The best picture books that you will enjoy more as an adult than as a child

Who am I?

I have been a professional illustrator for 20 years. In all this time I have gathered a vast collection of picture books, animated movie artbooks, children's books... I use them as a source of inspiration for my work, but I really collect them because they are my treasure. I don't just look for books with beautiful illustrations, but that really give me something, that make me think, or that stay in my memory. They are timeless books, that are not aimed at any age, that anyone can enjoy, but that at the same time have deep meaning if you know how to look at them. Not all picture books are just for kids.


I illustrated...

A Wolf Called Wander

By Rosanne Parry, Mónica Armiño (illustrator),

Book cover of A Wolf Called Wander

What is my book about?

I had the pleasure of illustrating Rosanne Parry's wonderful story, based on real facts, about a wolf trying to find his place. It´s a feeling that many of us can identify with. The search for one's own path is not exclusive to young people, as adults we sometimes feel lost. That's why I think it's so easy to feel reflected in that wolf that wanders until it finds its new home. I think our book is also related to the list that I have chosen, although it is not a picture book as such, it is profusely illustrated and many adults have written to tell me that they have enjoyed it as much or more than their children when they have read it together.

The books I picked & why

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The Red Tree

By Shaun Tan,

Book cover of The Red Tree

Why this book?

I bought The Red Tree many years ago because I thought its cover was so beautiful. I didn't even know its author, but from then on he became one of my favorite illustrators. And even today, I can say that The Red Tree is my favorite book of all time. It may seem it's about sadness or depression, but I prefer to think that it's the book that best defines hope. It is a book that I usually give to my friends when they are having a hard time. Because in the end, it is about this: we cannot avoid sadness, gray days, or feeling miserable, but we can look within ourselves for our little red tree and take care of it so that it grows strong and protects us.

The Red Tree

By Shaun Tan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Awakening one day to a dark and somber mood, a little girl faces a day where everything goes very badly, and seeks hope amid her sadness.


Through a Life

By Tom Haugomat,

Book cover of Through a Life

Why this book?

Through a Life is a book that won me over for its intelligence. The premise may not be new, since it presents the life of a man from his birth to his death. But the way it is presented is absolutely original: on the left page appears a specific fact of the protagonist's life and on the right appears what the protagonist sees at that moment. Or maybe it's what he remembers because that's what life is, what we build through our memories. The concise graphics and very intelligent use of color fascinate me, and I think they make it a marvel of graphic design. A beautiful and painful book at the same time, which leaves you thinking for hours.

Through a Life

By Tom Haugomat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through a Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rodney spends his life looking through. Windows give way to screens as he comes to age dreaming of what lies beyond Earth's atmosphere... This powerfully silent graphic novel by Tom Haugomat follows the saga of a boy who grows up to be an astronaut, just like he always wanted...until a fatal shuttle crash upends his life, and he begins to find solace in beauty here on earth. Told through a series of poignant vignettes, Through is a sweeping story of dreams, expectations, nature, and loss.


Promenade

By Jungho Lee,

Book cover of Promenade

Why this book?

Promenade is a gift for anyone who, like me, loves books. What I like most is the concept itself: a tribute to books, to what they make us feel. They can be the vehicle of a great journey, a refuge, or the door to a new world. The dreamlike and surreal illustrations are so evocative that they do not need accompanying text. Another concept that seems very interesting to me is that, in addition to presenting the book as a magical object, it also makes it an object of great value: it is a large-format book, with a very careful edition and a print that extols the beautiful illustrations. These are details that I love because they make it a perfect book gift. 

Promenade

By Jungho Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Promenade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


I Talk Like a River

By Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith (illustrator),

Book cover of I Talk Like a River

Why this book?

When my oldest son was little, he was so nervous that he began to stutter. I thought it would be a problem for him, but luckily it was just a phase. That is why the theme of the book, in which the author recalls his childhood as a stuttering child, caught my attention. Regardless of the problem, I think we can all identify with that child who feels vulnerable, who fights against himself, and who accepts himself. We have all felt this way in childhood. And now as adults, we can identify with that father, who serenely accompanies and supports his son. The illustrations are beautiful, they are fresh, expressive, and perfectly reflect the feelings of the protagonist.

I Talk Like a River

By Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked I Talk Like a River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner

 
What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to?
 
Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.

A New York Times Best Children's Book of the Year

I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me.

And I can't say them all . . .

When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he'd…


The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

By Charlie Mackesy,

Book cover of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Why this book?

I bought this book after seeing it recommended many times in a children's literature group, assuring that it was a perfect book for any age, and it certainly is. As a child, I think there are invaluable lessons to be learned from it. Having discovered it as an adult has seemed very interesting to me because, despite the fact that it has some common places, many other phrases are surprising. What I liked the most is that it forces you to stop and think about what is really important, something that sometimes we forget with the frenetic life that we lead as adults. And I can't help but mention the wonderful and expressive illustrations, done mostly in ink. They are a real delicacy.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

By Charlie Mackesy,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A book for all ages, a book for all time.
Adapted into a short animated film, coming this Christmas.

Enter the world of Charlie's four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared millions of times online. They've also been recreated by children in schools and hung on hospital walls. They sometimes even appear on lamp posts and on cafe and bookshop windows. Here, you will find them together in this book of Charlie's most-loved drawings, adventuring into the Wild and exploring the thoughts and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in life satisfaction, astronauts, and surrealism?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, astronauts, and surrealism.

Life Satisfaction Explore 133 books about life satisfaction
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Surrealism Explore 78 books about surrealism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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