A small selection of high-quality illustrated children’s books for younger readers
Best for: 5 to 8
“Each day something new and surprising dripped out of Daozi’s brush. His straight lines splintered into trees. His hooks caught fish. His dots burst into eyes, then pigs and monkeys. From a stroke, a horse’s tail flew by.” This children’s book is exquisite from beginning to end, from front cover to back cover. The story is an imaginative version of the life of the great Chinese artist Wu Daozi…
Best for: up to age 8
This is a children’s book without a single word. Is it great children’s literature? Absolutely, because the literature comes from the children themselves.
Best for: 5 – 8
“Suddenly he knew there were mysteries in the word, hidden and silent, unknown and unseen. He wanted, more than anything, to understand those mysteries.” Here’s a treasure – an authentic story about Albert Einstein, written with very young children in mind, accompanied by absolutely magical illustrations. I am so in love with this one…
Theme: Letting Love In
Best for: ages 5 and 6
“So she began to name things. But she named only those things she knew she could never outlive. Her car, Betsy, had more get-up-and-go than anything around. Her chair, Fred, had never sagged a day in his life…” Finally, a book that made me reverse my somewhat arbitrary policy of not reviewing picture books! This little illustrated children’s book totally stole my heart…
Best for: ages 9 and up
A historically accurate illustrated children’s book about Eratosthenes, a Greek librarian, and mathematician at heart, who figures out how to measure the earth using only a shadow, and some geometry…
Theme: Power of Love
Best for: ages 5 to 9
That night, he was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst.” I feel any list of great children’s literature which omitted this book would be quite remiss.