The 20 Most Beautiful Children’s Books of All Time

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2012. We’ve selected it as one of the posts we’re republishing for our 10th anniversary celebrations in May 2017.

Ever since Chris Van Allsburg’s birthday last month, we’ve been feeling a surge of appreciation for the plethora of beautiful picture books in our lives. In fact, we think some of the loveliest illustrations we’ve ever seen have been in books (or maybe that’s just the association with a great story talking), so we decided to round up a few of the most beautiful children’s books — at least according to us. Keep in mind: we’re going for beauty, not iconic status — so Tenniel’s Alice drawings and a few other iconic, innovative illustrations, while dear to us, don’t make the cut. Leaf through our picks for the most mindblowingly beautiful picture books after the jump, and since we can only draw from our own personal knowledge and tastes, and we know there are scores upon scores of gorgeous children’s books out there (thank goodness), be sure to add any other favorites of yours to our list in the comments!


The Arrival, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan.