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  • Writer's pictureCharity Hill

Episode 4: Great Illustrations and Why They Matter

Every experience of beauty points to eternity.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

We hope you enjoyed considering, along with Charity and Amanda, what makes illustrations great, what makes them beautiful. Amanda proposed that it is the detail quality of artwork that draws children, causing them to ponder and enter deeply into consideration. Detailed artwork requires presence, attention, and thoughtfulness. For pre-reading children or early readers, illustrations provide access to depths of affectivity that young children cannot yet access through their own powers of reading and decoding. Charity proposed that realism is important for beautiful illustrations because beauty educates desire, and we need to know that what we long for is possible. Beautiful illustrations can even validate that what the child desires (honesty, friendship, courage, order) is good! So, beautiful illustrations shape desire and motivation as well as affirm the good already nascent in the child. Illustrations matter because, willy nilly, they shape desire, affectivity, motivation, imagination, and the ability to be present

We mentioned these titles in Episode 4: Great Illustrations and Why They Matter. Please consider this booklist a place to begin—or a place to go treasure-hunting.


Mother Goose by Margaret Evans Price

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

S is for Santa by Greg Paprocki

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

The Night Before Christmas by Douglas Gorsline

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Susan Jeffers

Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peak

St. George and the Dragon by Trina Schart Hyman

The Kitchen Knight by Trina Schart Hyman

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Erin Eastead

Treasure Trove:

Any work illustrated by Gennady Spirrin

Any work illustrated by Demi

Any work illustrated by Jerry Pinckney

Any work illustrated by Michael Hague

Who are some of your favorite illustrators? Do you have an illustrator whose work you love...but not all of it? Do you have an experience of a children's books whose illustrations shaped your child' affectivity? What effect did images have on you when you were a child?

Haven't heard it yet? Check out the podcast at the website or on any podcast-listening platform.

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