They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, what about a thousand words and a picture? Illustrated books represent creativity at its finest. There’s something so powerful about blending the visual with the written word to tell a story. Each of these three books are stunning examples of how impactful illustrations can be when coupled with thoughtful, strategic writing. Readers of all ages will be engrossed in these unforgettable, illustrated stories.
Ukrainian Angels by Reachii Corporation
(Juvenile Fiction / Art, History)
This mesmerizing book shows a heartbreaking yet powerful portrait of Ukraine. With over 70 pages and 4 illustrators, Ukrainian Angels is told by those who are living through daily struggle and pain that comes from war and all its terror.
All of the book’s profits directly benefit the children of Ukraine. There are a lot of thought-provoking children’s books out there, but none quite like this one. Within its pages, through its illustrations and poetic writings, you can see the fear, pain, and burden of war. The artists who put the book together are true visionaries who capture this heartbreaking reality – particularly from a child’s perspective.
Children should be enjoying their early years of innocence and joy. Their afternoons should be filled with carefree trips to parks with friends, and their minds sparkling with a sense of wonder. In this book, you see parks where children once played are now sites of wreckage and rubble. You see a place once filled with happiness that now is unrecognizable. You see the fear and sadness, and this is a life no one should ever endure.
The book’s illustrations are as stunning as they are tragic. It’s important for everyone fortunate enough to avoid the war’s wrath to read this book and remember how necessary it is to help those suffering. You’ll see that although many in Ukraine are horrified as rockets strike their cities, their hearts are still full of love. The country’s collective spirit can never be broken.
Thoughts from a Frog by Danielle Troxel
(Juvenile Fiction / General)
What a wonderful, beautiful book. Thoughts from a Frog is nostalgic, thoughtful, and masterfully illustrated. Its vibrant watercolor paintings are reminiscent of the most iconic illustrated tales of old, and the clever writing makes it stand out as a modern masterpiece.
The book is filled with wisdom, positive advice, and inspiration for children to dream big. It was written in hopes of starting a broader conversation between children and adults about life, love, and the importance of positivity. Danielle Troxel’s writing reminds us that some of the grandest ideas in life can come from something as little as a frog. It’s a story not only for children, but all dreamers who still hold onto their sense of wonder.
The lessons inside are timeless, and the book will be as relevant tomorrow as it is today. I believe that many of life’s greatest lessons come from the natural world, and that’s what this book teaches us. Both the storytelling and illustrations teach parents and kids that wildlife is filled with wisdom. The book serves as a perfect reminder to slow down, be kind, and appreciate the magic and beauty of life.
To You: A memoir of the early 2020s for new families by Aleksis Rae Ancheta
(Juvenile Non-fiction / Family & Relationships)
It’s been challenging to live through the pandemic years. Imagine being born in them. This book is a creative and thoughtful celebration of the new lives who joined our world during this time. By pairing rhymes alongside touching illustrations, the book does a wonderful job conveying the emotions and confusion of pandemic life. Beyond that, it reminds us that regardless of how challenging the last few years have been, hope was never lost.
As I read the book, I was taken back to the earliest days of the pandemic – when confusion and fear swirled. After reading through the rhymes and enjoying the illustrations, I looked back to what life was like for me during these moments. I thought about how I felt when the grocery aisles were empty and when our biggest weekend plans were baking sourdough bread!
Author Aleksis Rae Ancheta’s ability to share pandemic memories is heartwarming, and it’s a book that every family should hold onto, so we never forget those days. She highlights the heroism of first responders, and emphasizes how joy and love kept us unified through adversity. As we rebuild – literally and emotionally – after the pandemic, it’s important to look back at the time that was so hard to live through. This story is a testament to the human spirit. It reminds us that through struggle, we found new talents, experienced joy, and welcomed new life into the world.