Illustrator Extraordinaire


Confession: I have absolutely fallen in love with award-winning author/illustrator Melissa Sweet! Believe me, there are some awesome illustrators out there. I just choose to believe Melissa Sweet is one of THE. BEST. I have not yet put my hand on a work of hers that has not taken my breath away. Let me just say, her collage and mixed-media illustrations are amazing. In a nutshell: they make my heart melt! Sweet has been blessed with one-of-a-kind talent. Her work is extremely detailed, intricate, and flawless. It is apparent she puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into making the perfect masterpiece each time. With nearly 100 books illustrated, she is nothing short of a mastermind. I only wish to someday experience her inspiration.

Sweet was at the ALA Conference in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago; I sure wish I could have been in attendance. Something tells me security had much easier work days without having to deal with this cray-cray fan run through the venue trying to be the first in line at her author signing.

I’m sure you aren’t late to the Melissa Sweet party, but just in case you are – or just haven’t had the chance to check them off your to-read list – these are a few of my faves. Check them out at your school or local library. I promise you’ll love them as much as I do.


Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poemsfirefly

Written by Paul B. Janeczko

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Candlewick Press, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-763-64842-8

Format: Non-fiction; poetry

48 Pages ~ Ages 6-9

Awards: Parent’s Choice Gold Award, Publishers Weekly  Best Books, ALA Notable Books for Children, School Library Journal Best Books, et al.

As a Vine newbie, I previewed a few of my favorite illustrations from the book to get a feel for using the app.


The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town

Written by Judy Sierra

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Candlewick Press, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-375-84002-9

Format: Picturebook

40 Pages ~ Ages 2-5

Award: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

It’s bedtime for some busy letters in Alphabet Town, but these little ones put up a fight when its time to call it a night. In her own fashion, Sweet’s collage and watercolor letters bounce around to do everything except close their eyes. What a fun read-aloud for teaching early learners the alphabet!


A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippinred

Written by Jen Bryant

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-96712-2

Format: Picturebook; biography

48 Pages ~ Ages 5-8

Awards: Sibert Honor, NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, Schneider Family Book Award, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books, et al.

“Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead.” There’s no better quote from Horace Pippin that could adequately describe the genuine artwork Sweet created to illustrate his life.


Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Paradeballoons

Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-19945-0

Format: Informational/nonfiction; biography

40 Pages ~ Ages 4-8

Awards: NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, Caldecott Medal, Sibert Medal, Golden Kite Award, ALA Notable Children’s Book

Read my earlier blog about Balloons Over Broadway.


The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurusword

Written by Jen Bryant

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-375-96712-2

Format: Picturebook biography

42 Pages ~ Ages 7-12

Awards: Caldecott Honor, Sibert Medal, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor, New York Times Notable Children’s Book, Junior Library Guild Selection, School Library Journal Best Book, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books, et al.

Here’s my blog post about The Right Word.


A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williamsriver

Written by Jen Bryant

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5302-8

Format: Picturebook; biography

34 Pages ~ Ages 7+

Awards: Caldecott Honor, ALA Notable Children’s Book, NCTE Notable Children’s Book & Orbis Pictus Award, Charlotte Zolotow Honor, New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books, et al.

Head over to Sweet’s website to see more of her brilliant work.

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