Top Ten Picture Book Authors

This week it’s top ten authors in x genre.  I’m actually not a big genre reader.  I’ll read any – after I took a Readers Advisory class and had to read a novel a week in different ones, from romance to horror to literary nonfiction (that was an amazing experience) – but I can’t pick any genre in which I have ten favorite authors.  Realistic fiction comes the closest, I suppose, but that seems sort of lame.  So picture books it is!

10. Brian Selznick

Normally, I wouldn’t call Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck picture books, but the Caledecott Committee did, so that’s good enough for me.

9. David Wisniewski 

I just discovered Wisniewski’s work when I was reshelving picture books.  His work, Golem, for which he won the 1997 Caldecott, is an artistic wonder of paper craft.  It’s a little dark for my picture book readers, though, so I added this title, Tough Cookie, to my fall book order.

8. Kevin Henkes

I know that Henkes has done a lot of other more popular work, like Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Kitten’s First Full Moon, but A Good Day is my favorite.  If there’s any book that I’d like to go cut up and make into gift wrap or posters, this is it.  

7. J. Klassen

This is a new favorite author.  This is Not My Hat continues the hat theme after the hit of 2011, I Want My Hat Back.  I feel a preschool storytime theme brewing . . . 

6. Jan Brett

Jan Brett’s books are an intricate delight, and truly a must-have for any children’s library.  I especially love that Brett has created signs for libraries and distributes these free on her website:  “Print as many as you wish.”  How cool is that!  (Smart too – get the librarians on your side, and they’ll buy all your books.)

5.  Quentin Blake

Although I’m featuring picture book authors, I have to include Quentin Blake here, just for his illustrations.  I wasn’t aware that he’s author/illustrator of many books in his own right.  I’ll have to check those out.  Blake, of course, illustrated many of Roald Dahl’s books, including most famously, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Check out his Rights of the Reader poster (with Daniel Pennac) – free for download here.

4.  Chris Van Allsburg

Van Allsburg’s portfolio is very deep – Jumanji, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdock.  The one above, though, is my favorite, for its almost ethereal images that evoke the exact emotions of the story.

3. Tad Hills

Truth be told, I’ve never read one of Tad Hills books – they are always checked out!  But after hearing of his generosity to a great cause – creating an original Christmas card for free – he has to be included on this list.  

2. Kate and Jim McMullan

This is a favorite book of mine to read out loud.  And how could it not be?  Know what I do when you’re asleep? / Eat your trash, that’s what.  I will say, though, they get to the near top of my list also for the reminder of another of their books popping up in my Amazon feed, with me just seeing the title.  I wondered what sort of book Amazon was suggesting I buy!

1.  David Wiesner

I’ve already talked about Wiesner, winner of the 2007 Caldecott for Flotsam, and before that, one in 2002.  Although there are other wordless books that have a less intricate of plot and perhaps are better choices for younger students, you have to hand it to Wiesner for boldly going where no one had gone (much) before.  Word is, Wiesner is working on a new book, called Mr. Wuffles.
  • Runners up:  Mo Willems, Eric Carle, Ludwig Bemelmans
  • What I don’t like:  Curious George, and most picture books published by a famous person who isn’t a writer – actor, television news anchor, singer, etc.  With a few notable exceptions.

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Picture Book Authors

  1. Isn't Brian Selznick a stunning author/illustrator? I would call his books perfect for all ages, they're so beautiful and timeless!I remember loving Jumunji when I read the book as a child after watching the film- I really loved his work after that, it's so unusual and detailed!This is a great list!

  2. Can I tell you how much we love I Stink in this house? We have literally read three copies to shreds! Great list!Check out my Top Ten Favorite YA Contemporary Authors HERE!Also, I have a FANTASTIC giveaway of a SIGNED copy Lauren Oliver's new book, THE SPINDLERS, going on HERE!

  3. I love to share Selznick with students who think they don't like big books. 🙂 Last year, we had this reading program in the elementary library where kids would count the pages they'd read and compete for gift certificates at the end of the year, so there was a lot of checkouts for his books!Thanks for stopping!

  4. Have you read Wonderstruck? I didn't read it right away, thinking it'd be too similar to Hugo Cabret, but he is such an amazing storyteller. It was magnificent too, just in a different way.I added your blog to my RSS!

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