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December 14, 2012

Discussion: Books With Illustrations

Today I wanted to talk about books that have illustrations or pictures in them. Do they add to the book? Or do they take away from the imagination?

I personally haven't read too many books with images or drawings in them but the few that I have read, I enjoyed. I think that they bring the book to another level. They let you see more of the story but I know some people like to let the story and characters develop in their minds instead of being told what to imagine.

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourOne book that I thought the images brought a lot to was Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. As these two teens went on their epic road trip there were maps, menus and postcards to accompany the story. I thought this was a very clever way of displaying more of the story. It was like a scrapbook and as I was reading I found myself wanting to try the foods they ate and maybe even other things that were on the menu. So I really enjoyed this but I know it's not for everyone. My friend also read the book and thought that the play lists, postcards and receipts were unnecessary. She just wanted the story in words. So there are definitely two sides to this discussion. A lot of middle grade books come with images so it can be associated with younger audiences but I've seen it grow into the young adult area lately.

Here are a few book with illustrations that have caught my attention:

 It all begins with a stupid question:
Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.
Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.
But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.
This is one of the illustrations Kirsten Hubbard shared on Goodreads:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. Fiction is based on real black and white photographs. The death of grandfather Abe sends sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and explores abandoned bedrooms and hallways. The children may still live.

A Monster CallsThe monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Why We Broke Up

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

Winter Town

 Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off. Can opposites attract? Or does growing up mean having to grow apart?
Told from two perspectives, this funny and honest novel by Stephen Emond (Happyface) is a unique combination of text, comic strips, and art. It's an indie movie in a book, perfect for the inner outcast and lovelorn nerd in us all.

I've read Wintertown and I'm in the middle of Why We Broke Up and I REALLY enjoyed WinterTown. It's quirky and a fast read and the illustrations bring the book to life. The characters are right there, drawn for you. I think illustrations definitely work in favor of the book, but that's my opinion. Now I want to hear your opinions. Do you like books with illustrations? Do you recommend any? Or do you think they take away from the novel itself?


  1. I absolutely love A MONSTER CALLS. Gorgeous book! And the illustrations really are fabulous.

  2. I have WinterTown and I didn't know there were illustrations in it!! (Must get to it soon) How awesome. I really like when books have them. I think that it brings more to a book as long as it's not overdone. I have heard that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is fantastic too with cockroaches crawling on the pages and stuff.

  3. I definitely like illustrations in books- they usually add to the story, such as in Miss Peregrine. The sketches in Wanderlove made me want to draw. (: The Book Thief has one part with sketches and it was one of my favorite parts of the book.