31 Days, 31 Lists: 2018 Fabulous Photography Books for Kids
In college I double majored. At the time, I was rejecting my librarian destiny, and got it into my head that photography was the way to go. Librarianship was dull and dusty. Photography was sexy and adventurous. Too adventurous it turned out. That, combined with my inability to figure out what an F-Stop was, put an end to the whole endeavor, but I never lost my love of the form. Every year I try to keep an eye out for any children’s book that gives ample attention to photographs in some way. Thanks to advances in technology and printing, it’s never been easier to make books with photographic images. Yet despite this, few come out. The pickings are often rather slim, but once in a while you get a gem. Today’s list is a small one, but I’m grateful that each and every single one of these books exists.
2018 Fabulous Photography Books for Kids
Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak, ill. Julian Frost, photographs by Linnea Rundgren
Ah! I’m so glad I finally get to start talking about this book! The premise is mildly brilliant. Basically it’s Herve Tullet’s Press Here meets Dan Krall’s Sick Simon. Since germs are too small to see, let’s use a scanning electron microscope to show what fabric, teeth, and even a belly button looks like up close. The reader “picks up” the germ characters in each scene and moves them from place to place, but the impact would be so much less without those photographs. It’s a use of them that I’ve never really seen before. This is one of my favorite nonfiction books to booktalk this year, and it’s great with the youngest of kids.
Seeing Into Tomorrow, haiku by Richard Wright, photography by Nina Crews
Hopefully by now everyone has gotten a chance to see this book. In many ways Nina Crews is the doyenne of photographed picture book fiction. With this title she has found a perfect writing partner in Richard Wright. He created all these haikus years ago, so Nina brings each and every one of them to life with the aid of nature and her black boys subjects. Her photography has never been better and her curation of the poems is sublime. If any book of photography had a crack at a Caldecott this year (please see the Calling Caldecott post on this book, if you get a chance) it would be this one.
Sleep Train by Jonathan London, ill. Lauren Eldridge
That old debate: Should I include or not include models when I make up my photography list? I’m not terribly consistent on this point. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do not. But most of the time I do, because I’m a sucker for a well modeled scene and this book contains loads of them. I love the lighting, the set-ups, and the sense of movement throughout. Photography is far more than realistic people in realistic settings. This book proves that.
Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre
Of all the photographers on this list, Sayre is one of the hardest workers. I think there’s a naturally tendency to take beautiful images for granted. Ever since National Geographic got into the children’s book game, we’ve been seeing all kinds books sporting killer shots of nature. What’s ironic is that it’s actually pretty rare to find someone like Sayre. She knows the children’s book world well and is adept with a camera to boot. The book is a celebration of Earth through a lens. A testament to the true advantages of capturing natural beauty for kids.
This Is My Eye: A New York Story by Neela Vaswani
The minute I saw this book I absolutely had to read it. If Sayre is all about nature, and Crews straddles nature and the city, Vaswani goes whole hog on the urban experience. We adults sometimes forget how the world looks through the eyes of a kid. This book manages to capture that feeling. I’ve rarely encountered a book that put me back in the shoes of a nine-year-old so perfectly. Some of the most stunning photographs of the year are right here. Don’t miss it.
Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre
A lot of nonfiction children’s books use photography, but rarely is that photography something to highlight and celebrate. In this book, Sayre and her husband lay before us a true labor of love. Migrating warblers of all kinds are depicted on these pages and the reviews have called it everything from “stunning ” and “impressive” to “skillful” and “beautiful”. They aren’t wrong. This isn’t one to miss.
Interested in the other lists? Here’s the schedule of everything being covered this month. Enjoy!
December 1 – Board Books & Pop-Ups
December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
December 3 – Wordless Picture Books
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Alphabet Books
December 7 – Funny Picture Books
December 8 – CaldeNotts
December 9 – Picture Book Reprints
December 10 – Math Books for Kids
December 11 – Bilingual Books
December 12 – Translated Picture Books
December 13 – Books with a Message
December 14 – Fabulous Photography
December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales
December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year
December 17 – Poetry Books
December 18 – Easy Books
December 19 – Early Chapter Books
December 20 – Comics for Kids
December 21 – Older Funny Books
December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books
December 29 – Fiction Reprints
December 30 – Middle Grade Novels
December 31 – Picture Books
Filed under: 31 Days 31 Lists
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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