Every parent knows—trips to the library for kids’ books are as much for the sanity of the grown-up as for the enjoyment of the child.
We are the ones who will be reading these books over and over. And if we’re lucky, we will find some gems to supplement the bedtime routine—Mommy chooses one, Opal chooses one— in a way that makes the ever-kid-requested Doc McStuffins and Dora actually tolerable.
Fact is, there are some astonishingly talented authors and illustrators out there who—hallelujah—have taken mercy on the parents of the world and funneled at least some of their well-honed craft into the world of children’s literature.
And the more I mine the library shelves, the more I realize that some of these artistic and literary creations are nothing less than works of visual and lyrical poetry.
For those of you who are looking for some artistic inspiration while frolicking in the land of children’s literature with your wee one, here are a few of my most current go-to recommendations to get you started, with gallery-worthy illustrations and stories that will charm even the toughest parent-critics.
(And, if you are in an especially curious mood, do yourself a favor and google some of these illustrators. Their creations come from such things as collage or wood-block prints.)
A quote from Pamela Zagarenski, illustrator of Sleep Like a Tiger:
In recent years, I’ve come to understand that I paint in order to solve a puzzle or a mystery.
I paint to discover a secret code which needs to be cracked in order to better understand myself,
the mysteries of life, the soul, God and even the mysteries I don’t yet know exist.
In short, these artists are the real deal.
So, grab a glass of wine and start putting books on hold at your local library, or get drunk enough to buy them all on amazon.
Luckily, there is no shortage of beauty and attention to detail out there, waiting to be read out loud, while lying safe and snug in the confines of my daughter’s canopy bed, head propped by a generous heap of individually-named, stuffed animals.