18 of the Most Beautiful Illustrated Children’s Books
Here’s a lesson every new parent learns early on: Kids obsess over certain books, and you will read them again and again and to infinity and beyond. To mix it up for you, we rounded up 18 stunning children’s books that stand out — not just because of their great stories, but because they also feature beautiful illustrations that will fascinate your little ones and keep you looking out for new details every time you re-read them.
1. The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: To celebrate the 200th anniversary of these stories that are part of everyone’s childhood (and of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register), TASCHEN has released this gorgeous volume with 27 of the most popular Grimm stories. They paired a different renowned artist with each tale, creating a beautiful and unique book that will be a treasure in any child’s library.
2. When I Was Born: This little page turner shows the world as seen through a baby’s eyes and illustrated by Portuguese illustrator Minhós Martins. It’s a playful perspective that kids will relate to and grown ups will be totally enchanted by.
3. Iggy Peck Architect: Young Iggy Peck has been a budding architect since he built his first great structure at age two using diapers and glue. This inspiring story about creativity and perseverance is beautifully illustrated by David Roberts.
5. Anne of Green Gables and other stories: Puffin in Bloom is a newly-designed line that aims to introduce a new generation of young readers to classics, like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and Heidi. The books feature gorgeously illustrated covers by Anna Bond, the renowned lead artist at Rifle Paper Co.
6. Frida: Kids can dive into the colorful world of Frida Kahlo in this gorgeous book illustrated by Ana Juan.
7. A-B-C A Child’s First Alphabet Book: Babies and toddlers love Allison Jay’s simple and colorful illustrations, which take us to a quieter world we wouldn’t mind teleporting ourselves to for a little while. Older children will be curious to find new details and hints about what’s to come in the next page. (photo via Amélie’s Bookshelf)
8. The Animal Fair: This collection of stories and poems by husband and wife duo Alice and Martin Provensen packs vibrant illustrations that take you from the farm to the forest or the zoo. You will also find interesting advice on topics like “how to sleep through the winter.”
9. A Coloring Book, Drawings: There’s your average coloring book, and then there’s a coloring book created by Andy Warhol. He originally produced it for clients’ children for Christmas in 1961, and it was then released to the public in 1990. This new edition is perfect for young artists-to-be.
10. Along A Long Road: Using only five colors, artist Frank Viva shares his love of cycling in this lovely story. The illustrations have a cool retro feel, almost as if they are silk screened. Time to get the helmets out!
11. The Watcher, Jane Goodall’s Life With the Chimps: Jeanette Winter adapted the fascinating story of Jane Goodall’s life for younger audience in this book that follows Jane from her childhood in London to her journey in Tanzania, always devoted to observing and protecting the lives of chimpanzees. We bet you and your little ones will will fall in love with nature and the chimps, just like Jane.
12. Lost and Found: We triple heart anything by Oliver Jeffers. This beautiful story of love and friendship is illustrated in his unique style, with simple and vibrant watercolors that you almost want to frame and put up in your child’s wall. Hardcore fans can actually do just that — Jeffers releases limited edition prints of some of his work.
13. Spot It! Find the Hidden Creatures: This collection of stunning patterns by French author and designer Delphine Chedru features a hidden creature on each illustration. Babies will love the bold colors and simple shape, and older children will have fun spotting the disguised earthworm or fox. (image via Land of Nod)
14. Good Little Wolf: Sick of the Three Little Pigs? This refreshing take on traditional fairytales marks the impressive debut by author and illustrator Nadia Shireen. The story follows Rolf, a good-natured wolf who like baking cakes and is nice to his friends — which include Little Red Riding Hood and those three pink piggies. Rolf will discover his inner “bad wolf,” defy stereotypes and choose his own path in this beautiful, quirky story. (image via Library Mice)
15. I Know a Lot of Things: Another must-have for your kid’s library comes from Amm + Paul Rand. Their debut in the world of children’s books features the graphic cut-paper style that will become their signature in future books. The story tells young kids the opposite of what they might be used to hearing all the time, that they actually do know a lot of things.
16. Color: The graphic illustrations and bold color pairings in this book by Alexander Girard make it perfect for teaching little ones to identify all the colors of the rainbow. Parents will love the ’70s aesthetic in Girard’s classic illustrations.
17. Beautiful Oops!: A life lesson for kids (and a good reminder for parents), this read reminds you that it’s okay to make mistakes. It even shows you how mistakes can open the door to something new and amazing.
18. Henri’s Walk to Paris: Little Henri does what we all daydream of doing many afternoons: He up and leaves his little village of Reboul in France and heads for Paris. The artwork in this sweet book is just amazing, and will delight little ones and their parents alike.
Have a design crush in your kid’s library? Tell us about it in the comments!