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What's on my bookshelf?

Eugenia's favorite ever-growing collection of children's books

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Eugenia's Illustration Inspiration

You know those books that just make you speechless because they are so beautiful? 

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Jane, the Fox & Me 
Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault
Age 10-14, Groundwood Books, 2012

I got this book for my eighteenth birthday and I found it so precious I allowed myself to read a single page per day. Arsenault is undoubtly the master of graphite figure drawings and gauche plants. Jane, The Fox & Me, a beautifully drawn graphic novelesque picture book, follows the story of a bookish girl, her tired mother, and a magical encounter with a wide-eyed fox.

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Pokko And The Drum
Matthew Forsythe
Age 4-8, Simon and Schuster, 2019

This is one of my fellow illustrator friend's favorite picture books. During my read, I was dazzled by Forsythe's textured forests, vibrating bedsheet patterns, and unapologetic sense of humor. We follow Pokko, a small frog from a humble mushroom home into the forest, where she encounters a parade full of music-appreciating animals. 

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Carson Ellis
Age 4-8, Candlewick Press, 2015

Would this collection be complete without a book from THE Carson Ellis? I love Home for the iconic Carson Ellis color palette, beautiful gauche paintings, and that old-fashiony handwrittingish font. Ellis explores what a home could be, depending who you are. I love the spread with a Japanese businessman and the Norse god standing right next to their very different houses.

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When You Look Up
Age 5 and up, Enchanted Lion Books, 2020

When I first found this book, I held it in my hand for at least thirty minutes, deciding whether or not I should purchase it. I love the softly textured grass, Lorenzo's bright blue glasses, and the little yellow-paged collaged stories sandwiched inside the greater narrative. Apart from being visually stunning, the story is also compelling and sweet.


Kelly DuPucchio and Christian Robinson
Age 4-8, Simon and Schuster, 2014

This book was gifted to me by a friend after we went to a bookshop and I mentioned adoring the little white prickly-eared canine. Christian Robinson is an amazing illustrator, and the story is simply delightful. Something about the little hair balls sitting on top of Gaston's sibling's tiny poodle heads warmed my heart.

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The Starry Starry Night
Jimmy Liao
Age 7 and up, Locus Publishing, 2009

You have no idea how much influence Jimmy Liao had on my art style growing up. Jimmy is a well-known Taiwanese author-illustrator who is amazing at combining children and animals into imaginative scenes. Despite not being able to read Mandarin, I fell in love with this beautifully painted love story between two classmates.

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Time Is A Flower
Julie Morstad
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

When I stumbled upon Julie's Morstad's newest picture book at the library, I didn't even check it out– I just went home and bought it. I've never seen such a wonderfully clear depiction of time. I adore non-narrative books dealing with abstract concepts, and Time Is A Flower is a perfect example of this. Time is a butterfly that used to be a caterpillar, a fleeting sunset, and long hair.

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Just Because
Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault
Age 3-7, Candlewick Press, 2017

Another Isabelle Arsenault book? I found this delight in Subterrnean Books, a bookstore located on the street of my college town. This is one of the books I bought without second thought– the clear structure and breathtaking illustrations made the purchase a no brainer. The ending physically made my heart explode into little fuzzy clouds.

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The Wolf, The Duck, and The Mouse
Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Age 3-7, Candlewick Press, 2019

Though this is a delightful book, it isn't my favorite favorite Klassen book- just the first one I've ever owned. I am planning to slowly accumulate more over time. Like all of Klassen's work, I love this book for the humor, the textured illustrations, and the enduring characters. The serif font is also a clever design choice, making the book feel quite traditional.

Eugenia's Childhood Nostalgia Corner

You know how sometimes you might stumble upon a book you read as a child and a little bit of your heart just swells? 

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A Color of His Own
Leo Lionni
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

I recently found a board book version of A Color of His Own this summer while visiting Strand's Bookstore in New York. I let out an audible gasp, giving my friend mild concern. I haven't thought about this book in ages. Rereading it now, nearly a decade and a half later, it is just as good as I remembered it. If someone proposes with me with this book, I might say yes.

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Wemberly Worried
Kevin Henkes
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

One of my favorite children's book authors growing up was Kevin Henkes who knew how to create the most relatable characters in mouse form. I was Wemberly, constantly worried about things that don't need worrying about. I still am Wemberly. My goodness Wemberly spoke to me in a way no other character has.

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The Year of the Dog
Grace Lin
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

This selection also includes Dumpling Days and The Year of the Rat. I remember being so visibly disappointed there wasn't year of the pig, the tiger or the horse. I wanted more. Being a young Taiwanese reluctant reader, I was so shocked that the main character of a book ate pocky the same way I did and also mistaken Taiwanese garbage trucks for ice cream trucks.

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Roller Coaster
Maria Frazee
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

This was one of the three books at my grandmother's house growing up. I remember my brother and I reading this over and over again. (I think it later inspired his roller coaster phase, where he drew an entire amusement park map from memory). I love how this story shows different perspectives of a singular experience. Everything from illustration to text is so fun.


Strega Nona
Tomie dePaola
Age 4-8, Prentice Hall, 1975

I'm not sure how to begin describing this book. Strega Nona is my hero. This is one of those books I think about time and time again– "what is the name of the book about the old lady with the magic spaghetti pot?" and I could never remember, until one day I must have saw it somewhere and I felt so pleased.

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The Little Prince
Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

The Little Prince is my favorite book to this very day.  I remembered reading it in elementary school and marveling at the delightful little illustrations sprinkled throughout. I'm not sure what makes this my favorite book– perhaps it is the message, the art, or just the feeling I get just reading it.

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Where Is the Green Sheep?
Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

The Green Sheep has played an important role in my childhood development. This is one of the other three books at my grandmother's house that we would read over and over again. The plot was quite simple: throughout the book, we see all kinds of sheep, but do not know the green sheep's whereabouts. Something about their joyous sheep faces make me so happy.

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Knuffle Bunny
Mo Willems
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

I think for a while, when people ask me what my favorite children's book is, I said Mo Willem's Knuffle Bunny. When the librarian first read it to us during story time, I was so taken aback by the how Willems combined drawn character with a photographic background. I didn't know that was allowed- it boggled my mind.


Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
Age 4-8, Tundra, 2021

I have to put at least one Roald Dahl book in the mix, and it might as well be The BFG. This was the first book I've ever read of Roald Dahl's and to be honest, it terrified me. But I couldn't stop reading, entirely absorbed by this little orphan girl, jars of dreams, and their quest to entrap a couple of big, hairy bullies.

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