I have my own preference as to what I think makes good artwork, but aside from that, I think a good illustrated children’s book should be able to be ‘read’ in two ways, by words and by pictures. A child, who can’t read, should be able to pick up a book and make up the story by just looking at the pictures. This is one of the first ways kids learn to read.
I also think the pictures should add another layer and understanding to the story as a whole. And of course, capture one’s imagination.
What do you think makes a good children’s illustrated book? Are you familiar with any of the ones listed below?
Below is an alphabetical list from The New York Times Book Review of the 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011.
- “Along a Long Road” by Frank Viva (Little, Brown)
- “A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka (Schwartz & Wade/Random House)
- “Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures“ by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Pamela Dalton (Chronicle)
- “Grandpa Green” by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
- “Ice” by Arthur Geisert (Enchanted Lion Books)
- “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
- “Me… Jane” by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown)
- “Migrant” by Maxine Trottier, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood)
- “A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis” by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Dial/Penguin)
- “A New Year’s Reunion” by Yu Li-Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang (Candlewick)