It’s a big week for kids in the US. Following the Labor Day holiday, it’s officially time to head back to school and hit the books. And while that may provoke dread in some youngsters, it has us feeling a bit nostalgic for our younger days.
So, with “back to school” trending like crazy on Shutterstock, we turned back our internal clocks and reminisced about some of the books from our childhoods that gave us a much-needed burst of inspiration. Read on for book picks from a variety of Shutterstock staffers; one of them could be perfect for the kids in your life — or for your own inner child.
“Poor, miserable Alexander inhabits a colorless world of rotten injustices and petty annoyances. I love that this is a book for children. Alexander is a gateway to literature’s great curmudgeons, and should be filed on your bookshelf next to Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken.” – Daryl Lang, Copy Manager
“I loved these fantastical tales about how animals came to be. As they were read to me, I would draw along and depict a scene from the story. I usually picked the most dramatic, like the alligator pulling the elephant’s nose to give it a long trunk. The book taught me how to create something visually compelling for an audience, much like what I do today!” – Liz Lapp, Curator
“This was such a fascinating book when I was a kid. The dark German folk tales teach childhood lessons through exaggerated punishment. The images are surreal and sparked my imagination of being a bad boy!” – Philippe Intraligi, Art Director
“Ed Emberley’s approach to art is perfect for kids who want to be creative, but don’t know where to start. By reducing each subject into a series of simple shapes and lines, then showing how they fit together to form a spider or a frog, for example, he opens the door to visualizing how things break down into their component parts. Plus, Emberley’s characters are absolutely adorable. This is just one of a whole series of drawing books he created, many of which I remember checking out over and over again from my local library.” – Doug Levy, Copywriter
“I was obsessed with this story about a young boy jumping through his television set and finding himself in his favorite TV show, which turns out to be made completely of paper. Between the imaginative, playful plotline and fantastic watercolor illustrations, it’s no wonder this book left such an impression on a young girl already dreaming of being an artist.” – Deanna Paquette, Digital Designer
“This book took stories I grew up with and gave them a weird or macabre spin. It showed me that you could play with and change anything in your world to fit through your own visual prism. And it made me start to ask questions like, ‘Why does this have to be the way it is?’ That type of critical, exploratory thinking is something that I think is key to being a creative person.” – Jordan Roland, Graphic Designer
“As an archetypal quiet and bookish child, I very much appreciated Matilda as a protagonist I could relate to. While I never quite managed to pull off her clever pranks, I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to develop telekinetic powers. Did it work? I’ll never tell…” – Wendy Chu, UX Designer
“I’ll never forget the moment when the main character tries soda pop for the first time. Such a small detail that could have easily been nothing special. But I still remember being delighted by that bubbly description. It enchanted the budding writer inside me. And, of course, made me thirsty for soda.” – Diana Aydin, Copywriter
“This is one of those few kids’ books to take its audience seriously. And it was the first book I read that showed all the problems with the world and how we (even kids!) could fix them. Not bad for a series that started with children fighting aliens disguised as substitute teachers!” – Nicholas Roach, Email Production Manager
What was your favorite book from childhood? Let us know in the comments!