Among the classics of children’s literature, there are those titles that stand out for their illustrations
Inspiration can be found anywhere but books are no doubt one of our greatest creative resources. That’s why we recently asked our Instagram followers to tell us their favorite children’s books. The response, as expected, was varied. Here is what we concluded were the top ten must-read books for any lover of illustration and stories.
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a pilot, creator, author and illustrator of one of the books that has captivated the most readers the length and breadth of the world. A story considered by many a children’s book but the background of which is a critique of adulthood through the meaning of life, loneliness, friendship, love and loss.
In 1968, the Morgan Library in New York acquired the original manuscripts and drawings, over 30,000 words, original watercolors and coffee-stained sketches with cigarette burns through them.
Virginia Wolf, a book by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by the celebrated children’s illustrator Isabelle Arsenault, this story written by Kyo Maclear is a beautiful graphic novel about fraternal love and the adventures of two sisters. The text, written by hand, combines perfectly with the various watercolors that represent the characters’ different moods, a large garden and the whispers of a dark event.
Death and the Duck, a book by Wolf Erlbruch
Wolf Erlbuch is a writer-illustrator of children’s stories, known for the peculiar mix of techniques in his artwork, including drawing, painting and collage. This book tells the story of a child who starts to wonder about death and offers a simple and poetic response to their questions. An ideal book for children and adults.
Folktales for fearless girls, a book by Myriam Sayalero and Ricard López
Illustrated by Spanish illustrator Ricard López (@ricardilus) and winner of the Premio Leyenda 2019–awarded by the Association of Bookshops in Madrid–this is a collection of 12 stories from around the world starring women: stories of princesses who fight against prejudice, brave armies of elves, queens worried for their daughters and tsarinas who pass themselves off as men in order to survive.
Where the Wild Things Are, a book by Maurice Sendak
“Children … are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth,” E.B. White once said, and Where the Wild Things Are is a testament to this. Author Maurice Sendak says that his story of a young boy who is sent to bed for dressing up as a wolf and wreaking havoc in his house was originally loathed so much that many libraries banned it. Since then, the book has sold millions; it has been adapted for theater, opera, film; won countless awards; and become a classic in the American children’s literary canon.
The Heart and the Bottle, a book by Oliver Jeffers
A touching story of loss, The Heart and the Bottle is one of many stories created by Brooklyn-based, Belfast-raised artist Oliver Jeffers. It recounts the life of a little girl, “much like any other,” whose father fuels her curiosity by reading her countless books about the sea and the stars and wonders of the world. One day, however, the chair her father once read to her from lays empty. Just like The Little Prince, this tale helps people of any age navigate the many steps of grief.
Hilda, a book by Luke Pearson
Another intrepid young girl is the start of British illustrator Like Pearson’s wonderful graphic novel series, set in the late 20th century but inspired by folklore that go far back into Scandinavian history. Hilda comes into contact with regular people and fantastical beasts in her many adventures. Pearson’s work was compared in The New York Times to anime icon and Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki and his work continues to be translated into new languages.
Little Nicholas, a book by René Goscinny
Little Nicholes grew from a modest comic strip that ran in French Magazine Le Moustique between in the mid-1950s. Told from the mouth of a young boy, Nicolas, and packed to the brim with school-yard slang and misperceptions of peculiar adult behaviour, Goscinny’s work gained fame as one of the first books to put a child’s interpretation of the world’s above an adults.
The Witches, a book by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was a celebrity novelist, storyteller, poet and scriptwriter. He created Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and The Witches. His work was always illustrated by Quentin Blake, a talented illustrator who made Dahl’s books even more fun with his elongated characters and sloppy strokes. They worked as a literary pair for many years, between them they created this story about a secret convention of witches who plan to turn all the children of the world into mice.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a book by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is a renowned children’s novelist whose stories almost always involve animals. Bagram Ibatoulline is an artist dedicated to the illustration of books for children and young people who usually uses diverse classical techniques to create her work. They collaborate on this title to tell the story of a porcelain rabbit named Edward Tulane and his owner, a girl named Abilene.