Like most young adults (although I think I left that bracket when I took my first Sambuca shot in university) in the UK, I grew up on books that were illustrated by Nick Sharratt and Quentin Blake.
Out of every book that I read when I was a pre-teen the ones that I look back on most fondly are Jacqueline Wilson and Roald Dahl’s books. (Of course there are others, but these are the ones that truly stand out).
Why their books?
Sure, they’re funny and yeah, OK, they covered issues that hardly any books in their genre did. Parents with mental illness. Children in foster care. Parents who were in the midst of a divorce. Tricky sibling relationships.
But what else?
What else attracted me to these books?
I’ll show you.
Four little words: Illustrated by Quentin Blake.
And, of course…
I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover… but when they look that good, it’s difficult not to.
And if that didn’t answer all your questions, then you’re probably not going to enjoy my next weeklong feature. Because this next week on Wear the Old Coat is dedicated to solely tipping my blogging
bonnet hat to the illustrators of our favourite books.
Illustrators: the people who take the words the authors create and make them more magical.
I know regular readers of this blog or people who know me on Goodreads or random strangers who have found themselves sat next to me in Piccadilly station waiting for a train that is always late, will know the extent of my love illustrated books and my love for graphic novels.
And over the past year I have read some absolutely fantastic illustrated and graphic YA novels and I have accumulated a list of books that have been recommended to me.
So I thought why don’t I just do a feature on it?
The books I’m going to read are a drop in the proverbial pond of the amazing artistic talent that is available on the YA scene, but because I’m only giving myself a week, I’ve tried to choose a selection of older stories who are still wowing readers and new books that are just beginning to make waves on the YA scene.
The list are as follows.
- Blankets written and illustrated by Craig Thompson. (My Review)
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfield illustrated by KeithThompson. (My Review)
- Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver, illustrated by Kei Acedera (My Review)
- Friends with Boys written and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks. (My Review)
I will also be doing a Jo-style feature (so basically a lot of italics, bold and CAPS… you know the drill) on my favourite British illustrators and picture books from my childhood.
And, then on Saturday I have the most exciting interview ever and I just can’t wait to share it with you all.
I know you’re not supposed to blow your own trumpet but whatever trumpets are supposed to be blown, are they not?
Seriously, I’m so excited about this one and I’ve been keeping it a secret for about TEN YEARS (or you know… a month) and I’ve been dying to tell everyone about it because honestly, it’s possibly one of the most interesting things I’ve had on my blog.
And I know you’re like… “Um, Jo… that doesn’t say much.”
But it’s seriously amazing.
But I’m a
stalker completely sane fangirl of the person in question so you might not share my high levels of enthusiasm.
But it’s really brilliant and I know you’ll find what they have to say completely fascinating.
I can keep the secret just a liiiiittle bit longer.
[Updated: Read my interview with Jim Kay, illustrator of the spectacular A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness]
So please hang around for the next week because
there’ll be lots of pictures in my postsI’m sure we’ll have lots of fun.
Oh and if you have any must read illustrated books, please post them in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ones to add to my to-read list.