IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) was set up in Switzerland in 1953 with wonderful aim of bringing books and children together. They sponsor the International Children’s Book Day (or as I like to call it, One of the Best Days of the Year Day), which just so happens to be today 2nd April, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday.
Amy asked me if I’d like to do a blog on my favourite picture books to celebrate International Children’s Book Day, as IBBY put a strong emphasis artistic excellence in books. Did she really need to ask? Picture books are where most people’s book memories begin – books that were read to me when I was a child still evoke a heady mixture of nostalgia, comfort and joy.
Today, when faced with a new picture book free from my sentimental attachments, my overwhelming emotion is often awe – the quality and sheer artistry is frequently outstanding. I feel illustration is leading the stories and as a result the books as a whole are working on more levels, becoming more sophisticated, dealing with more complex themes. It’s a wonderful thing.
To celebrate ICBD I thought I’d share some of my favourite picture books and illustrators. Let me know your favorites, and in the spirit of ICBD let’s bring books to each other!
THE STORY OF FERDINAND written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson
STRUWWELPETER by Dr Heinrich Hoffmann
DEATH, DUCK AND THE TULIP by Wolf Erlbruch
JEMMY BUTTON by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali, words by Alix Barzelay