One Writer’s Journey

November 7, 2017

Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:30 am
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When I saw the announcement for the Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017, I knew that they’d be special. After all, they’d been chosen by the NYTBR (New York Times Book Review) and NYPL (New York Public Library).  What I wasn’t sure about is whether or not they would all be picture books. Then I clicked through and saw the above illustration.  Check.  They’re picture books.

But I thought I’d take a moment and discuss the variety of illustrated children’s books available.

For the youngest “readers,” or toddlers, we have board books.  These books are literally cardboard.  They are small and sturdy to hold up to rough handling.  Picture and text come together to tell super simple stories.  Sometimes they are adapted from picture books.  I tend to give Sandra Boynton board books as baby shower gifts.

Of course, we also have picture books.  Picture books are most often 32 pages long. They marry text and illustrations. Because most picture book readers aren’t technically readers, they are written to be read aloud to a young listener or group of listeners.  The books above are picture books.

Early readers are also highly illustrated. Like picture books, there tends to be an illustration on every spread.  The difference is that the illustrations don’t add to the story.  Instead they help the new reader interpret the text, looking for clues in the illustrations when they get stuck puzzling out a word.

Chapter books and some middle readers often have some line drawings.  The illustrations are fun but they aren’t a big part of the book.

Juvenile graphic novels are graphic novels with age appropriate content for . . . whatever age, usually chapter book through young adult.  They rely on sequential art to tell a story.  There is text but the illustrations are essential, bold and striking.

This is the 65th annual list for the NYTBR which, for the first time this year, paired up with the NYPL.  You can check out the brief article here and the books will be featured both in a special children’s books section on the November 12 in the NYTBR. They will also be featured in a reception at the New York Public Library on November 14.

Another great group of books to study to up your picture book writing game.


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