For the month of August, we’re absolutely tickled to have had the opportunity to work with animator and illustrator Jared Chapman. Jared and Literati have a lot in common: both are based in Texas, both love picture books, and both can really get behind a good joke.
Open summer days often make room the best adventures. Whether you’re leaving town this summer or going no further than your own backyard, these books about culture, language, and the nature of travel itself are a great way to inspire an interest in the broader world and all the people in it.
If you’re the parent of a school-aged child, mid-July is just about the halfway mark between the June picnics and late August school supply shopping trips. As we crest the arc of summer, schedules have become amorphous: some combination of time at camp, strings of playdates, summer sports leagues, family vacations, and the odd chunk of downtime at home has shaken up the clockwork predictability of the year.
Midsummer is the time for sunshine, swimming, and spending quality time poring over (and falling into) our richest picture books, which is just one reason why we’re so excited to have the UK-based author and illustrator William Grill (Shackleton’s Journey, The Wolves of Currumpaw) as Literati‘s featured illustrator for July.
With each new child born into this world, a new light of possibility pops into existence like buds on the trees when spring arrives at last. And if you’re anything like us, you believe the best way to help these little buds grow is to surround them with books.
Lots. And lots. Of books.
Quick! Turn to the nearest kid and ask them what it means to be a good friend. You’ll get a myriad of responses depending on whom you ask, from “sharing snack at school” to “inviting them to my birthday party” to “who the heck are you?”
The topic of friendship can be a slippery one, especially when you’re young and just beginning to navigate the labyrinth of successful social interaction. If you’re in the esteemed position of guiding a child through this new territory, there is no better venue for you to work through the early trials and triumphs of making friends than the vibrant, handheld world of a picture book. We’ve found that the best books about friendship include lots of examples of empathy, compromise, courage, and maintaining a good sense of humor. Here are some of our current favorites.
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” – G.K. Chesterton
I’m five years old, standing in a drafty church-turned-library. Watery winter sunlight pours through arching windows and catches the dust that trickles from the rafters. All around me, wall to wall and floor to nearly ceiling, brightly colored spines advertise the contents of their hardbound covers. My rural public library is small but mighty, boasting an impressive children’s book selection for a tiny mountaintop town with a population of about 1700, but I don’t know or care about this at the time. I run my fingers along the books I can reach and select a few choice volumes; spines of black, red, or gray, titles written in a drippy or scratchy typeface. Anything with witch, ghost, tragedy, legend, or haunted in the title makes it into my little hands.
Though we are geographically widespread and our interests vary, all of us here at Literati are united by at least one fundamental quality: a powerful love of children’s books. Our curation team is always on the lookout for the the visual feast, the overlooked gem, the forgotten favorite, cheerful and melancholy, silly and subdued tales alike, to share with the children and families that receive a Literati box each month. Some of us are teachers, some are parents, some are both. Some are visual artists, some writers, some librarians. All of us, within and beyond these roles, are deeply invested in the constant search for great books.
For Literati‘s upcoming June experience, we are thrilled to have had the chance to work with London-based author and illustrator Jenni Desmond! You’ve seen her mixed media illustrations in The Polar Bear, Red Cat Blue Cat, The First Sludge, and more.
Every month, Literati features original artwork by a distinguished illustrator introducing the theme. Subscribers receive this artwork made exclusively for Literati kiddos inside their monthly deliveries. In preparation for May, we had the distinct pleasure of chatting with one of our favorite illustrators, Graeme Base, based in Melbourne Australia.