Kid-lit tattoos are a Thing. I know, I have one. The Caldecott 2015 Committee has several tattoo stories. It is not unusual to spot a picture-book tattoo at ALA conferences. Last year in Orlando, at least 3 people at my table had tattoos from books, including this one from Miss Mary Daisycakes. So, I started thinking about what might be the most tattooable books of 2016. I have my own favs, but I also thought I would ask the experts (aka, the other members of the 2015 Caldecott Committee who got tattoos).
Roger Kelly chose the little monkey from The Airport Book by Lisa Brown, Roaring Brook Press. I can definitely see this charismatic character as a tattoo, and I can see why Roger chose it. Besides being cute, this little monkey serves to move the story forward in a visual manner. Monkey provides tension and story, relevant to a young reader, in a book that would otherwise just be about taking an airplane trip.
Adrienne Furness chose the “shifty-eyed turtle” from Jon Klassen’s We Found A Hat; Candlewick Press. She says “every single time I look at this book, which has been a lot, he makes me laugh.” I agree with Adrienne; those eyes do so much to tell the story and show us the complicated emotions of the turtle characters.
Sharon McKellar weighed in with a book I was not very familiar with, but have since come to appreciate. The art is something to pore over, and would certainly be lovely as a tattoo. Sharon chose the foxes from 123 Dream by Kim Krans; Random House. I wonder if these two baby foxes appeal to her mother-of-twins heart. That mama fox is fiercely watching over those kits. Sharon says she’d put this on the back of her shoulder. If you don’t know this book, take a look at it. Beautiful pen and ink renderings of flora and fauna.
Ok, now for my choices. I couldn’t pick just one. Good thing I don’t live near a tattoo shop like Black & Blue in San Francisco (where Roger, Sharon, Victoria Stapleton, and I got our Caldetatts). Because I’d likely have very little ink-free skin if I did! My first choice would be a large back piece of the tree dragon from The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers; Schuster Books for Young Readers. I love the detail and all the leaves. This tattoo would probably hurt like the dickens because in order for it to be effective, it would have to be a whole back piece, maybe with those tree trunks wrapping around the waist. This whole book is gorgeous, but this dragon really stopped me in my tracks.
Next up is a playful choice from Thunder Boy Jr., by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales; Little, Brown, and Company. The colours and movement in this book are so appealing, and there are so many little details to look at. This little alligator toy really makes me happy, though, and I would certainly be fine with having it permanently on my skin.
So, do tattooable books make award winners? We will just have to see, won’t we? I certainly think all of these books have amazing illustrations. They all speak to picture-book lovers for some reason. What do you think? Do YOU have a tattooable choice for a book published in 2016? Tell me in the comments!