhood.
Those are the themes of this standout book.
“When they dreamt of the future,
they always pictured themselves cooking happily together:
the oldest children in the world.”
The girls are pretty clear on how growing up is not to be desired. They’ve seen grownups. They know they’re “wary and worried, hectic and hurried.” Who would want to be like that?
Morstad’s illustrations show adults as line drawings, unfilled out with color the way the children are. They look like people who’ve lost something along the way.
So Julie and Simca prepare a meal to bring out wonder in those big, busy people. Through a wonderful meal that draws people to it with its rainbow-like aroma.
“‘The problem,’ said Julia, ‘is that too many grown-ups don’t have the proper ingredients.'”
The dinner has its ups and downs, but dessert is the biggest hit: petits gâteaux—”chocolate almond cupcakes with chocolate butter icing and the richest, creamiest centers.” Small, tasty bites to remind each adult of loveliness, with plenty to go around so they don’t get too greedy or worry about running out.
Slow-down, sweetness, wonder, and imagination. These are the ingredients of friendship and cooking and childhood. These are what to cultivate, like Julia and Simca do.
p.s. Kyo Maclear has a knack for inventing fictitious childhood characters from historical grownup ones. (See Virigina Wolf.)
“What I’ve tried to do here is forget the facts
and capture something about Julia Child’s spirit.
And by spirit, I mean her gusto, joyful abundance
and joie de vivre.”
Excerpted from Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2014 by Kyo Maclear, Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Morstad. Reprinted by permission of Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada, a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.
You all know how much I love the baking blog Coco Cake Land, right? In honor of Julia, Child, Lyndsay is sharing chocolate almond cupcakes inspired by the ones Julia and Simca make in the book!!
I’m delighted to collaborate with such a blogging superstar and lovely person! She knows a lot about baking joyfully with plenty of imagination and play!
CHOCOLATE ALMOND CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup of dutch process cocoa powder
- ¾ cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups almond meal
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
FOR THE CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ tablespoon flour
- ¾ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate
- ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
MAKE THE CUPCAKES
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Gently oil the top of the cupcake pans and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa powder with the boiling water until you have a smooth, thick and creamy chocolate paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- In another small bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and salt.
- Place the sugar, oil and eggs into the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on high until thick and creamy, about three minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture until combined.
- Add the almond flour mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about one minute.
- Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, dole out the cake mixture and fill the cupcake liners just over half full.
- Bake for 20 minutes – cupcakes will rise, and fall again.
- Let them cool in the pans.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch.
- In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low boil.
- Whisk half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then add the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
- Cook the pastry cream over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick – about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the pastry cream from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. The chocolate will melt into the hot pastry cream. Whisk to combine.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and power-chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or let cool in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
- Dollop two tablespoons of chocolate pastry cream into the sunken chocolate almond cupcakes.
- Sprinkle with toasted almonds and finish with a fresh berry.
TOAST THE ALMONDS
- Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes (watch they don’t burn!) Let cool until crispy, then chop.
Thank you, Lyndsay!
Check out the whole post with more photos to admire over at Coco Cake Land!
You can view this one through the lens of the real life Virginia Woolf (two o’s) and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell. Or you can view it completely on its own.
Sometimes the doldrums can leave you feeling downright wolfish. You might hide. And growl. And be generally precarious to be around. That’s what happened to Virginia. Her sister, Vanessa, tried to help. But nothing could get Virginia to come out of bed.
Virginia’s silhouette is simply genius. Her shadow looks just like a wolf. Until the spell of her wolfish mood breaks and she’s a little girl again. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.
images from Isabelle Arsenault’s website, with permission
Vanessa paints a mural on the wall of Virginia’s bedroom containing all the perfect things Virginia wishes were real. A destination she’d fly to, if she could fly. It’s luscious and colorful, full of whimsy and bloom.
images courtesy of Kids Can Press
That’s how things go from gray-blue to yellow, sunk to lifted, upside down to rightside up again. Vanessa transports her sister through her mural and the whole house goes from gloom to glad. Whew.
Here’s a roundup of ways to transform your walls to transport yourself should you find yourself in a wolfish mood or any mood at all.
GO TO OUTER SPACE (by Colorful Childhood).
TO A WORLD OF SUNSHINEY POLKA DOTS (by Sunshine Decals).
Or, my personal favorite, HELLO KITTY LAND (by Fathead).
Finally, take a wall from ho hum to a lovely lush LIVING one with Woolly Pockets. You might just think you’re in a garden, a forest, or a jungle when actually inside.