Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2018

The New York Times has just released its list of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2018, and it’s wonderful…as usual. From modern illustration to more classic books, all of the choices are great. Of course, this list must have been impossible to make, as most of the books written and illustrated for children these days have amazing artwork. This young generation “demands” it.

But take a few minutes to scroll through the page to view the books. We have a lot of them in our collection, but we can always borrow books from other libraries through interlibrary loan if needed.

As we bring the year to a close, we’ll be seeing more of these fantastic book lists, and we’re sure you’ll want to catch up on books you’ve missed. It’s hard to get to everything in this busy life, so these lists are a great way to wrap things up.

Happy viewing!

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Illustrated Harry Potter

 Illustration by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Illustration by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

It seems that Harry Potter will never go out of style at the library. Each generation produces a new group of readers, and along with the movies, they are constantly in circulation. It’s about to get exciting again.

Scholastic will release a fully illustrated version of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE on October 6, 2015, will illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal winner, Jim Kay. And just this week, the publishing house released several of the illustrations as a teaser. The one above is Hogwarts, of course.  You can see the full images here.

Scholastic plans on releasing each book in the series in an illustrated version, one per year. If the rest of the illustrations are as gorgeous as these, you might want to invest in collecting the whole series again. I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Who is Harris Burdick?

When The Chronicles of Harris Burdick came across my desk recently, I knew it was something fascinating and different. This collection of short stories by 14 famous authors is based on one perplexing problem….the illustrations of the mysterious Harris Burdick. Over twenty-five years ago, Burdick visited a Boston publisher with 14 illustrations (each one with a strange caption), and he promised to return the next day with the stories to accompany the illustrations. He was never heard from again.

“It was a perfect lift-off”

Each of the 14 images has provided people from the likes of school-children to authors to art aficionados much inspiration and debate. No one knows exactly what Burdick intended for each illustration or what his stories were about, but these days, it hardly matters.  Teachers are using this book in schools to inspire creative writing (one of our own staff members just told us her son was using this book in class).

“The fifth one ended up in France.”

So, it is only natural that fourteen of the best known authors of our generation, were asked to write their own short stories based on one of the illustrations.  There is something from horror writer Stephen King, sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow, literary god Sherman Alexie and even the man who created the stories behind the Wizard of Oz, Gregory Maguire. Each story is different, showcasing the author’s unique style and take on the illustration they were given.  There are slightly spooky stories, gentle stories, funny stories and more. It’s a wonderful collection, even if you don’t normally read short stories.

The YouTube video about the collection says it all……

Of course, many of you will be wondering about the similarity of these illustrations to the works of well-known author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg (who just so happens to have put this collection together and also wrote one of the short stories). It is completely up to you whether you want to believe he had something to do with these illustrations and this wonderful book. But I think you’ll see that it doesn’t matter. Art is meant to inspire, and these pictures and stories do just that. Drop by and take out the book sometime when you need a little push in a creative direction……

Have sharpie…will create…


I have been looking for inspiration for my Christmas bulletin board for the last week or so, and I came across this talented artist who is has found creativity in a Sharpie!  Chris Piascik begins by just doodling lines and shapes on a page and then goes on to create gorgeous and creative work with his imagination.  The video above shows him working on a piece for Halloween, but his style is so unique that he can adapt it to anything.

You can follow his work in many great ways, from his Flickr Photostream to his daily blog with a new drawing everyday.  If you’re interested in purchasing some of his work, he has a store on Etsy where you can pick up an illustrated treasure.  Follow him on Twitter or Facebook if you just can’t get enough of this artist.  I think I’ll be adding him to my account.

So, with his inspired illustrations, I might try my hand at something similar for our Christmas bulletin board.  Wish me luck!