The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list

Cover of Christian Robinson's AnotherIt's November, which means the annual announcement of the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books list. At the end of October/beginning of November every year, I wake up each morning, wondering if today will be the day they make the announcement. (I know, I know. But if you are a fellow picture book nerd, you know this feeling.) This year's list was announced on Friday. You can head here to read about the winners, see a bit of art, and see a slideshow of the illustrators at work. It's always exciting to see their choices, and because the judging allows for the inclusion of international picture books, unlike the Caldecott, it's always a bit of a wild-card list.

As it turns out, this year's list — determined by judges Bruce Handy, Jessica Cline, and Jillian Tamaki — is dominated by international illustrators. Here are the books on the 2019 list: 

Small in the City, written and illustrated by Sydney Smith (also recently awarded a Governor's General Literary Award in Canada)

Another, written and illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Lost Cousins, written and illustrated by B.B. Cronin

A Million Dots, written and illustrated by Sven Volker

Just Because, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Child of Glass, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna

The Farmer, written and illustrated by Ximo Abadia

The Boring Book, written and illustrated by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Monkey on the Run, written and illustrated by Leo Timmers

I Miss My Grandpa, written and illustrated by Jin Xiaojing

Can you spot the books that are eligible for the Caldecott? Christian Robinson's Another is; we have already covered it here at Calling Caldecott this year, and I loooove that Jessica Cline describes it as a "science fiction picture book classic." Both B.B. Cronin and Jin Xiaojing, though born in other countries (Ireland and China, respectively), live in New York City and should be eligible. Otherwise, we've got illustrators from Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Belgium. 

Notice, too, how all of the books were written and illustrated by one person — with the exception of one (Just Because). 

What do you think of this year's winners? 


Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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