Illustrations in YA

It is a generally held idea that once you leave the realm of Kids’ Fiction you don’t have illustrations anymore. There have been a few books that buck this idea (notably Leviathan and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian); however, for the most part it holds true. I love illustrations, though. My favorite copies of Jane Eyre have illustrations. Illustrations give my eyes a break from words while keeping my mind on the story. I love to examine them for little details that the artist inserted; it’s like the ultimate search-n-find puzzle. I love to see different artists’ interpretations across different editions. I love to compare them with my imagination.

Teens, though. Teen readers always seem to be worried that their peers will think they’re still reading “baby” books. I know this because I was a teen reader. Let me tell you a thing, though. When you get to be thirty, all you’re going to want to do is read a good children’s book. They’re the best! I digress, however.

CHANGELING is a young adult book, so it was a tough decision because you don’t want something as silly as a bunch of pictures alienate your core audience. After a lot of waffling on the idea and eating actual waffles, we decided to take a leap of faith and do it. We’re going to illustrate CHANGELING. There are only going to be a dozen or less throughout the book, but I have every confidence that they’ll be amazing and totally enhance reader experience.

Have you read any illustrated young adult? How did it make you feel?