Anna Gragert
December 22, 2015 6:38 pm

There are two words that, when combined, can evoke an array of beautiful memories: children’s books.

When you were a kid, you probably came across more than enough of these publications. Someone may have read such a book to you to help you fall asleep, so you’d have nothing but sweet dreams. Or, maybe you and your friends would read these sentimental works together during storytime in school. No matter what the circumstances, a simple storybook can easily help you time travel, and take you back to a specific moment that’s embedded in your memories.

But as time goes on, it’s no secret that things change. Now, there are iPhones and tablets and a plethora of portable devices that were created to make our 21st-century lives easier. Even young kids grow up knowing how to operate all this new technology, making physical, print books less popular than they were in the past.

To combine the old with the new (and to make us feel as nostalgic as possible and also laugh-out-loud), artist Kristi Olberding collaborated with the Distractify team to produce a series called “If Classic Children’s Books Were Written Today” – featuring classic children’s novels with modern titles and covers. Kristi brought the concept to life, and it’s just all kinds of wonderful. Behold:

A almost-2016 version of Judy Blume’s coming-of-age Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

“Really what it boiled down to was how ‘our’ modern day world fits into those books that we used to read as kids… sort of like the ‘grown-up version’ if you will,” the artist told HelloGiggles.  “For example, we replaced ‘no good, very bad day’ with something that the now generation uses all the time… Tinder.”

Yes, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day became…

The above piece is actually one of Kristi’s favorites because “that kid’s face just fit perfectly when I added the girl in his bed with him, ha!” As for her other fave: “My very favorite is Oh, the Places You’ll Instagram, only because I’m a big Instagrammer myself. I found it fun to do a spin-off on basic food/latte/selfie posts I see so very often.”

As for the behind-the-scenes process, Kristi tells us that she was inspired, not only by the updated titles, but also by the style of the original book covers. “My personal creative process with these was to make them seem as close to the original cover as possible, but with the modern twist,” she tells us. “So I picked up on the styles found in each book cover and modified it to fit the ‘new title.’ Some were definitely harder than others, but it turned into a super fun project!”

Since these books are personal and meaningful to so many, we wanted to know if Kristi had any trouble altering the books. However, she reminded us that these books are meant to capture a fun, childlike sense of wonder – which is the same approach she took when tackling this project. Kristi admits, “I saw it as sort of a tribute to them actually… like I really wish this was less of a children’s book so I wouldn’t feel silly reading it again!”
“I’m sure that readers have their own view, but personally, I see it as being a good laugh,” says Kristi. “Hopefully, the readers experience nostalgia by knowing the books are tied in with the reality of getting older, along with the new challenges and trends that are happening in the modern world.”

Check out the rest here.

All images reprinted with permission from the artist. Connect with Kristi on her website.

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