Books + Magazines, Rooms, Travel

German Illustrator Silke Leffler

October 16, 2008

When I travel outside of the states I have this must-visit on my list that I often hit the second I’ve unpacked: Locate a book shop! Not only because I need to find magazines, cookbooks, interior design and craft books but I must locate the children’s book section. One can learn a lot about a culture by visiting a local book store, don’t you think? Illustrated books provide me with endless inspiration and are such a huge personal pick-me-up. I often flip through them imagining the day when perhaps I’ll author my very own, and if it’s not meant to be that I write a one that is sold in bookstores then I will write them once I become a mother for my own kids.

German Illustrator Silke Leffler

My aunt was a great lover of illustration and sent me books ever since I was a baby that made a deep impression on me. She paid such close attention to illustration and had great taste, as a fine artist and illustrator herself I now understand why she so carefully selected books for me. My favorite book was The Maggie B, I still have it and when I’m missing my aunt (she passed away at age 41)… I take it from my bookcase and read it because the story so perfectly captures the meaning of comfort and the joy of having a rich imagination, you instantly feel warm the moment you read it and the illustrations convey care and comfort so beautifully.

Here in Germany I escape to the bookstore whenever I need a break and recently discovered publisher Annette Betz and in particular the German illustrator Silke Leffler. I REALLY find her illustrations so full of whimsy and they have a definite fairytale feel to them. I immediately purchased Das Andersen M?rchenbuch because I really like the full page color illustrations. I’m studying German right now and such books help me to learn the language since I’m so visual, and you can’t even believe how I use this point to my advantage when it comes to justifying the purchase of beautiful kiddie books. :)

German Illustrator Silke LefflerGerman Illustrator Silke Leffler

If you also like Silke’s work you can purchase a print from her at a website in the UK called EasyArt. She has designed bedding for IKEA that Inspire Co. blogged about here that is really sweet, too. I think it’s available in the states in addition to IKEA in Germany.

Now I’m wondering… what is your favorite children’s book? I like so many, but the Maggie B is at the top of my list because it’s a very emotional imaginative tale and connects me back to my Aunt.

(images from silke leffler)


  • Reply karina October 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Since I learnt to read all was big books and no illustration, just words and words, but I discover illustration with my kids,seing her faces as they observed the drawings and I fell in love with ilustrators.

    karinas last blog post: My Photos

  • Reply Natalie October 16, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    I always enjoyed Tomie dePaola’s books. He did the art work and the story. Just something about the pictures captured me. My favorite of his was called The Art Lesson. I will surely read these books to my future children one day.

  • Reply danielle October 16, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    My favourite childrens book was “Once Upon A Potty” when I was wee now my favourite is “The Ordinary Princess” by M.M. Kaye It’s a chapter book but it has a few Illistrations drawn (I beleive) by the authoress. By far is the best princess story I have ever read. Even better than the Andrew Lang books (which is really saying something) even though it was inspired in part by them.

  • Reply annkent October 16, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Oh my, how funny, I presently have “The Flower Ball” on my desk (Silke illustrated the book). I have had the book for years and it is a neverending source of inspiration and amazement!

    annkents last blog post: I Love Venetian Mirrors But Are They Relevant In Modern Interiors?

  • Reply steven October 17, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Hi Holly,

    Silke Leffler’s illustrations are also available on greeting cards — we have them here in Holland, but they are produced by the German publisher Gr?tz Verlag

    I think you can order them directly through their website or perhaps they can help you find a local source for the cards.

    All the best,

    stevens last blog post: Fr?d?rique Morrel – Making a case for lace

  • Reply Lynne October 17, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Have you seen Oliver Jeffer’s work? I’ve written about it here, I love his book The Incredible Book Eating Boy – the corner of the book is chewed off!:

    When it comes to a nostalgia trip, my favourite is Dogger by Shirley Hughes.

  • Reply Hana October 17, 2008 at 8:24 am

    My favorites are, Raymond Briggs’s Father Christmas, Gnomes (Rien Poortvliet and Wil Huygen, Japanese 1st edition published by Sanrio). This two books came to my bed side at the Christmas eve of about 30 years ago, and I still have. And, Susan Varley books, especially Badger’s Parting Gift comforted me very much when I my mom passed away. And of course I loved cartoon books of Japanese old tales, and Sanrio books too, through my childhood. And, I love Illustrated books of, Dulac, Winsor McCay, Charles Vess, Lisbeth Zwerger, Komako Sakai … and many many more. So, I could not choice my top one.
    (Some of Sakai’s books were published in Germany too, but my top1 seems to be not available yet.)

    I agree with you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t need any excuse when I purchase softie or child’s books. Actually, when I traveled in Turkey (yeah, count me too in a member of Turkish fan club here…), a lot of things learnt from the comic books were useful. I know many people in America are considering cartoon books is childish. However, in my view, Tarina tarantino’s Hello kitty goods might be more childish… A standard of kiddie (and of course others too) is sometimes controlled by our very localized sense of values perhaps, we have to say. I enjoyed a bookstore in Istanbul very much. Can’t wait your travel log till next year… :D

  • Reply Julia at Living Luxely October 17, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I grew up in Germany, so my favorite book was Struwel Peter (may favorite was Suppen Kasper). I remember my mom reading me all the Grimms stories like, Bremen Musikanten, Frau Holle, Die sieben Raben, etc. I’ve saved all my books in hopes to read them to my kids one day.

    Julia at Living Luxelys last blog post: Spotted

  • Reply Judit Gueth October 17, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I’ve always been drawn to children’s books too. Growing up in Europe, I read fairy tales and folk tales all the time. I still buy kids’ books when I see one with beautiful illustrations. I also have a couple of stories that I wrote and would like to get published some day….
    Silke’s whimsical images are definitely perfect for children’s books!

  • Reply Sarah October 17, 2008 at 10:45 am

    The Elephant and the the Bad Baby, a favorite from childhood that should have been able to teach me to say please…great illustrations, I still like elephants the best to this day….

  • Reply Abigail October 17, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I was so excited when I saw this! I remember the “Maggie B” – as a child I wanted to live on that ship so badly. The same illustrator also did one called “Carrie Hepple’s Garden” that’s really magical.

    Anything by Lisbeth Zwerger is wonderfully ethereal. Gyo Fujikawa has a fun retro vibe. And Shaun Tan’s work is just breathtaking (“The Arrival” is a children’s book, but easily one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time).

    Abigails last blog post: Illustration Friday – Strings

  • Reply Angelique October 17, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I could post the longest comment ever in response to this question – I am such a children’s book afficionado! (It’s one of my not so secret dreams to write and illustrate my own one day). I decided to limit myself to two that popped into my head first.
    This version of “Little Red Riding Hood” has some of the most beautiful illustrations I’ve ever seen.
    This story is so charming. A girl moves from the country into the city, where she tries to continue gardening in window boxes and on the rooftop. It also has beautiful illustrations.

    I hope you have a lovely day!

    Angeliques last blog post: Haunted Dollhouse

  • Reply kate October 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I am so delighted you mentioned the Maggie B. Not only is it one of my favorite stories, we named our daughter after it! Maggie is now 1 year old and just as spirited and independent as Margaret Barnstable in the book.

  • Reply Katrina Lynn October 17, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    This is a topic I could go on and on about, I was an avid reader when I was young, so much more so then I am now even. It is why I fell in love with art. Some of my favorite books were:

    1. The Serendipity books:

    2. The Eleventh Hour – A good story with very detailed illustrations and a double mystery at the end that makes you go back through the illustrations several times over to solve it!

    3. Fables

    There are many others that I can remember the illustrations, but not the titles. I’ve recently decided to start collection all my childhood books for when I start a family. Good post! This topic is so in tune with my thoughts lately! :)

    Katrina Lynns last blog post: Mid October

  • Reply natalie. October 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    totally agree. i actually use children’s books that have little to no text to make photo albums with!

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