children’s books as art

Something you’ll learn about me fairly quickly (as in right now) is that I love children’s books. They speak the truth! (And in such a nice little compact way.)

I think most everyone has a number one favorite children’s book. It’s usually one they liked as a child, and then upon revisit as an adult, found the book says something that still holds value for them.

That book, for me, (hands down, no contest) is Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you if you haven’t read it, but in short, it’s the story of Alice Rumphius. When she was a young girl she told her grandfather that she wanted to grow up and travel to far away places and live by the sea, just like he did. He told her she must also do something to make the world more beautiful.


I love this book so much that I could read it every day. Guess what? I kind of do. When I got my very first adult(ish) apartment a few years ago, one of the first things I did was rip the last few pages out of this book, mat them, and hang them on my wall.

Six years and almost as many apartments later, and I still have those pages hanging on my wall. This time, I hung them by my table. Often while I’m having my morning coffee I stop, reread those last lines of the book, and think about what they mean – make the world more beautiful.

please forgive the poor quality of this photo. i couldn’t capture the beauty of the drawings.

Now, anyone that’s had the pleasure of talking to me in the last few days has had the displeasure of hearing me gripe about the cost of things I’ve bought lately.

(Alright, I’ll admit it: griping about how much stuff costs is something I pretty much do constantly. But, don’t y’all think everything is too expensive? How do people afford things? Am I alone in this? )

When decorating, using children’s books as art is a great way to balance the cost of big purchases and to appease your frugal side. Used children’s books can cost only a couple of dollars, and if you have one that means a lot to you, you will love looking at it everyday. Matting anything makes it look more mature and intentional (in my opinion). Not to mention, so many children’s books have amazing drawings to accompany the stories – Miss Rumphius is a great example.

In case Miss Rumphius doesn’t appeal to you (gasp! How could you?), I thought of some other great children’s books that would look fantastic as art:
1. The Legend of the Bluebonnet, by Tomie dePaola.

2. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

3. Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey.

Do you have a children’s book that still speaks to you as an adult?


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