When I started listing my family’s favorite children’s books I realized some authors kept reappearing so I decided to compile a list of the authors and illustrators we adore.
Many families are reading books increasingly on electronic devices these days. Although a kindle may be convenient for traveling, I still prefer (as well as my kids) reading books made from paper. I love how they visually look and feel and how they feel part of a family written or illustrated with a distinctive style or personality because of size, color, artwork and paper weight. That said, check out the author websites after reading their stories for a peak into their creative minds, learn interesting facts about the artists and their books and glimpse at upcoming projects.
There are many other fabulous authors and illustrators and books I have not mentioned so I invite you to add your picks in the comments below. We are always on the lookout for new recommendations.
Chris Van Allsburg
A Caldecott Medal award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, renowned for works such as The Polar Express and Jumanji and later adapted to film, he resides in Providence, Rhode Island. Read more on Kidoinfo.
- The Polar Express (1985)
- Just a Dream (1990)
- Jumanji (1995)
Eric Carle’s has been making picture books for kids since 1967. His artwork is distinctive–created in collage technique, using hand-painted papers, which he cuts and layers to form bright and colorful images. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here. Here are a few of our favorite titles:
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Written by Bill Martin Jr.) (1967)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
- The Very Busy Spider (1984)
- Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (1986)
- The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse (2011)
We love this award-winning artist for her witty stories and her cleverly collaged picture books.
- I Will Not Ever Never Eat A TomatoÂ (2000)
- Beware of the Storybook Wolves (2000)
- I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (2003)
- Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? (2003)
Jen is a Providence artist and illustrator of many things beyond children’s books. Here are some of our favorite young reader books she has illustrated:
- Little Pea (2005)
- Little Hoot (2007)
- Little Oink (2009)
Roald Dahl has a snarky sense of humor that my boys and I adore. He believes the first sentence in a book should jump off the page grab you and pull you into the story. If it does not, why bother reading it? Check out the first line of his books. Many of his chapter books include simple black pen sketches by Quentin Blake. He also adapted an Ian Fleming novel into the screenplay for one of my favorite children’s films, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Read more about him on KidoinfoÂ here.
- James and the Giant Peach (1961)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
- Fantastic Mr Fox (1970)
Anika and Christopher Denise
Based in Barrington, Rhode Island this husband and wife duo work solo and in collaboration to create beautiful books for children.
- Pigs Love Potatoes (2007)
- Bella and Stella Come Home (2010)
We loved Tony DeTerlizzi’s style from the first time we read his Ted and Jimmy Zangow picture books at the library and then enjoyed discovering his chapter books especially The Spiderwick Chronicles and ancillary guides. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here.
- Ted (2001)
- Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure (2003)
- The Spiderwick Chronicles: Books 1-6 (2003)
Lois Ehlert’s original books stretch the limits of traditional bookmaking. Her vivid colors, unique book shapes, intricate page cuts, and photographed collages captivate curious young readers and invite them to participate.
- Color Zoo (1989)
- Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (1992)
- Planting a Rainbow (1992)
- Snowballs (1999)
Known more for his adult fiction and teen novels, he did write a few books for young readers with amazing dark graphic artwork by Dave McKean. Compelling but unusual children’s picture books that are a bit menacing but laugh out loud funny. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here.
- The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (1998)
- Wolves in the Walls (2005)
The Adventures of Tintin comic series was created in 1929 by a Belgian artist who called himself HergÃ©. His books are full of action and adventure about a boy reporter, Tintin and his dog Snowy. They travel the world meeting interesting characters along the way such as Captain Haddock. The stories are funny. Read the entire Tintin series before seeing the 2011 film by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.
Grace Lin, a RISD graduate and award winning author grew up in America with her parents, Taiwanese immigrants. Her beautiful graphic illustrations and clear writing celebrate her culture. Read more about her on Kidoinfo here.
- Round is a Mooncake (2000)
- Red as a Dragon (2001)
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2010)
- Hamlet and the Magnificent Sandcastle (2001)
- Bats at the Beach (2006)
- Bats at the Library (2008)
- Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)
- Now We Are Six (1927) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)
- The House at Pooh Corner (1928) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)
He has been illustrating children’s books since 1964, illustrating over one hundred titles and receiving numerous awards for his work.
- The Talking Eggs (1989)
- Aesop’s Fables (2000)
- The Lion & The Mouse (2009)
Matthew is a master at his craft. His book list of pop-ups many made in collaboration with pop-up artist Robert Sabuda is long and breathtakingly beautiful.
- Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs (2005)
- The Jungle Book (2006)
- Star Wars: The Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy (2007)
- DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book (2011)
Peter H. Reynolds
Peter is a children’s book author, illustrator, bookshop owner, founder of FableVision and an advocate for creativity and children of all ages. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here and read about why I am in the Judy Moody fan club here.
- The Dot (2003)
- Ish (2004)
- Judy Moody series (First published in 2000. 8 chapter books illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, written by Megan McDonald)
This British author is famous for authoring the amazing Harry Potter fantasy series. Need I say more?
This RISD graduate has transformed the notion of picture and chapter books for children with HUGO and Wonderstruck. I recommend you check out all of his books. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here.
- The Houdini Box (1993)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2008)
- Wonderstruck (2011)
Best known for his children’s books, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Since the 1960’s Maurice Sendak has been bringing to life a world of fantasy and imagination for kids of all ages. He has also produced both operas and ballets for television and the stage. Read more about him on Kidoinfo here.
- The Nutshell Library (1962)
- Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote and illustrated a number of wonderfully wacky rhyming books for kids under the pen name, Dr. Seuss. His book list is long, with every one worth reading.
- The Cat in the Hat (1957)
- Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960)
- The Sneetches (1961)
- The Lorax (1971)
Shel has a magical way with the pen and his words, rhyming and twisting them into poetic stories and funny shorts.
- The Giving Tree (1964)
- Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
- Runny Babbit (2005)
- The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (written by Jon Scieszka) (1996)
- John, Paul, George and Ben (2006)
- It’s a Book (2010)
A legendary writer for decades at The New Yorker and the author of many books of essays, E. B. White also wrote children’s books. I grew up reading these stories centered on animals and now enjoy sharing these timeless classics with my children.
- Stuart Little (1945)
- Charlotte’s Web (1952)