There are tons of cool cultural aspects to living in Boston, but one that we don’t think about too much is more literary than historical. Many of our favorite children’s books were written by authors who live or lived right around the area! Let’s take a look at some of the books that have been born out of the imaginations of local writers.
Margot Apple, Sheep in a Jeep series — lives in Shelburne Falls
Margot Apple is an illustrator who has illustrated over 50 children’s books, including the entire Sheep in a Jeep series written by Nancy E. Shaw. She lives in Shelburne Falls.
Rebecca Bond, The Great Doughnut Parade — lived in JP
The Great Doughnut Parade is a fun story of a boy with a doughnut tied to his belt. He ends up with a whole slew of characters following along behind him down the street, starting with a hen that is hoping to catch a dropped crumb. With fun pictures and a poetic story, this is one that gets read on repeat. The author, Rebecca Bond lived and worked in Boston, until she very recently passed away earlier this summer.
Jan Brett, The Mitten — lives in Norwell
The Mitten is such a classic. A Ukrainian folktale about many little animals taking refuge from the cold and snow inside a lost mitten; this book is all about the illustrations. Jan also has written and illustrated many other stories in a similar style, with highly detailed, beautiful images. Jan Brett lives in Norwell, MA.
Marc Brown, Arthur series — lives in Hingham
The Arthur series is another classic. A wholesome book, featuring a lovable aardvark and his personified animal friends, the original story sparked a series that includes many, many books now, that cover almost any topic imaginable, as well as a TV series, movies, and more. Marc Brown moved to Boston after college, and now lives in Hingham with his family.
Mil Niepold, Oooh! Matisse and Oooh! Picasso series — lives in Belmont
Children’s art appreciation books Oooh! Matisse and Oooh! Picasso are written by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu. The books show close-up illustrations of famous artworks, with descriptions of what they could be that get kids to guess what the images depict. At the end, the full piece of art is shown so readers can view the actual work, and see how the pieces made up the whole. While Jeanyves Verdu lives in Brussels, Belgium, Mil Niepold lives right in Belmont.
Peter Reynolds, The Dot and Happy Dreamer — lives in Dedham
Peter Reynolds is the author and illustrator of multiple children’s books, as well as the owner of a wonderful children’s book and toy store in Dedham, where he also lives, called The Blue Bunny. Books he has written include The Dot and Happy Dreamer among many others. He also is the illustrator of the Judy Moody and Stink series.
Mo Willems, Knufflebunny — lives in Northampton
Mo Willems is an illustrator and author of many children’s books, including Knufflebunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and many, many others including the Elephant & Piggy series. He lives in Northampton.