In the past few months, drawing has been a refuge for me. Sometimes it is relaxing; doodling flowers or cute animals on notes to family and friends. Other times, I challenge myself to render human figures in a variety of poses. Drawing, or creating visual art in other mediums, as a solitary activity can be a great way to pass the time and express your creativity. When that activity is shared, however, it can generate a connection and a sense of community. For some people, there is nothing like the thrill of collaborating on something innovative with a friend.
In the three children’s books I am looking at today the characters connect to one another through art.
Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat
Although this is a work of fiction, Minh Lê and Dan Santat called on personal experiences from childhood to devise this work about overcoming a language barrier through art. Santat’s detailed artwork in the alternating styles of the grandfather and grandson draws the reader in and holds their attention. The art makes it great for rereading. A close reader will notice new things about the illustrations each time.
(Picture Book, Ages 4-8. Available in the print collection and on Overdrive)
Journey by Aaron Becker
In this wordless picture book, the main character goes on an adventure armed with a red marker. Fans of the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon will recognize the concept of the main character being able to change the world around her with her drawings, but the fantastic settings, beautiful art and exciting plot set this work apart.
(Picture Book, Ages 3 –8. Available in the print collection)
Doodleville by Chad Sell
Young readers may already be familiar with Chad Sell from his earlier work, The Cardboard Kingdom. The story focuses on a young artist named Drew. Drew's drawings, her doodles, come to life and interact with other artworks around her. Drew isn’t sure she needs friends beyond the Doodles, but when the Doodles are threatened, she has to depend on her classmates from the art club. Like The Cardboard Kingdom, this graphic has a rich cast of diverse characters, and seeing the creations of the different members of the art club is one of the most enjoyable parts of a very enjoyable read.
(Graphic Novel, Ages 8 –12, Available in the print collection and on Overdrive)