Top 10 illustrated children’s novels that open the door for reluctant readers

Abril 12, 2016 às 12:00 pm | Publicado em Livros | Deixe um comentário
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Texto do http://www.theguardian.com de 31 de março de 2016.

Emily Gravett

From Flat Stanley to Lemony Snicket, Phil Earle picks the books that tell stories through words AND pictures

Phil Earle will be appearing at the amazing Just So festival in August: see a preview of the festival

Illustrated books and graphic novels were my way in.

Without them, I’d never have read a thing, never written a word.

They took away the fear and opened my eyes to the adventures that were out there, waiting.

Now I talk about reading in schools every week, and still occasionally meet head teachers who ban their students from reading anything illustrated during their library lessons, as it doesn’t constitute “proper reading”.

It makes me want to scream, to see the door slammed in the faces of those who approach books reluctantly. Because from my experience, once that door is closed on you, it’s bloomin’ hard to push it open again.

So here, based on my limited reading experiences, are 10 illustrated books that mean a lot to me.

Ten illustrated books, that will blow the hinges clean off the door and let readers walk back in.

  1. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown and illustrated originally by Tomi Ungerer

The only way to begin a list of top illustrated books. This book is many kinds of excellent. The only book where a boy, squashed flat by his brother’s noticeboard, is folded inside an envelope with a sandwich and a carton of juice, and posted on holiday to America.

The PERFECT marriage of words and pictures.

  1. Batman – A Death in The Family by Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman and George Perez

I owe a great deal to the Caped Crusader, and I read this dozens of times as a teen. It sets itself up as your classic Batman v Joker smackdown, but in the middle, manages to kill off one of the most famous characters in the DC universe. Anything I learnt about loss and grief, I learnt from this book.

  1. The Donut Diaries by Anthony McGowan and illustrated by David Tazzyman

Jeff Kinney motivated millions of young people around the world to read and that’s a magnificent thing. But for me, the overweight hero of The Donut Diaries, Dermot Mulligan, runs (jam) rings around Greg Heffley.

There are three volumes in this ridiculous, hilarious series, each one brought to life by the scratchy pen of David Tazzyman. Look out for the evil Dr Morlock, who meticulously and fearlessly examines Dermot’s poos.

  1. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black

One of the most imaginative and gripping fantasy series out there.

Tony Diterlizzi is a genius. The detail in his illustrations blow me away every time I read them. The dastardly Mulgarath is a favourite. (See also his Wondla Trilogy for older readers).

  1. The Imaginary by AF Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett

What happens to imaginary friends once a child grows too old for them? This is the starting point for one of my favourite books. Packed full of heart, but also deeply disturbing and eccentric, it’s a wonderful collaboration. I’m not sure words and pictures have ever fitted together quite so seamlessly.

  1. Tamsin and the Deep By Neill Cameron and Kate Brown

When Tamsin, a young bodyboarder, is sucked under the sea by a massive wave, she manages to enrage the sea gods by accidentally stealing a magic staff. As close to the perfect graphic novel as you can get. I’d have killed for this aged 10. How you tell such an incredible story with so few words is beyond me.

  1. The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean

David Almond is a genius. I believe this has been verified by scientists (and readers) all over the world.

He’s also an artist. When I read his novels it’s like they’ve been carved out of stone.

One of my favourites is The Savage, his collaboration with McKean, whose unsettling and unapologetically scary illustrations make David’s words sing even louder. A short book, but packed with power.

  1. Zom-B by Darren Shan and illustrated by Warren Pleece

Darren Shan is the master of horror and it’s a genre that interested me as a teenager. Although brilliant, I struggled with the length of books by Stephen King and James Herbert. I wish Darren had been writing then, especially his Zom-B books, which is far more than just a genre series.

The way he plays with gender and racism is incredibly skillful, and Warren Pleece’s’s illustrations give the book an added, graphic novel feel.

  1. Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton

It makes me feel a bit ill that there are people as talented as Dave, able to tell such brilliant stories through words AND pictures. I’m a sucker for a crime novel these days, and this comic book is the PERFECT introduction.

Funny, silly, but with a plot to die for, this book has some of the greatest puns ever put on the page. Please do seek it out.

  1. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Brett Helquist

Never has a book about misery, despair and unhappiness made a grown man jump for joy as much as this. What I loved about volume I, was the way it ignored every rule there was.

AND it was visually delicious.

Helquist’s illustrations truly looked like they’d been found in an aged secret journal. Never has a book about death been filled with more life.

 

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