Read Across America Day: Best Typography in Children's Books

by Jayme Nelson

March 2nd is the NEA Read Across America Day. The National Education Association has been putting on this event for 18 years to build a nation of readers by motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships and reading resources. Why is FASTSIGNS interested? Because our creative team members are fans of any form of expressive typography and children’s books provide some of the most communicative and fun uses of this art and science. Also, where would a sign company be without literacy? Here are some of our favorite examples of the best typography in children’s books:

Expressive typography book Bembo’s Zoo

Bembo’s Zoo by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

This stylish animal alphabet book uses letters from each animal’s name to illustrate the creature. Of course all the letters are in the Bembo font (named for the poet Pietro Bembo, as an edition of his writing was the first print use of the font). Adults will appreciate the sophisticated design while children can have fun searching for individual letters in the creatures. The Bembo’s Zoo website is a work of art itself, allowing you to click on each letter to see an intricate animation of the associated animal.

Hyperactivitytypogrophy from A to Z book

Hyperactivitypography from A to Z by Studio 3

Both a children’s book and a helpful manual on typography, Hyperactivitypography from A to Z was created by Studio 3, the design agency of Oslo’s renowned Westerdals School. It is packed with exercises, explanations and illustrations that illuminate the world of typography in a fun and interactive way.

Little 1 typography book

Little 1 by Ann & Paul Rand

Paul Rand was prolific graphic designer best known for his corporate logo designs for IBM, UPS and Westinghouse. In 1961 he published a stunning children’s book with text by his wife Ann Rand. Children will love the clever wordplay and adventures of Little 1 as he tries to make friends with the other numbers, while adults can appreciate a master designer getting a chance to play with font and color.  

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom typography book

Chicka Chicka Boom Boomby Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert

Letters are freed from their rigid lines in a race up a coconut tree in this popular alphabet rhyme. Illustrator Lois Ehlert’s bold art won her the Caldecott Honor for Color Zoo and she received the American Library Association Notable Children’s Book Award for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Fans will also like Chicka Chicka Sticka Sticka, which lets children use vinyl stickers to race the letters up the coconut tree themselves.

The Alphabeasties Series typography book

The Alphabeasties Series by Sharon Werner

These books combine imaginative typography, animal facts and stunning graphic design into an artistic learning experience. Books in the series include Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types, Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types and Bugs by the Numbers. This series is a great example of howthe best typography books can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Share one of these beautiful books with your favorite reader or visual communications buff on March 2nd. If you are an educator looking for ideas for books and events to celebrate Read Across America, be sure to check out the resource calendar, printable certificates and book lists provided by the NEA.