10 Best Illustrated Children's Books 2017!

By Lynn Ann Lobash, Associate Director, Readers Services and Engagement
November 3, 2017

Today, the New York Times Book Review published their annual 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017.  This is the 65th year this award has been given and for the first time the award was given jointly by The New York Public Library and The Times. We couldn’t be more excited about this collaboration or more proud of this list of gorgeous picture books. 

This list is special because these book are chosen as the year's standouts in terms of artistic merit. Good work Illustrators. You are so talented! This art fills the eyes and minds of our littlest ones, giving them another reason to love books! Cause to celebrate. 

The 2017 winners are:


Feather. Written and illustrated by Rémi Courgeon

A beautiful book about a tenacious girl in a male household that delivers a message of acceptance, equality, and love.

Illustrations: Expressive, rendered in retro color pallette. 

Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos

Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos. Written by Monica Brown. Illustrated by John Parra

Brown's story of the artist recounts Frida's beloved pets—two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn—and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.

Illustrations: Folk-art style evoking Mexican heritage.

King of the Sky

King of the Sky. Written by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Laura Carlin

When a young boy moves from his home in Italy to Wales, the only thing that cheers him up are the racing pigeons that Mr. Evans keeps in a loft behind his house.

Illustrations: Delicate, detailed, mixed-media.


Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Written by Michael Mahin. Illustrated by Evan Turk

A picture book celebration of the indomitable Muddy Waters, a blues musician whose fierce and electric sound laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll.

Illustrations: Folkart style,  textured.

On a Magical Do-nothing Day

On a Magical, Do-Nothing Day. Written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna

Sent outside on a rainy day by a mom who tries to pry him away from his video games, a little boy is dismayed when his handheld game falls into the pond before encounters with giant snails, wet mushrooms and other elements awaken him to the sensory aspects of nature.

Illustrations: Fanciful, inventive.


Plume. Written and illustrated by Isabelle Simler

Introduces a wide variety of birds, their feathers, and Plume, the cat that is stalking them.

Illustrations: Detailed, realistic.

A River

A River.Written and illustrated by Marc Martin

There is a river outside my window. Where will it take me? So begins an imaginary journey from the city to the sea. 

Illustrations: Lavish!

The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality. Written by Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst

Offers an illustrated introduction to the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that explores the ways that the society in which she grew up was unfair toward women, Jews, and other groups, and how she spent her life working to fight that unfairness.

Illustrations: Muted in tones of cream, pale pink, black, gray, and brown.

Town is by the sea

Town Is by the Sea.Written by Joanne Schwartz. Illustrated by Sydney Smith

Throughout his day, a young boy thinks of his father who is working in the coal mine that is located underneath the ocean.

lllustrations: Muted, contrasting, and rendered in watercolor.

The Way Home at Night

The Way Home in the Night.Written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi

A small rabbit notices the sights and sounds of his city neighborhood as he is carried home to bed by his parents.

Illustrations: Textured charcoal and gouache paintings.

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!