The leaves have fallen, Halloween has passed, and now November is here reminding us that this year will, too, come to an end. And what a year it has been once again in the world of illustrations for children’s books. For the fourth year in a row, our 7th graders will participate in our Mock Caldecott unit in January, trying to assess the illustrations of children’s books to find the ones they believe deserve the honor. So as the year-end nears, I thought I would share a few books that are on my radar for possibilities.
The Fan Brothers are at it again with their incredible illustrations that make this picture book soar. Even the texture of the book is divine.
The incredible, whimsical Claymates is by the uber talented Dev Petty and Lauren Eldridge. I have been loving this book before it even came out because it is so funny and unlike anything else I have seen. It is also a sure kid pleaser.
One of my most favorite picture books of the year is After the Fall by Dan Santat, and while the story itself makes this picture book read aloud worthy, the illustrations are what really makes the story incredible. Once again, Dan Santat has outdone even himself.
The simplicity of the illustrations is what makes The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken such a stand out. With a powerful message to all of us, the illustrations truly show how we can turn anything, even a mistake, into something beautiful.
The illustrations in Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, Marjory Wentworth and illustrated by Ekua Holmes makes the poetry come alive.
Kadir Nelson’s illustrations in Blue Sky White Stars by Savinder Naberhous are breathtaking. The beauty of the poignant text is truly lit on fire by the work of the Kadir Nelson.
I pored over the illustrations in Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters written by Michael Mahin and illustrated by Evan Turk. The colors and the detail are what made this picture book stand out to me.
I read Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say as an F&G and immediately placed my order. While the story about James Castle in itself is worth your time, the techniques used by Allen Say is what makes this one of my favorite picture books of the year.
The illustrations in Dazzle Ships by Chris Barton and illustrated by Victo Ngai is what made me want to pore over this book for a long time. Amazing how this lesser-known part of WWI history springs to life within the pages of this fantastic book from one of the master of nonfiction picture books himself, Chris Barton.
In Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko the illustrations deeply reinforce the powerful message of who we are and how we intersect with others.
Update – Adding a few more titles
I added Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix because I thought the illustrator captures the whole essence of Chef Choi’s message so well in the art. A perfect example of when text and images reach a higher state together.
How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy wouldn’t be the same picture book without the incredible illustrations, I was simply lost in them.
Every time I read This House Once by Deborah Freedman, I become more mesmerized by the book. The subtlety of the images can take your breath away if you let them. This is a book to savor.
I still have some thinking to do but here at least is a start. Which ones do you think will be in the running?
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