Librarian Top 10 – Sapphia’s Best Illustrated Books

The librarian top 10 this time comes from Sapphia, an assistant community librarian based at Moor Allerton Library.

My favourite illustrated books.

I am, due to my art school background, unfortunately an illustration snob when it comes to children’s books, and that goes for bad typography too! Fortunately the world of children’s books has an abundance of illustrators that can help depict all the wondrous adventures that some of our favourite authors compose. There will be hundreds, in a world full of graphic design, an illustrator doesn’t often get the credit they are due.

I can promise you that if you think of your favourite book as a child, more often than not it will be an illustration of your favourite character or the book cover that will be what you remember first.

Here is a selection of books and illustrators that I believe show a great quality of illustration that I love.

Dear DiaryDear Diary by Sara Fanelli

Sara Fanelli is an illustrator that uses lots of beautiful handwritten typography that works as part of the whole illustration on each page. Sara creates marvellous creatures using a variety of sources included, patterned and textured papers, pens and paint, collaging them all together to create something completely new and magical. It is so easy to get lost in all of Sara’s childlike creativity and stories. Dear diary is set as the journal of various different characters including Lucy, the Ladybird and Spider and what happens on the day Lucy takes something to ‘show and tell’ at school upsetting Bubu the dog because surely Lucy should of taken him as the ‘show and tell?’. All manner of wonderful things happen! Don’t miss out.

hungry caterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I think everyone will remember this book from their childhood. A greedy red and green caterpillar eating his way out of a variety of delicious looking food, with different sized pages and the hole punched bite marks he leaves behind. By turning each page and helping the caterpillar eat each piece of food like apples, plums and chocolate cake. It makes you the reader, really feel as though you help this delightful caterpillar transform into the beautiful butterfly he becomes. Carle creates all his illustrations by painting textures onto tissue papers and then collaging them to form shapes, this is how he is able to create colours with such depth but still have his simplistic shape.

MatildaMatilda by Roald Dahl – Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Part of the reason we all loved Roald Dahl books so much was because of the super little illustrations that you would find as chapter headings and story depictions to further your imagination. Blake uses simplistic ink brush strokes to create characters that are full of movement and life, with splashes of watercolour to emphasise the personality of each character that once again have a childlike quality. You will however often notice that a lot of his illustration still shows great detail, with a busy background to set the scene of the story you are reading. I chose Matilda as my Quentin Blake example as I don’t think any librarian should not acknowledge the story of a little girl so in love with reading. Matilda overcomes a neglectful family and a wicked head mistress, using her love of books, intellect, secret super power and a retaliation of pranks to create the happy ending she had always read about in the stories she loved.

the day the crayons quitThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt – Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The idea that your colouring crayons could outright refuse to be used seems like an absurd idea! This book utilises your child’s imagination to the extreme, getting them to ask themselves what would happen if something so odd happened in real life. Oliver Jeffers illustrates this story as if the crayons are children themselves and drawing away all their dormant emotions. Again focusing on typography, it is amazing how each coloured crayon show’s their different personality by the way they each have their own handwriting style and talk about why they are refusing to draw. All the pictures drawn by the crayon, (in real life too) possess the naivety of a child, which reminds you of how you used to draw. Or how, in fact your child does now. They will love it. As purple crayon says too, it’s worth remembering to try and colour inside the lines!

Smelly LouieSmelly Louie by Catherine Rayner

Shortlisted for the Kate Greenway Medal 2015 Smelly Louie is the story of the well-known predicament, washing the dog. Poor Louie doesn’t like the smell of roses and apple blossom; he has his own special smell and he will get it back again. Catherine Rayner creatively takes you on a journey of bubbles, water colour splashes, coffee stains, pencil scribbles and mud to make Louie the dog he longs to be. Catherine has an impeccable ability of letting the reader see the joy and disdain of Louie, the illustration style changing as Louie does. Louie is a messy water colour, ink scribble type of dog reflective of his scruffy demeanour, the array of colours and depth and his sketchy style intensifies the dirtier Louie gets and we watch him revel in his chaotic appearance. Clean or dirty, he is a very beautifully illustrated dog.

where the poppies now growWhere the Poppies Now Grow by Hilary Robinson – Illustrated by Martin Impey

Written to mark the anniversary of the start of the First World War, the illustrations still manage to convey a sense of innocence without limiting the importance of the stories message, but making it accessible to children. The water colour images in the blotchy frames create the illusion that all the illustrations are a memory with their softly drawn depiction, helping you become swept away within the rhyme narrative, a fitting tribute to the war poets of the time. Depicting War will always be difficult but using illustrations and a story that showcase a journey of friendship, courage and personal grief, Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey create a powerful reminder of the cost of war. But they also share the message that even after darkness, in humanity there is light, there is a field ‘Where the Poppies Now Grow’.

wolvesWolves– Emily Gravett

Winning the Kate Greenway Medal back in 2005 and attaining the Bronze in the Nestle Children’s Book Prize, this book already has a great start. Wolves is the story of Rabbit who goes to the Public Burrowing Library to choose a book about wolves. Emily Gravett is a fabulous author and illustrator who uses a mixed media approach to tell her stories. I will say that I believe the best part of this book is the 3d library borrower’s pocket with book card, so that the reader feels like they have checked out the book themselves. There are linear black and white pencil sketches throughout that depict the pages of the book Rabbit is reading as he moves across the pages as a 2d full colour character. Until of course the book and the Wolf comes to life! The book also offers a humorous alternative ending for readers of a more sensitive disposition and is illustrated in a way that suggests that yes, these characters have already suffered from a story ending. There is also a friendly reminder at the end of the book with a 3D overdue letter that surely Rabbit wouldn’t ignore?

Charlie and LolaI Will Never Not Ever Eat A Tomato by Lauren Child

Like most children Lola doesn’t really like to eat vegetables and lots of other food either so it is left up to her brother Charlie to trick Lola, convincing her that carrots are twiglets from Jupiter, mash potato is cloud fluff and best of all…tomatoes, well they are moonsquirters and they are Lola’s favourite. Lauren Child uses her characteristic mixed media collage, full of ditzy prints, patterns and block colours and Photoshop layers to build and illustrate this story. Child uses a variation of font s and font sizes and direction, used to highlight the flow of the story and to make the young reader become lost in a captivating tale which actually echoes real life. Photographic images are also used to depict the vegetables that Lola won’t eat which children can use to help them identify real vegetables with and hopefully encourage them to eat them too. Lauren Child has created an illustrative style of her own that many have tried to recreate but no one has ever been able to match her wit and clash of her classic illustration style with the world of graphic design.

Dear ZooDear Zoo by Rod Campbell

When you are a child I think more often than not your favourite books are all about animals. From a young age it can be amazing to realise just how many there are and how different, Rod Campbell’s book, Dear Zoo, has definitely helped a lot of children discover wild animals and their names. With simple illustrations, short witty narrative and explorative flaps, there is nothing more exciting than using the narrative clues to discover what has been delivered to the zoo! Rod Campbell’s illustrations start off with a simple pencil outline which he then draws over with a black ink pen. All colours are added via watercolour paint and he then uses felt tips to create detail and shading. It’s lovely to hear a felt tip being used to such great effect and shows how easily imagery can be made with a little imagination. At 33 years old Dear Zoo remains a firm favourite for children under five’s and I hope for many years longer, we might just have to ensure we get a few more copies as the poor lift-the flaps become so well worn from the love of reading it.

Double ActDouble Act by Jaqueline Wilson – Illustrated by Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap

I almost left Nick Sharratt off the list, as his illustrations are generally very simple, with a comic style and simple black outline, which I generally don’t love as much as an illustrative style. However to me as a young child/almost teenager Jacqueline Wilson books illustrated by Nick Sharratt evoked all the weird emotions and stuff going on in my little world that nobody else talked about, because it might imply you weren’t ‘normal’. All Jacqueline Wilsons stories involve characters that aren’t perfect, but they are real and living in real life situations, with that she helps kids to realise that even if there are things in your life that aren’t going quite right it doesn’t make you any less of person/ kid.

Out of all of the wonderful Jacqueline Wilson’s books, I have chosen Double Act, as a twin sister myself the characters Ruby and Garnet resonated with me, a world seemingly collapsing around them and with changing personalities, can they still be the same sisters they have always been? When you’re a twin believe me this can be the scariest thing in the world and this story helped me realise that this stuff happens, but it can be overcome. Nick Sharratt’s and Sue Heap’s illustrations are dotted throughout the book, fantastic for the younger reader, giving a break from reading but also adding purpose, helping the reader identify with the characters.

I recently gave a family member my collection of Jacqueline Wilson Books, I collected all of them, and they were in beautiful, prized condition. I’m still wondering if it was one of the worst decisions of my life……

Picking 10 books, I have barely touched the surface of amazing illustration in books, but I hope this list will encourage you to discover your favourites.

A good illustration captivates you; it can make a story real and help a book, become a memory.

Top 10 – Children’s Fiction

Our new series of blog posts will feature Top 10s from Leeds Library Service. This week, as it is half term I thought I would start with our Top 10 Children’s fiction books borrowed this month. Mr Walliams and Ms Wilson have definitely got it sewn up between them!  Have you read them all?

  1. Opal Plumstead by Jacqueline Wilson

Opal Plumstead Opal Plumstead might be plain, but she has always been fiercely intelligent. Yet her scholarship and dreams of university are snatched away when her father is sent to prison, and 14-year-old Opal must start work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory to support her family. Opal struggles to get along with the other workers, who think her snobby and stuck-up. But she idolises Mrs Roberts, the factory’s beautiful, dignified owner, who introduces her to the legendary Mrs Pankhurst and her fellow Suffragettes. And when Opal meets Morgan – Mrs Roberts’ handsome son, and the heir to Fairy Glen – she believes she has found her soulmate. But the First World War is about to begin, and will change Opal’s life for ever.

2. Adventure Time by Ryan North

Adventure timeThe Lich, a super-lame, super-scary skeleton dude, has returned to the Land of Ooo, and he’s bent on total destruction! Luckily, Finn and Jake are on the case!

3. The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFGGiants are known for eating children. So when Sophie is snatched from her bed by the BFG, she fears for her life. But luckily he is far more jumbly than his disgusting neighbours. They become good friends and cook up a plan to rid the world of bad giants.

4. Mr Stink by David Walliams

Mr StinkChloe sees Mr Stink every day, but she’s never spoken to him. Which isn’t surprising, because he’s a tramp, and he stinks. But there’s more to Mr Stink than meets the eye (or nose) and before she knows it, Chloe has an unusual new friend hiding in her garden shed.

5. Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Gangsta GrannyBen is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma: she was once an international jewel thief and she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels. Now she needs Ben’s help.

6. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Boy in the DressDennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring.

7. Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

Billionaire BoyJoe has a lot of reasons to be happy – about a billion of them, in fact. You see, Joe’s rich – really, really rich. Joe’s got his own bowling alley, his own cinema, even his own butler who is also an orangutan. He’s the wealthiest 12-year-old in the land. But Joe isn’t happy. Why not? Because he’s got a billion pounds, and not a single friend.

8. Paws and Whiskers by Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Enid Blyon and  more

Paws and whiskersThis special anthology features the very best stories about cats and dogs from the world of children’s literature, chosen by author and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home patron Jacqueline Wilson. The book includes a new story by Jacqueline herself, ‘Leonie’s Pet Cat’, as well as extracts from treasured classics such as ‘The Hundred and One Dalmations’ by Dodie Smith and ‘Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat’ by Ursula Moray Williams, and from modern favourite writers such as Anne Fine and Patrick Ness.

9. Demon Dentist by David Walliams

Demon DentistDarkness has come to the town. Strange things are happening in the dead of night. Children put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they wake up to find. a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil is at work. But who or what was behind it? Read this book and find out!

10. Diamond by Jacqueline Wilson

DiamondDiamond wasn’t always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter – and a bitter disappointment. Discovering an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, Diamond uses her talent to earn a few pennies, but brings shame on her family. When a mysterious, cruel-eyed stranger spots her performing, Diamond is sold – and is taken to become an acrobat at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus. The crowds adore Diamond, but life behind the velvet curtains is far from glamorous. Her wicked master forces Diamond to attempt ever more daring tricks, until she is terrified to step into the ring.

 

 

Children’s Writing Competition: Leeds Big Bookend

logo_finalThe Big Bookend are currently running a writing competition aimed at young writers in the city. They would like you to write a short story or poem about the First World War. If you are between 7 and 16 and you do then you could win a prize. The competition is part of the ‘First World War and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Leeds Pals, POWs and the Home Front’ project and in association with the Leeds Big Bookend.

You could be a budding writer with an interest in the First World War or someone who works with young people who are studying the First World War.  The competition aims to encourage young people from Yorkshire to reflect on and write about the First World War – be it war at sea, theatres of war around the world or the war on the Home Front here in Yorkshire. Stories that reflect on the impact of the First World War on local people and places are encouraged. Entries could be short stories, poem or verse, as long as they meet the terms of entry described below. The winning entries will be published on Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s and the Leeds Big Bookend’s websites and used in other displays and presentations as part of the First World War Centenary project.

For further details about the project and about the Big Bookend Festival, have a look at their website.

Featured library – Dewsbury Road

I thought I would do a series of blog posts that casts the spotlight on our individual libraries. Really being a librarian, I should feature them in alphabetical order, but as we have some good new stuff coming up at Dewsbury Road, I have had to go against my instinct!

Dewsbury%20Road%20Library%20Exterior_jpgDewsbury Road library is a modern library situated near to New Bewerley School and the Beeston campus of City of Leeds college. It is part of a multi service building where other council services can be accessed. A list of all the services available in the library here.

But that stuff is the everyday stuff – look what else you can get up to!

fountain-pen-447576_640NEW – Creative Writing Group – last Tuesday of the month, 1.00 – 2.30pm

Find inspiration and develop your own writing style amongst a free, fun, eclectic writers group. Whatever your genre or skill level, come along and enjoy discussing anything and everything to do with writing in a supportive and friendly social setting. The next meetings are 28 July, 25 August, 29 September, 27 October and 24 November.

comics clubNEW – Comics Club – starts 23rd July, then moves to every 3rd Thursday of the month, 3.15 – 4.45pm

Join us every third Thursday of the month to make comics, create characters, draw awesome stuff, write awesome stuff and read all kinds of awesome comics! Suitable for families and children aged 6 – 12 years.

 

 

Mug of coffeeCommunity Coffee Morning – every Friday 10.00 – 11.30am

Come along to our relaxed and friendly coffee morning to meet new people, share stories and community information.

Record Breakers logoSummer Reading Challenge – through the summer holidays

Take part in the challenge and read 6 books over the summer and we will reward you with prizes. This years theme is Record Breakers and we are holding all sorts of events in our libraries over the summer, to find out when and where have a look at our Facebook page.

laptop-820274_640IT Learning Sessions

Do you long to use the internet but don’t know where to start? Maybe you have a new tablet that you just can’t get to grips with? Ask at the library counter and they will register you for a learning session with one of our librarians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem of the week – First day of the holidays by Theresa Heine

Lots of children around Leeds will be breaking up for the summer holidays either today or in the next week so I thought it apt to have a poem about the summer holidays.

children in bedFirst day of the holidays

I could
ride my bike,
plait my hair,
go and call on
Paul and Claire,

Clean the budgie,
walk the dog,
practise handstands,
go for a job,

Read a book,
watch TV,
help my Dad
cook the tea.

All these things
and many more
I’ll do tomorrow,
that’s for sure.

but today instead
I’m staying in bed!

Theresa Heine

 

Three books on parenting

French parents don't give inBattle hymn of the Tiger MotherWant to get a different take on being a parent? Here’s a French, Chinese and new-old fashioned way. 

Battle hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua – This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how you can be humbled by a 13-year-old

French parents don’t give in by Pamela Druckerman -Offers a practical handbook of helpful and fun short tips to bring up your child à la française, with advice about feeding (including meal plans and recipes from French creches), sleeping, dealing with tantrums & other bad behaviour.

 New old-fashioned parenting: a guide to help you find the balance between traditional and modern parenting by Liat Hughes Joshi – There’s been a revolution in the family; it’s now all about the kids. This book combines newer and traditional childrearing methods and applies a common sense ‘best of both worlds’ approach – one that works in the modern world for modern families.

 

Need some inspiration for kids’ activities over Christmas? #Crafts #Baking @Child_Leeds

Fun Christmas crafts to make and bake: over 60 festive projects to make with your kidsKeep the kids entertained WITH CRAFTS AND BAKING

 100 Christmas Things to Make & Do by Fiona Watt is full great ideas with really simple step-by-step instructions for novel cookery and craft projects, including snowball truffles, bouncing snowmen Christmas tree decorations and an advent calendar designed as a castle published by Usborne, market leaders for children’s craft books.

Fun Christmas crafts to make and bake: over 60 festive projects to make with your kids by Annie Rigg. Christmas is the perfect time for kids to get creative – so let them craft and bake their way The Christmas bookto the most magical of Christmases

Depending on the children’s age, you could try some Christmas cookery. The Christmas Book by Rita Storey – where Christmas came from, Father Christmas, mince pies, and more! You’ll be able to impress everyone with your Christmas knowledge. Also filled with lots of festive craft activities and recipes, you can follow the simple step-by-step guides and make gifts for all your friends and family.

Or try Christmas Fairy cooking by Leonie Pratt – Christmas treats include snowflake biscuits, Christmas fairy kisses, jewelled fairy muffins, Christmas fairy crowns and a Christmas castle cake