Friday, November 15, 2013

Picture Book Month: Why They Matter (To Me!)

November is Picture Book Month. Today I am sharing a few reasons why picture books are so important to me, and I will be back next week with a list of favorites.

The library where I grew up, the smells, the layout, the way the huge windows were warm with sun, the way the words just waited inside the shelves, hoping to be borrowed by someone (me!)...all of these things are etched into my mind. My very first job was at this library, shelving books. Before I turned 16, I was a volunteer during the summers, and my favorite place to help was in the children's section. I prepped crafts, helped arrange books, and even got to go behind the scenes to where they repaired books and pressed perfect shapes out of card stock with a special machine and wooden blocks.

I have not stepped into that library in 5 years. The last time I was there they had cut into the children's section to make a computer lab. I don't know if I can go back, although if I lived there I would have to. I am sure they have a bigger collection now, but something about having the section where the picture books used to be cut into just seems wrong to my memories. The picture books are actually always what mesmerized me. Because originally I thought they were for "babies" but the beautiful pictures, the language, oh my! As a fairly advanced reader, the books, the "right" ones were interesting to me because I thought "Wait! This isn't a baby story!" As you know, if you pick the right books, there are so many layers of humor, poetry and art.

Our house has more picture books than any other book category. They appeal to a wide range of ages, I sell Barefoot Books, and we thrift for books too. Win Win Win. Once my son can read on his own, I am hoping he will love being able to read his favorites out loud. In high school I competed in the Storytelling category at speech tournaments, always reading "Where the Wild Things Are". See, a high school kid finding use for a loved picture book!

For our family, picture books mean warmth, eye contact, laughs together, cuddles...even the semi-scary fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood are digested well being that our children are in a safe place while experiencing the story. It means slowing down long enough to read books, turning off the electronics.
As long as we have a little light and a book, our storytime dreams come true.

What is the last book you read to someone?


  1. We love books too. The last one I read was The Cat in the Hat. We read it quite a bit :)

  2. We love picture books too! As a teacher I used them in the classroom all the time. Now, as a parent I read them daily to my boys. And, I also blog about children's books!

  3. We go to the library at least a couple time a week, and I usually let my son pick out his own books. He likes to read them out loud. I usually steer him towards the beginning reader books because they are more predictable in terms of difficulty and length. But we like to get a few picture books, too, because they have wonderful surprises and they are so beautiful.


Thank you in advance for sharing your lovely thoughts.