50 Favorite Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017

  • by Louise Lareau

    This year, I had the great honor of being a judge for the 2017 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award.  On a morning in early October, my fellow judges and I met in a large conference room in the New York Times building.  There were two rows of tables just overflowing with 1000+ books.  In the months prior to selection day,  I had tried to prepare myself by reading more than 500 illustrated titles.  All this reading did not fully ready me for the piles of books in that conference room.  By the end of the day, we had narrowed the field down to the 10 winners.  We were thrilled with our choices and a bit sad for some of our favorites that were abandoned along the way.

    There were lots of wonderful books published in 2017.  Not all of them are going to make the “best of” lists, but here are 50 of my favorites.  As a librarian, I believe that each child should have a personal library at home with lots of library books mixed in.  If you are looking for gift ideas or would like a booklist to use at your local public library, here are some titles to get you started.     

    [[{"fid":"319742","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"After the Fall"},"type":"media","attributes":{"title":"After the Fall","height":"181","width":"162","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]After the Fall by Dan Santat 







     

    [[{"fid":"319743","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Before She was Harriet"},"type":"media","attributes":{"title":"Before She was Harriet","height":"170","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James E. Ransome







     

    [[{"fid":"319744","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Big Cat, Little Cat"},"type":"media","attributes":{"title":"Big Cat, Little Cat","height":"147","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper






     

    [[{"fid":"319745","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"The Blue Hour"},"type":"media","attributes":{"title":"The Blue Hour","height":"229","width":"166","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler










     

    [[{"fid":"319748","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"162","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus; illustrated by Kadir Nelson








    [[{"fid":"319749","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"194","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken










    [[{"fid":"319750","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"197","width":"170","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Bravo! : Poems about Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael López








     

    [[{"fid":"319751","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"158","width":"165","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Carrot & Pea by Morag Hood







     

    [[{"fid":"319752","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"139","width":"161","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Claymates by Dev Petty; illustrated by Lauren Eldridge







    [[{"fid":"319753","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"149","width":"165","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley; illustrated by Lin Wang






     

    [[{"fid":"319763","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"172","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Dance is for Everyone by Andrea Zuill









    [[{"fid":"319764","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"185","width":"158","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Danza! : Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh









    [[{"fid":"319765","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"180","width":"159","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Dazzle Ships : World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton; illustrated    by Victo Ngai







     

    [[{"fid":"319767","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"187","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]A Different Pond by Bao Phi; illustrated by Thi Bui








     

    [[{"fid":"319786","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"212","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Feather by Rémi Courgeon

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






     

    [[{"fid":"319801","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"213","width":"165","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Fog by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Kenard Pak









     

    [[{"fid":"319805","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"159","width":"166","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman; illustrated by Komako Sakai






     

    [[{"fid":"319806","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"192","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown;  illustrated by John Parra

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award





     

    [[{"fid":"319807","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"199","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Grand Canyon by Jason Chin








     

    [[{"fid":"319808","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"138","width":"170","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]King of the Sky by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Laura Carlin

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award



     

    [[{"fid":"319809","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"133","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]] A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Nancy Carpenter





     

    [[{"fid":"319810","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"205","width":"168","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]] Lines by Suzy Lee









     

     [[{"fid":"319811","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"137","width":"166","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin





     

    [[{"fid":"319812","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"134","width":"167","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]] Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth





     

    [[{"fid":"319813","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"212","width":"169","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Mighty Moby by Ed Young









     

    [[{"fid":"319814","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"162","width":"170","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Muddy: the Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael J. Mahin; illustrated    by Evan Turk

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award



     

    [[{"fid":"319815","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"218","width":"172","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






     

    [[{"fid":"319816","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"207","width":"172","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Plume by Isabelle Simler

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






     

    [[{"fid":"319817","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"194","width":"156","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner; illustrated by Michael Emberley








     

    [[{"fid":"319818","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"198","width":"154","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]] Rain by Sam Usher








     

    [[{"fid":"319819","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"155","width":"157","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin






     

    A River by Marc Martin[[{"fid":"319822","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"123","width":"156","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award


     

    [[{"fid":"319826","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"150","width":"157","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Round by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Taeeun Yoo






     

    [[{"fid":"319827","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"184","width":"158","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Stacy Innerst

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award




     

    [[{"fid":"319828","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"184","width":"160","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Eric Velasquez






     

    [[{"fid":"319831","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"203","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say








     

    [[{"fid":"319892","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"132","width":"163","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]That is My Dream! by Langston Hughes; illustrated by Daniel Miyares





     

    [[{"fid":"319893","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"160","width":"167","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares






     

    [[{"fid":"319894","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"200","width":"169","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]This House, Once by Deborah Freedman








     

    [[{"fid":"319895","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"142","width":"171","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney





     

    [[{"fid":"319896","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"132","width":"171","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Tony by Ed Galing; illustrated by Erin E. Stead





     

    [[{"fid":"319897","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"167","width":"174","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Trees by Lemniscates







     

    [[{"fid":"319899","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"131","width":"181","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz; illustrated by Sydney Smith

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award


     

    [[{"fid":"319901","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"223","width":"182","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

    Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






     

    [[{"fid":"319902","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"314","width":"184","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]When's My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Christian Robinson














     

    [[{"fid":"319937","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"213","width":"186","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Where's Rodney? by Carmen Bogan; illustrated by Floyd Cooper









     

    [[{"fid":"319903","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"180","width":"187","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt; illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko







     

    [[{"fid":"319904","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"159","width":"189","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Windows by Julia Denos; illustrated by E.B. Goodale

     

     

     

     

    [[{"fid":"319905","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"156","width":"189","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell






     

    [[{"fid":"319906","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"235","width":"191","style":"float:left","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen