Last month we celebrated Picture Book Month by reading a themed picture book every day and documenting it on our instagram account. Th...

Why Picture Books are Important!

Friday, December 04, 2015 BookBairn 0 Comments

Last month we celebrated Picture Book Month by reading a themed picture book every day and documenting it on our instagram account. The official Picture Book Month website featured picture book ambassadors, i.e. authors, illustrators, and movers & shakers in the kidlit industry, responding to the question 'why are picture books important?' This made for fascinating reading and got my thinking...

Why Are Picture Books Important?

Picture books are meant to be read aloud, creating a valuable shared experience between reader and listener. For young children sharing a picture book can be amongst their first social experiences, curled up in the lap of a parent with their undivided attention. Like sharing a meal, reading and exploring stories and books can form lifelong bonds between children and the adults who read to them. Not only do picture books create a shared social connection in those moments of turning the pages but they also create a connection across generations. We were all little once, and we were all read a picture book. And since becoming a parent, I enjoy reading BookBairn the books that I loved as a child and there are so many I can't wait to introduce her to. For me, reading a story aloud creates real magic. I love those moments with BookBairn and her daddy when we read bedtime stories and she looks up adoringly at the reader whilst cuddled up in the lap of the other. There can be no denying that picture books are magical when reading a picture book to an entire class of thirty children, all of whom try to shuffle closer to the front as you read, whose smiling faces and bright eyes are eager for you to turn the next page and tell the next part of the story. Magic.

Picture books are many children's first experience of story allowing them to make connections between words and pictures. With picture books, readers can determine the pace of the story, turning the pages as they feel ready, lingering over the illustrations to 'read' the pictures. Even now, BookBairn is learning to turn the pages of story books and has recently started to lean forward to peak at the next page. She also knows the difference between the text and the pictures, beginning to make the connection that the words tell the story along with the illustrations. In time, reading picture books will enrich her vocabulary; introduce her to concepts of plot, setting, characterisation, theme and style; and as they are rich in rhyme and repetition will help her in the development of decoding and word-recognition skills. In short, picture books provide her with the skills to join the next generation of readers and storytellers.

Picture books also provide children's early experience of artwork. Illustrators are undervalued artists. Artists use art to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas. So do picture book illustrators. Illustrators create artwork that rivals that found in any large art museum. The use of line, colour and shape in picture books can make lasting impressions on children. Who doesn't remember the bold use of colours of Dick Bruna's Miffy, or the instantly recognisable use of materials by Eric Carle in the Very Hungry Caterpillar, or the quirky lines of Quentin Blake bringing to life Roald Dahl's equally quirky characters? Picture books undoubtedly allow the youngest of children to begin forming their own opinions of art and design.

Picture books allow children to explore new worlds, opening doors to new adventures, making lifelong friends with characters. Picture book stories are wonderful and meaningful; full of valuable lessons and adventures, and when you accompany a meaningful, beautifully story with illustrations that transport you into another world it makes the story truly come alive.

Why Are Picture Books Important? They create a magical world filled with words, art and adventure that can be shared from generation to generation.

Love Mummy and BookBairn x