CWILL presents: Outstanding Innovative Works in Children’s Literature

What makes an innovative children’s book?

It’s an interesting question and one that CWILL authors and illustrators discussed at their seasonal meeting at Christianne’s Lyceum in Vancouver.

Each member brought in books that they felt have helped spark new fires in the field of children’s literature. Works ranged from picture books with three words (Moo!) to picture books with no pictures (The Book With No Pictures). We also discussed books that had interactive elements, some with links to multimedia on the web (Walking Home) and others with low-tech (but decidedly just as cool) elements such as illustrations that have a hidden glow-in-the-dark element once the lights go out (Nocturne). Some books presented were innovative in their storytelling. Some were older and now considered classics, and some were hot off the press.

Having the meeting at the Lyceum was a bonus, as it meant we had access to all sorts of books in the facility’s library—more than once our host, Christianne, came dashing up the stairs with a book that someone had referenced.

It was a fantastic night and fuelled much discussion—most of it, I’m pleased to say, wasn’t too heated.

A complete list of the innovative books chosen by CWILL authors and illustrators is presented below (in no particular order):

Bailey, Linda. When Santa Was a Baby. Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout. Tundra, 2015.

DiCamillo, Kate. Flora and Ulysses. Illustrated by K. G. Campbell. Candlewick, 2013.

Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-ever Stories. Boyd’s Mill, 2015.

Gaiman, Neil. Fortunately, the Milk. Illustrated by Scott Young (and, in Britain, by Chris Riddell). Harper Collins,  2013.

Isol. Nocturne: Dream Recipes. Groundwood, 2012.

Klassen, Jon. This is Not My Hat. Candlewicj, 2012.

Koudray, Philippe. Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas. Toon Books, 2013.

La Rochelle, David. Moo! illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Walker Books, 2013.

Levitt, Joseph Gordon (& Hit Record). The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. Dey Street Books, 2011.

Novak, B. J. The Book with No Pictures. Dial, 2014.

Paleja, Shaker. Power Up!: A Visual Exploration of Energy. Illustrated by Glenda Tse. Annick, 2015.

Pichon, Liz. Tom Gates: Everything’s Amazing (Sort Of). Scholastic, 2012.

Raschka, Chris. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. Scholastic, 2004 (orig. published 1992).

Selznick, Brian. The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Scholastic, 20017.

Walters, Eric. Walking Home. Doubleday, Canada, 2014.

Flett, Julie. We All Count. Garfinkel, Canada, 2014.


About Lee Edward Fodi

I'm a children's author, illustrator, and educator—or, as I like to think of myself, a daydreaming expert. When I'm not daydreaming myself, I teach kids how to do it. Yes, they might seem pretty good at it already, but in my experience, most of them haven't learned yet how to put it to good use. I'm the creator of the Kendra Kandlestar series and have illustrated books for other authors.
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One Response to CWILL presents: Outstanding Innovative Works in Children’s Literature

  1. KarenAutio says:

    What an excellent topic for a CWILL discussion. I wasn’t able to attend, but would like to add the following outstanding innovative children’s/YA books:
    Busy Baby: Friends and Busy Baby: Trucks by Sara Gillingham (Chronicle Books, 2015) for their interactive feature (spinning face with different expressions)
    and The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (Penguin Canada, 2014) for its storytelling style and mood-setting black-edged pages!

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