• 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2018 You Want to Add to Your Kid's Bookshelf

    The drawings will take your breath away.
    by Kitty Elicay .
10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2018 You Want to Add to Your Kid's Bookshelf
  • With Christmas fast approaching, we’re sure you’re already on the lookout for gifts to give not only to your own kids, but to your nieces, nephews, and inaanaks as well. What better present to buy than children’s books?

    If you’re looking for cool new additions to their book piles, The New York Times and the New York Public Library (NYPL) recently released their picks for the best illustrated children’s books of 2018. The list is pretty impressive with three judges, Leonard Marcus, a children’s literature historian and critic; Jenny Rosenoff, a children’s librarian at the NYPL; and Bryan Collier, an author and illustrator of acclaimed picture books and a past winner, judging every illustrated children’s book published this year and released in the United States purely on the basis of artistic merit.

    The catch: These books are not yet available in the country and you’ll need to have it shipped if you’re buying it online. However, the titles are too good to pass up! If you need convincing, here’s a peek of the books, including their wonderfully illustrated pages:

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    Here are the books included in the list of best illustrated children’s books of 2018:

     Dreamers

     Written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

    Recommended to readers ages 4 to 8.
    PHOTO BY @thecuriousreader/Instagram

    Dreamers is based on the true story of the author and her two-month-old son’s journey when they immigrated from Mexico to the United States in 1994. Though she spoke little English, she was able to learn the language with her son by reading picture books borrowed from the public library. Because of this, she and her son were able to settle into their new home soon enough.

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    The text is lyrical and the illustrations very detailed with a dreamlike effect. It’s a story about love, hope, and family, and embracing what you are now but without forgetting where you came from. Buy it here.

    Florette

    Recommended to readers ages 4 to 7.
    PHOTO BY @_annawalker_/Instagram

    Written and illustrated by Anna Walker

    The heroine of the story is Mae, whose family moves to the city. She feels sad and lonely because she left a beautiful garden in the countryside but soon discovers a wonderful place of green in the center of Paris that will make her feel more at home.

    The story — with underlying themes of friendship and resilience in the face of change — unfolds with the help of Walker’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations. Kids will surely love to get lost in its pages! Buy it here.

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    Ayobami and the Names of the Animals

    Written by Pilar Lopez Avila; Illustrated by Mar Azabal

    Recommended to readers ages 5 to 6.
    PHOTO BY Spain Culture NY/Facebook

    Ayobami is an African girl who dreams of going to school. But to reach it, she has to take a dangerous path: one that leads through the jungle.

    If you want your kids to learn the importance of education and see how other kids persevere just to go to school, Ayobami might serve as an inspiration. With only a piece of paper and a worn-out pencil, she sets out on a difficult journey (and meets many animals along the way!) that will help fulfill her dream to learn how to read and write. Buy it here.

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    The Forest

    Written by Riccardo Bozzi; Illustrated by Violeta Lapiz and Valerio Vidali

    Recommended to readers ages 4 and up.
    PHOTO BY @enchantedlion/Instagram

    The book has minimal text and is more of a visual and tactile journey. There are die-cuts, embossing, and cutouts that young readers will enjoy touching and exploring.

    The plot, about “an enormous, ancient forest that has not yet been fully explored,” starts when the forest is young with a little more than a grove of small trees, according to BrainPickings.org. As the pages are turned, we see the forest growing thicker and becoming more fascinating, while explorers take turns “investigating” what the forest has in store for them. Buy it here.

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    A House That Once Was

    Written by Julie Fogliano; Illustrated by Lane Smith

    Recommended to readers ages 3 to 5.
    PHOTO BY @little.bookworms.1/Instagram

    The story is about two kids, a boy and a girl, who stumble upon an abandoned house. They climb through a window and begin exploring the rooms. Through the things they see — a mirror, a can filled with paintbrushes, books, and framed pictures, they begin to imagine the people who once lived in the house and what kind of lives they had. Buy it here.

    Our Car

    Written by J.M. Brum; Illustrated by Jan Bajtlik

    Recommended to readers ages 2 to 6.
    PHOTO BY @janbajtlik/Instagram

    The plot is simple and straightforward and follows the tale of a young boy and his dad as they take a drive in Dad’s car. They go through various adventures, like going to the carwash, driving through a rainstorm, and getting tickled by the wind! It’s a sweet story bundled with vibrant drawings — a nice read for young children who want to bond with their fathers! Buy it here.

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    She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

    Written by Lynn Fulton; Illustrated by Felicita Sala

    Recommended to readers ages 4 to 8.
    PHOTO BY @felicita.sala/Instagram

    This spooky but fascinating tale is about the author Mary Shelley and how she was inspired to create the monster Frankenstein when she was young. According to the book’s synopsis, Mary was getting anxious as she had to write “the best ghost story” but even after talks of science and the secrets of life, nothing she could think of was scary enough. But as she drifted off to sleep, she began to dream of a man that was not a man — a monster.

    Though young readers may find the picture book a little creepy, it’s still a wonderful read, especially to kids who are into horror. According to judge Leonard Marcus, “Felicita Sala’s archly horror-struck portraits and faux-eerie settings open a magnificent, cobwebbed window in the English novelist Mary Shelley’s wild and fiery imagination.” Buy it here.

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    The Funeral

    Written and illustrated by Matt James

    Recommended to readers ages 4 to 7.
    PHOTO BY @groundwoodbooks/Instagram

    This children’s book answers a tough question your kids might one day ask you: why do people die? It follows Norma and her parents who are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral. Norma is more excited than sad because she’ll get to see her favorite cousin Ray. But when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that she’s never encountered before.

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    According to a GoodReads.com review, the author does a wonderful job of interpreting grief and death through a child’s eyes — frank and yet reflective. Judge Jenny Rosenoff says it gives “poignant insight into a child’s understanding of the adult world.” Buy it here.

    Run Wild

    Written and illustrated by David Covell

    Recommended to readers ages 3 to 5 years old.
    PHOTO BY @libroferoz/Instagram

    According to its synopsis, the book opens with a girl calling out to a boy immersed in his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind. If you want your kids to pay attention to the present moment and to be reminded how wonderful life can be beyond tablets and screens, this book can help.

    According to various GoodReads reviews, the book has a lot of organic rhymes so it’s fun to read aloud. And the illustrations are fun and interesting! Buy it here.

    The Visitor

    Written and illustrated by Antje Damm 

    Recommended to readers ages 2 to 7 years.
    PHOTO BY @antje.damm/Instagram

    Elise is an elderly woman who lives alone and who is very fearful of the outside world. One day, a paper airplane flies in through a window she left open while cleaning. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door — a child is asking for her paper plane back.

    The little boy literally brings color in her life (the pages, black and white at first, suddenly becomes vibrant) and it becomes a heartwarming tale of how friendship can ease a person’s loneliness. Buy it here.

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    Looking for local titles? Click here for award-winning illustrated children’s books from Filipino authors.

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