Children’s illustrated books are without doubt one of the joys of literature. Illustrated books have been with us since the very birth of printing but illustrations particularly bring children’s stories to life. They can capture the imagination of the characters and the writer in a way that text cannot. Thus, our quest to find some of the greatest illustrated books of the 21st Century continues and we start with a book all about the court case of Ruth Bader.
The Case of Ruth Bader Gainsburg vs Inequality
This book written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Stacy Innerst is basically a documentary that follows a Supreme Court case of a girl fighting for sexual equality. The book is almost like a notebook that an old hack would have used to cover the case.The clever use of collaged elements, paint and ink brings a sort of detached feeling to the text but is full of subtle emotion that highlights the very importance of the case and the fight between right and wrong. This book is a snapshot of American history, and because of that is extremely important.
The Way Home in the Night
A wonderfully crafted tale that should be by every little boy’s and girl’s bedside ready for daddy or mummy to come home and read before they go to sleep. The Way Home in the Night is a simple children’s story about a sleepy little bunny who is carried home to where she lives through the big city by her parents. The illustrations provide an excellent backdrop to the tale, drawn in charcoal and pencil they bring the charming animals to life as they move around the big city at night time. The images bring feelings of safety, comfort, and above all family love.
Town is By the Sea
A charming book about a young boy who daily watches his father leave the family home to go and work down the mines, and struggle in the darkness. The story brings a sense of foreboding as it is only a matter of time before the boy too will make the same journey. However, Joanne Schwartz does not abandon all hope and the bright and airy illustrations by Sydney Smith illuminate the scenes of the sun playing on the sea. The mine in the distance is represented by darker and more hazy drawings that give off ominous overtones.
Written and illustrated by Marc Martin, A River follows the thoughts of a little girl looking out of her window. Her imagination takes her into fantasy as she thinks about being swept away to diverse and interesting places. Her creative mind imagines new colorful landscapes that are brought to life by the excellent illustrations. The images are a mix of form, and complex patterns that are beautifully interwoven with the river reappearing as the focal point. A River concludes our literary journey to find the best illustrated books of the 21st Century and is an ideal book to demonstrate the power and beauty of this form of literature.