Fave Authors Illustrator - Shaun Tan

Published on April 29th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books


The best kids books by Shaun Tan

As you know, we’ve always been fans of substance over style. What makes Shaun Tan such an amazing kids book illustrator and author is that he delivers both style AND substance – in almost unimaginably high doses!

In fact, it’s not difficult to imagine Shaun Tan’s captivating and stylised artwork being shown at your National Art Gallery. Reading and perusing his books, you really feel alive to the presence of this wonderful artist. And so will your kids!

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the ‘good drawer’ – which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. Alongside his impressive catalogue of picture books, Shaun Tan has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar’s WALL-E.

While you can’t go wrong with any Shaun Tan offering, here is our pick of his very best kids books.


The Arrival
by Shaun Tan
(Ages 12 and up)

A shockingly imaginative graphic novel that captures the sense of adventure and wonder that surrounds a new arrival on the shores of a shining new city. Wordless, but with perfect narrative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with cityscapes worthy of Winsor McCay. Shaun Tan really announced himself as a superlative kids book illustrator with The Arrival.


Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan
by Shaun Tan
(Ages 4-8 years)

A collection of three jaw-dropping stories: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits, by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Shaun Tan.

A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world. A boy leads a strange, lost creature home. And a group of peaceful creatures loses their home to cruel invaders. Three wonderful stories, about how we lose and find what matters most to us.


Tales From Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan
(Ages 12 and up)

An exchange student who’s really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says… These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan’s many fans will love.


The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook
by Shaun Tan
(Ages 10-14 years)

This is a great book for the budding artist in your family. And when Shaun Tan starts drawing (and talking about drawing)… the results are stunning. In The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook, Shaun offers a first-hand window into his creative process: the stops and starts, the ideas that never took off, and the ones that grew into something much, much bigger. Fans of The Arrival will recognize the quirky, surreal sensibility that is so distinctly Shaun Tan in this stunning collection. Better still, you gain an intimate behind-the-scenes insight (alongside personal reflections) into how his many gorgeous books were made. Highly recommended.


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