Before a child is able to read, they are able to understand and appreciate pictures. From birth, children show an interest in faces, in bright colors, in unfamiliar objects, and in the way all of these things are represented through the illustrations found in books. With so many years before true literacy can begin, children learn to experience the joy of reading through images alone. For this reason, illustrators are just as, if not more, important to the world of children’s literature as authors.
For this project, I have chosen to examine the works of Grace Lin and Arree Chung. Both artists are from a similar background, as children of immigrants from Taiwan and China, and while they share an interest in diversity on the page, their illustrative styles differ significantly. Lin’s story and style come from growing up as the only person of color in a small town, while Chung lived in a diverse area where, while he still felt some discomfort as an “other”, he felt more a part of the local culture. These backgrounds, along with their personal histories, education, and more have created two unique artists who works will be explored in the following pages.