Tag Archives: Books

My Favorite Author – Illustrators

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I listened to an episode of Read Aloud Revival a few weeks ago, and they were highlighting Barbara Cooney, with audio clips from Miss Rumphius as well as interviews with her son and daughter-in-law. It was a fantastic episode, which may or may not have resulted in a few tears on my part.

The other episode I had listened to was regarding the Winter Books for the RAR Premium Members, in which they talked about one of my favorite book series, Little House on the Prairie. BUT! It’s the series that most people are unaware of that I love the most, the My First Little House Book series , illustrated Renee Graef (who will be on premium).

During the episodes they were talking about what author’s or illustrator’s books you should always buy, no questions asked. It got me to thinking about who some of my favorite children’s authors are, and whose books I buy no matter what. These three authors are just that!

Here they are:

  • Jim LaMarche
  • Patricia Polacco
  • Barbara Cooney

I was first introduced to Jim LaMarche when I was a little girl through the book, The Rainbabies, which was one of our favorites. Then I had forgotten it until my daughter was born. The first time I read it through I sobbed.

The Rainbabies by Laura Krauss Melmed, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche

The words are beautiful, the illustrations stunning. Each page is an absolutely glorious work of art! I can only imagine how much time LaMarche spent on these pictures.

It was soon after that I started searching out books by LaMarche and we came across such treasures as, Winter is Coming, Pond, The Raft, The Carpenter’s Gift, and The Little Fir Tree. These are some of the most exquisite books ever, for boys and girls. He has such a focus on nature and such attention to the most minute details.

Raft by Jim LaMarche

If the stories of struggle and the strength of family and friends speak to you look no further than Patricia Polacco. I did one of my Master’s projects on her and her works.

The first book of her’s I read was Fiona’s Lace (I believe it was on a RAR March booklist). It’s the story of a family’s struggle immigrating from Ireland to America and how things were not what they had expected.

Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco

After that one, we started stumbling upon her books constantly. We now have several of them, but still nowhere near ALL of them. The illustrations in them are not at all “art” the way I think of LaMarche and Cooney’s illustrations, but I love them.

The stories are real and heartfelt. You can tell that they are stories of life and experiences, not just made up “fancy”. I think that is what I love most about Patricia Polacco’s books, that they are the tellings of things that have actually happened.

If you ever have the chance to watch her Author Access on Read Aloud Revival I HIGHLY recommend it. She’s an incredible woman, with a unique story and past.

The Memory Quilt by Patricia Polacco

Barbara Cooney was another author/illustrator that I came to later in life. Avelyn had received a copy of Miss Rumphius as a gift for her first or second birthday, and I loved pouring over the illustrations and the words.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

(If you’re picking up on a trend here…that I am the one that falls in love with these books before my kids ever do…you’re right!)

Over time we started to collect a few more of her books, trying to find the ones that she wrote as well as illustrated. Then there was one book, Basket Moon, that tore my heart out. If you haven’t read it, go right now, find it, and read it.

Basket Moon by Mary Lyn Ray, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

When I stumbled upon Ox-Cart Man, I realized I HAD seen Barbara Cooney as a child. Again, she is a storyteller who revels in sharing the every detail of a scene. You can just sit and look at the pictures, always seeing something new.

Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

While these are a smattering of my favorite author/illustrators, they are certainly not the only ones. They are, however, a few of the lesser known illustrators.

Another favorite of mine is Jan Brett, whom almost everyone is familiar with. A local art museum is doing an exhibit of her works in April and I canNOT wait to take the kids!

What are some of the picture books, authors, and illustrators that you recommend to others? What about them makes them favorites?

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2020

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(F – Fiction, NF – Non-Fiction, A – Audiobook)


It’s a tie between The Printed Letter Bookshop and The War that Saved My Life/The War I Finally Won. They both appeased very different parts of me.

The Printed Letter Bookshop I thoroughly enjoyed for it’s realism, the complexity of life and all the relationships we become a part of, willingly and unwillingly. You can read my full review on instagram.

Brubaker Bradley’s books were a different read entirely for me; they’re Historical Fiction, as well as written for middle grades. The author did not allow the fact that these books were written for middle grade detract from the story being told or it’s raw truth and emotion.

She embraced it whole-heartedly and through it created an absolutely astounding cast of characters. Opening the harsh realities of life to younger readers, without the desolation and loss of hope that can come from it.


Not many choices, but even if there were I would still endorse The Read-Aloud Family 100%! Reading is important to me, raising a family of readers is important to me, and while that isn’t completely under my control I can do my best to give my children the environment and resources they need to LOVE reading.

Mackenzie’s book does a fantastic job of not only giving you the books you need to light your children’s reading fire, but also the information as to HOW to do it and WHY it’s so important.


Last Christmas in Paris. I don’t know why. This should’ve been a book that I LOVED, but I didn’t. It was a collection of letters, which is fine, BUT I was more than halfway through the book before the author made me CARE about the characters.

Maybe if I had been in a different head-space I would’ve liked it better. The story overall was one that I loved, but the writing left me wanting.

What have you been reading?

Keep up with what I’ve been reading on GoodReads or Instagram