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Beautifully-Designed Children’s Books

By Isabel Kallman

Yes, March is National Reading Month. And, the rest of the month we’ll highlight our favorite books and reading activities.

Last week, we presented our favorite board books for babies. Today, it’s beautifully-designed books for kids. These are ones where the illustrations take our breath away. They also all happen to sit on my son’s bookshelf.

We are sure there are other beautiful ones out there and we are dying to hear about them. So please do tell. Share, share, that’s fair.



Artist Suzy Lee released the wordless masterpiece Wave last year. We love, love, love this book. The end.

Hansel & Gretel


Beloved artist Jen Corace is the illustrator behind this edition of Hansel and Gretel. It’s absolutely gorgeous.



This charmingly-illustrated pop-up book is produced by renowned painter Seonna Hong who also won an Emmy as an animation artist for the Powerpuff Girls.

When You Were Small


We recommended When You Were Small as a Father’s Day gift last year for its sweet father-son storyline and lovely illustrations. Luckily for us, illustrator Julie Morstad and author Sarah O’Leary have a new book out Where You Came From. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. (Adding to shopping cart right now).

Gyo Fujikawa’s Children’s Books


Any of Gyo Fujikawa’s books would be eye candy for your children’s library. Fujikawa was a prolific writer and illustrator and according to Wikipedia is recognized for being the earliest mainstream illustrator of picture books to include children of many races in her work. I remember spending hours upon hours as a child looking through her Mother Goose book. I loved them so much then and maybe even more now.

Pippi Longstocking


I could not think of a better illustrator than Lauren Child (of Charlie & Lola fame) for the Pippi Longstocking tale. Ms. Child’s artwork is the perfect accompaniment for the story of this zany independent girl.

The Snowy Day


The Snowy Day
is also on our list for Best Board Book for Babies. We list it here for its gorgeous use of color and collage. It’s a lovely story about a young boy playing outside after a snowstorm. Published in 1962 it was one of the most controversial books of the 1960s, which is hard to believe given its very simple storyline. It went on to earn a Caldecott Medal.

Now it’s your turn. Which are your favorite illustrated and/or designed children’s books?

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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We love “Snowy Day” so much that the 3.5 year old can recite it. It’s a the top of our “favorites” list. We also love the Shirley Hughes books. The illustrations aren’t eye-popping, but she really captures the way children hold themselves, move and play with each other.

Busy Mom

We love The Snowy Day!
Three Bags Full is another pretty one:
And I like This is Baseball:

Alpha Mom
Alpha Mom

From our buddy on Twitter:
@mymomshops writes “Love the illustrations of Paris in children’s book Adele and Simon.

Book Spout
Book Spout

Here’s the book trailer for a beautiful book coming out from Philomel:

Design Mom

This topic is near and dear to my heart! Here are links to some of my favorite well-designed books for children:
Peter Spier’s People
Freight Train
Sasek’s This Is… Series
Bob Gill’s books
John Segal’s Reluctant Dragon
From Bruno Munari and Paul Rand
Board books featuring art by Thiebaud and Andy Wharhol
Almost Everything and Zoology
Oh dear. I could go on and on. So many pretty books!


My daughters love Snowy Day, too.
Another visual favorite for me is Plum, a book of poems illustrated by Mary Grand-Pre, who illustrated the Harry Potter books. Stunning!


Some of our favorite illustrators are Jesse Wilcox Smith, Elsa Beskow, Tasha Tudor, and Lisbeth Zwerger. Our children spend hours pouring over any book they have done.


The Whale’s song by Dyan Sheldon, Illustrated by Gary Blythe.
Wonderfully illustrated.


We love Sasek’s This Is… books too!
Also, Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen.