Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Picture Books Matter

Stories were different, though:  they came alive in the telling...  
like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth,  or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being... Once someone started to read them, they could...take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. 
Stories wanted to be read... They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. 
They wanted us to give them life.
- John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

It's Picture Book Month.

Some say picture books are a dying breed,
that it's better to skip kids ahead to bigger and better
as soon as possible.

My two cents?

Picture books go deep,
offer layers of learning,
teach children before we even realize they're paying attention.

Picture books teach art, rhythm, humor, language, nuance.

Picture books help us observe,
listen, question,

picture books give us
snuggles with best friends,
undivided parent time.

If books are seeds to the imagination,
and picture books seeds to a life of learning,
what will our culture become
if we lose them?

For some great posts by authors and illustrators on why this particular book form is so important, 
check out Picture Book Month

Some autumn picture book love:

Scarecrow - Cynthia Rylant, Lauren Stringer

The Apple Pie that Papa Baked -  Lauren Thompson, Jonathan Bean

The Stranger, Chris Van Allsburg

So Sleepy Story, Uri Shulevitz

Rain Rain Rivers, Uri Shulevitz

Charlie Needs A Cloak, Tomie dePaola


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Those photos warm my heart. I have one of my daughter and her friend snuggled up with a book, too.
All you have to do is watch kids get lost in the pages of a good picture book to see the power. I know they are expensive to produce but the world will be far less magical without them.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh Faith - I love the photos and of course I love and agree with the sentiment. Here's a picture book I love - it is called In the Town All Year 'Round and it is by a German writer named Rotraut Susanne Berner. There aren't words except at the beginning of each season which would lead you to look for certain things. But they aren't needed. It is wonderful too as it has a European sensibility - kids on toilets, parents drinking beers - kissing and all sorts of wonders! My grand kids are mad for it.

Rebecca said...

Picture books are part of many of my most treasured memories of my children. Even now, if I read a picture book to my youngest, my teen daughters will come and listen.

A current favorite is Mars Needs Moms.


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