For the Love of Children’s Books
Books were really my first introduction to the art world. Growing up, I would sit for hours, pouring over the beautiful words and intricate illustrations held within my favorite books. I still collect children’s book and someday hope to write and illustrate my own.
It’s children’s book week, the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. I wanted to take the time today to share with you a few of my personal favorites. Some are classics and the rest are destined to be classics.
“There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.”
Where the Wild Things Are
Your library isn’y complete without this tale about mischievous, wolf suit wearing Max, his journey to where the wild things are and finding his way back home to those who truly love him. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book of the year. Other works worth reading: Alligators All Around, In the Night Kitchen and One was Johnny.
“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.”
The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein was a big part of my life growing up. My parents gifted me every single one of his poetry collections and we would read them together constantly. I even remember taking my colored pencils to the black and white illustrations a time or too. The Giving Tree is a little bit different than the rest of Mr. Silverstein’s humorous work. It’s a heartfelt story about the beauty of giving, devotion and love. It’s also a lesson on giving back. Other works worth reading: A Giraffe and a Half, The Missing Piece and Where the Sidewalk Ends.
“Here’s what I like to do. Make things up”
Eloise: The Ultimate Edition
Words by Kay Thompson, Illustrations by Hilary Knight
Oh, Eloise! The first time I was introduced to the world of Eloise, I became instantly obsessed. I had never seen anything quite like it before. Eloise is uniquely herself. This collection follows Eloise, Nanny, her pug Weenie and turtle Skipperdee on all their adventures: from the Plaza to the Eiffel Tower and all the way to Mother Russia. Be sure to check out Lena Dunham’s documentary, ‘It’s me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise,’ for a closer look at the man behind the lively illustrations. Other works worth reading: Eloise Takes a Bawth and Where’s Wallace.
“They taught them to be whatever they wanted to be”
Words by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrations by Christian Robinson
Gaston is a bulldog who doesn’t quite fit in with his family but that doesn’t mean they love him any less. A sweet and humorous story perfectly reflected by Robinson’s bold, painterly illustrations. Gaston is a ALA Notable Children’s Book. Other works worth reading: Grace for President, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Last Stop on Market Street,
“Sea homes. Bee homes. Hollow tree homes.”
I’m a Carson Ellis fangirl, no doubt about it. Her work is definitively her. I’ve even been so lucky as to have my own work alongside hers. Home shows that homes come in many forms. It might be an apartment in a big city, an underground lair or even a boat on rough waters. Other works worth reading: The Beautiful Stories of Life, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Wildwood Chronicles.
“‘Well,” said Sam. “Well,” said Dave. “That was pretty spectacular.”‘
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Words by Mac Barnett, Illustrations by Jon Klassen
Sam and Dave are two brothers determined to find something spectacular. Loaded up on chocolate milk and animal cookies, they set to work to do just that. Winner of the Caldecott Honor, E.B. White Read-Aloud Award and Irma Black Award. Other works worth reading: Cat’s Night Out, I Want my Hat Back and The Terrible Two.
“The wind blew in and carried her away”
Once Upon a Cloud
I’ve been a fan of Claire Keane‘s enchanting pastel work for years (you may have seen her work a time or two) so when I heard about this book, I knew I needed it. Once Upon a Cloud is a dreamy story about a little girl, Celeste, and her search for the perfect gift for her mother. She looks to the sky for answers and ends of going on a windy, star filled journey. Other works worth reading: Lovely: Ladies of Animation.
“Like the Lady herself, all her hats were refined. Brilliantly singular. One of a kind.”
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau
Words by Andrea Beaty, Illustrations by David Roberts
Madame Chapeau is a skilled hat maker with a knack for matching the perfect hat to each one of her colorful customers. Sadly she can’t seem to find the perfect hat for herself… until she meets a special young lady. You’ll be absolutely enchanted by the incredibly detailed illustrations and notice something new every time you read it. Other works worth reading: Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer.
“Friendship is a beautiful dance.”
Flora and the Flamingo
Completely wordless with interactive paper flaps, watch Flora and her Flamingo friend learn to dance in sync with one another. Winner of the Caldecott Honor. Other works worth reading: Flora and the Penguin and Tea Rex.
“Things began to change in that little town.”
Words by Mac Barnett, Illustrations by Jon Klassen
Another book from this incredible duo, Extra Yarn was actually my first introduction to this creative team. Young Annabelle is out with her dog when she discovers a box of magical yarn that she ends up using to completely transform the world around her. Winner of the Caldecott Honor, ALA Notable Children’s Book and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.
Now you tell me, what are some of your favorite children’s books?