Give masterful, self-published children’s literature authors the credit they rightfully deserve by checking out my list of the top 8 picture books by independent creators!
Why Buy Self-Published Kids’ Books???
We all know the importance of buying farm-fresh veggies and supporting local retail stores, but supporting independent artists is still a bit outside the mainstream. After all, we think, if a movie/production/book is really good and really worth our money, it would be in the cinema or on Broadway or in Barnes & Noble!
But, you know what? That’s not always the case. Just as with many Hollywood actors these days (especially on the CW…), it seems to matter more what you look like and who you know than whether or not you have any real talent as an artist.
Getting a book published can be like a spin of the roulette wheel. Sometimes it all works out magically, sometimes you just lose your bucks and your spirit.
Well, there are plenty of children’s book authors out there who either never let their spirit break or never even attempted a spin of the wheel. Instead, they published their books themselves!
Even though they might not have the power of Houghton-Mifflin or Doubleday or Scribner or anybody behind them, these books succeed in the most important ways: they’re wonderfully inventive, beautiful to look at, clever in their storytelling and even educational in their messages.
If you’re looking to grab a few new books for your little geeks, think about supporting independent artists (just as you do independent book stores and local food-growers) with a self-published children’s picture book from this list!
Top 8 Independent Kids’ Picture Books
8. Sasquatch for Dinner by Ronald J. Robledo,Victoria Robledo and Ryan Magno
We’ve all dreamed of one day meeting our favorite urban legend monster in person, haven’t we? (Hey, I’m still dreaming!) Well, in this really beautiful, self-published picture book, Jimmy finds out he’s going to be having dinner with the Sasquatch!
The only problem? Everybody in town wants to join him and his mother and their honored guest, which may be enough to either scare the friendly monster away forever or get Jimmy in big, big trouble with his mom. Or will it…?
7. Guess What is at the Zoo? by Nancy O’Neill
This one’s extra special. All the “Guess What?” books are actually illustrated by kids around the world. This one, as you’ve probably guessed, is all about guessing what might be at the zoo. It’s a really fun read for young geeks and a really cool cause to champion by laying down a few bucks for a copy.
And if your little geek is interested in participating in the next book in the series, check out the Guess What Books website to see how you can submit their original artwork!
6. I Am Not Afraid of Monsters! by Sharlene Alexander
Sharlene Alexander’s awesome kids’ book operates on a number of levels.
First, it features gorgeous artwork reminiscent of your favorite Pixar “Monsters”.
Second, it helps your littlest geeks overcome their fears of boogeymen in closets and creep-crawlies under the bed.
Third, it rhymes.
Boom! I don’t think you need much more incentive than that.
5. Jocomo by Timothy Cohorst
Another multi-layered self-published book, Jocomo tells the tale of our lovable titular hero as he journeys far and wide to learn his place in the world and teach the kingdom a little somethin’-somethin’ about good cheer.
This book is suggested for intermediate to advanced children readers, so be sure your little guy or gal has at least a bit of experience beforehand. But it will definitely push them (gently, entertainingly) towards expanding their reading talents.
Also included with your purchase is a printable coloring book and a glossary of words that may be new to your young reader.
4. Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson, Sal Hunter and Noah Child
This on just barely makes the cut on the list because it’s not officially a picture book, though it does contain awesome original artwork by the creators.
But it’s so much fun and full of awesome adventure that I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it on the list’s cutting room floor.
Suggested for readers aged 9-12.
3. Frank the Gentle Viking by Lucy Elliott
The brief summary makes Frank the Gentle Viking sound like another version of How to Train Your Dragon, but this is a wonderfully original book filled with beautiful watercolor art and a touching story of a kid who learns to fit in with the help of a special, fire-breathing friend.
It’s less than a year old, this book, but it’s already swiftly becoming a favorite among the little ones in my family!
2. The Things That Live in Your House: A Horror Rhyme for the Inquisitive Mind by Jason L. Witter
Written and drawn by author/playwright/all-around-storytelling-genius Jason L. Witter, The Things That Live in Your House is at once both hilarious and horrifying (in a good way!).
Told through a combination of wonderfully fun rhyming verse and simple-yet-gorgeous graphite-and-white pencil drawings, this beautifully scary little book will charm the dickens out of your little geeks.
The author has suggested that it may be a wee too scary for real small kids, but I think it’s just about perfect for everyone.
1. The Monster That Ate My Socks by A.J. Cosmo
Ever wonder where your missing socks go? Well, wonder no more! A.J. Cosmo has the answer for you in this hilarious and cute self-published kids’ book.
With over 300 5-star reviews on Amazon, The Monster That Ate My Socks is taking off like a rocket and you and your little geeks ought to spend the measly $1.25 to go along for the ride!
Do you have a favorite independent, self-published kids’ book you like to read with your little geeks? Tell me about it down below and let’s get these artists the recognition they really deserve!