Friday, February 14, 2014

New York Times Best Illustrated Books 2013

The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books for 2013

“Ballad,” written and illustrated by Blexbolex, translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books)

interior art, "Ballad"

interior art, "Ballad" French edition

Born in France in 1966, Blexbolex entered art school with the intention of becoming a painter, but left having discovered his talents as a silk-screen artist. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts d’Angoulême in 1984. He works both as an illustrator and a comic book artist. His work, which is inspired by vintage design, mixes old printing methods with new interpretations and techniques.

“The Dark,” written by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Little, Brown and Company)

Jon Klassen grew up in Niagara Falls, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the author and illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, as well as the illustrator of Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, and the other books in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. He also created concept art for Coraline, the stop-motion animated film based on the book by Neil Gaiman.

“Fog Island,” written and illustrated by Tomi Ungerer (Phaidon Press)

Tomi Ungerer was born in Strasbourg in Alsace in 1931. He has also lived and worked in New York, Canada, and Ireland, which gives his work a multicultural edge. In 1956 Tomi set out for New York with 60 dollars in his pocket and what he later described as a “trunk full of drawings and manuscripts”. The next year he met the children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom at Harper and Row who published his first children’s book The Mellops Go Flying. It was an immediate success.  In 1958 – 62 Tomi completed the Mellops series and published Crictor, Adelaide, Emil, The Three Robbers and Rufus. Fortunately for us he is still publishing beautifully illustrated books for children.

“Holland,” written and illustrated by Charlotte Dematons (Lemniscaat)

Charlotte Dematons was born in Evreux, France, September 21, 1957. After graduating from high school in France, Charlotte went to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where she specialized in illustration and design. She debuted as a picture book maker with Dido in 1985.

“Jane, The Fox and Me,” written by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)

Isabelle Arsenault was born in 1978 in Sept-Iles, Quebec. After studies in Fine Arts and Graphic Design, she specialized in illustration. In 2005, she won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for the illustration of her first children’s book, Le Coeur de Monsieur Gauguin. Through children’s illustration she gives life to her own childhood dreams and in doing so, she hopes to inspire upcoming generations. Isabelle Arsenault now lives in Montreal, Quebec.

"Jemmy Button," written and illustrated by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vadali (Templar Publishing/Candlewick Press)

Jennifer Uman lives in New York. She’s a self-taught painter and illustrator and she tells stories of people, call-centers, Iranian superstars, sexy karaoke and free soup. This is her first illustrated book. Jennifer’s friend Olympia says, “You will like Jemmy Button so much that you’ll start living barefoot.”

Valerio Vidali is an Italian illustrator. His work has received numerous awards and recognition in some of the most important international exhibitions, such as the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, ILUSTRARTE in Lisbon; and the BIB (Biennal of illustration, Bratislava, Slovakia). Valerio enjoys very much botanic gardens and in his spare time he builds kites that don't fly.

“Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press)

Aaron Becker has worked as a film artist for Lucasfilm, Disney, and Pixar, where he helped define the look and feel of characters, stories, and movies. With Journey, he has created characters and worlds of his very own, using traditional materials and techniques. Aaron Becker lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, daughter, and cat. This is his first book.

"I’ve made several memorable journeys in my lifetime. I’ve lived in rural Japan and East Africa and backpacked through the South Pacific and Sweden. But to this day, my favorite destination remains my imagination, where you can often find me drawing secret doorways and magic lanterns." — Aaron Becker

“Locomotive,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca (Richard Jackson/Atheneum)

Brian Floca was born and raised in Temple, Texas. He graduated from Brown University and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts. While at Brown, Brian was able to take classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, including one class with author and illustrator David Macaulay. Studies with Macaulay led to an introduction to the author Avi, which in turn led to Brian's illustrating Avi's graphic novel City of Light, City of Dark, published by Richard Jackson at Orchard Books. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“My Brother’s Book,” written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Michael de Capua Books/HarperCollins Publishers)

Maurice Bernard Sendak, 
Dubbed by one critic as “the Picasso of children’s literature,” Maurice Sendak illustrated nearly a hundred picture books throughout a career that spanned more than 60 years. Some of his best known books include Chicken Soup with Rice(1962), Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and In the Night Kitchen (1970). Born in Brooklyn in 1928 to Jewish immigrant parents from northern Poland, Sendak grew up idolizing the storytelling abilities of his father, Philip, and his big brother, Jack. As a child he illustrated his first stories on shirt cardboard provided by his tailor-father. Aside from a few night classes in art after graduating high school, Sendak was a largely self-taught artist. His characters, stories, and inspirations were drawn from among his own neighbors, family, pop culture, historical sources, literary influences, and long-held childhood memories. 

“Nelson Mandela,” written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers)

Kadir Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has since created paintings for a host of distinguished clients including The United States Postal Service, and Dreamworks SKG where he worked as a visual development artist creating concept artwork for feature films. Nelson has gained acclaim for the artwork he has contributed to several NYT Best-selling picture books including his authorial debut, “WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball. Currently, Nelson’s cover artwork is featured on the album“MICHAEL” by the late pop singer icon Michael Jackson.

Since 1952, the Book Review has convened an independent panel of three judges from the world of children’s literature to select picture books on the basis of artistic merit.

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