When I gave my niece a copy of Ballet Shoes for her birthday, I didn't even notice that my friend Alissa (author illustrator of Neil’s Castle) had done the cover! It was a really good cover, too – but I didn’t think to look at the illustrator’s name.
llustrators often get overlooked in this way – and to do my bit to make up for that: The Moonbeam Awards (who knew there were so many small, independent publishers?) were given out for the first time this year – and Alissa -- or rather, a book she illustrated -- won a gold. The book is Our Friendship Rules, by Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif.
I wish middle grade novels had illustrations – not just when the author can also paint and draw like Grace, but when the author can’t do either. Just to give one example, The Bridge to Terabithia, good as it is, owes some of its appeal to Donna Diamond’s charming drawings. They bring Jess to life right away – at least, for me they did.
It’s paradoxical: in picture books, the proportion of pictures to text has really increased in the last 25 years (FAR less text). Storybooks have almost disappeared. And far fewer novels have pictures at all! I can see why picture books have less text (declinging reading levels and all that), but why do novels have fewer pictures? And is it true (I think I heard or read this somewhere) that they may start having more?