May 13, 2013

Illustrator Spotlight: Isol

Now that I’ve graduated from a dual-masters degree at Simmons College I have a lot of free time on my hands. I’ve been emailing back and forth with an awesome blogger lately who blogs about picturebook design and she’s inspired me to start writing here again. So naturally I’ve decided to move, reformat, and rename my blog. I've copy-and-pasted the past posts from the other site here and tagged them as best I can so I can finally say...

Welcome to Let’s Talk Picturebooks!

In honor of this grand re-opening, I’ve decided to post something a bit different. Usually I like to pick a theme or concept and discuss a few books that strongly encompass those themes/concepts, but today I want to break from the usual and focus on one illustrator in particular, Isol.

I’ve chosen her because she was recently chosen to win 2013’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The Swedish government awards the £500,000 prize annually to an individual or organization working "in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren [to] safeguard democratic values.” A jury of twelve picked her out of 207 candidates, praising her ability to create picturebooks “from the eye level of the child," and the award will be presented later this month. I’ve long been in love with her illustrations, and I’m so excited to see her earning the praise she deserves.

My personal favorite is Nocturne: Dream Recipes, an anthology of sorts that provides dream “recipes” for its readers just before bed time. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of glow-in-the-dark ink. 

my favorite spread (and the print that appears in the dark is even better)

This is the book that opened my eyes to how amazingly creative Isol is and how she’s very in-tune with the child’s imagination. And her other books are just as interesting and imaginative: It’s Useful To Have a Duck is a double-sided book with two parallel stories about how a duck uses a boy and a boy uses a duck, and Beautiful Griselda is the story of a girl who is so beautiful that her suitors literally lose their heads. Her imagination knows no bounds.

Both sides of the book

Men losing their heads over Griselda

In winning this award is joining a long list of amazing children’s book illustrators and writers in winning this prize, including Shaun Tan, Katherine Paterson, Philip Pullman, and (of course) Maurice Sendak. You can read more about it here and the official announcement (assuming your computer can translate from Swedish to English) is here.

Thanks for tuning in, and I have several more posts ready to go in the upcoming weeks!

Reformattingly yours,


  1. I am excited to read all of your picturebook things!!!!

    1. Thanks, love!! Now that I have so much free time... :)