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Why Picture Books Are Important, by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

As we get older, I think we start to forget how much picture books and the read-aloud experience affected our younger selves, how certain picture books helped shape us into who we are today. Picture books are important because childhood is important. Picture books help inspire today’s young people into becoming tomorrow’s thought leaders. Picture books help create a lifelong love of reading.

Picture books enable even the busiest of us to enjoy a good story in just a few minutes. In a world where so much is rushed, picture books encourage us to slow down and savor.

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I’ve been so enjoying reading the “Why Picture Books Are Important” essays by children’s book authors and illustrators this past month as well as Marcie Colleen’s Curriculum Connections at the end of every post (teachers, also take note of Marcie’s excellent Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide).

Yesterday, Kelly Light compared picture books to an Imax movie for a little kid…but even better, because they’re active participants and get to be the director.

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Before that, Brian Lies said that picture books are the entry ramp to the highways of literacy and a lifetime of exploration and questioning.

Rene Colato Lainez showed how picture books are windows to the imagination.

Betsy Lewin talked about how picture books sparks curiosity about the world and improves language skills.

Aaron Reynolds explained how picture books let kids read long before they can read.

Loreen Leedy talked about how picture books invite children to participate.

Kathleen Krull marvels how lucky we are that we -and young readers- “live in an age of so many glorious picture books.”

Lupe Ruiz-Flores pointed out that an engaging picture book story can make an emotional connection with a reader, and this in turn can turn a reader into a lifelong book lover.

Judy Schachner doesn’t believe in miracles, but does believe in picture books.

Marla Frazee talked about the shared moments and magic of picture books.

Ted Lewin strives to make each picture book a journey of a lifetime.

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Jill Esbaum talked about how picture books aid in a child’s emotional development.

Sandra Markle points out how picture books are generational, and that she’s getting to discover picture books yet again as she reads with her grandchildren.

Johnette Downing talked about bonding moments that help us share a lifelong love of reading.

Alexis O’Neill showed us how a picture book is a living thing, holding our hearts in thrall until the last slender page.

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Anna Dewdney reminds us that picture books help children learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

As Sophie Blackall said, picture books help children learn about themselves by showing what it’s like to be someone else.

Ann Whitford Paul pointed out that picture books share the universality of experience offer comfort, letting children know they’re not alone.

Ame Dyckman reminds us that picture books can be tiny universes for adults as well as children.

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David Schwartz told us how a picture book was “an invitation to wonder and imagine on an unbounded scale” when he was young.

Carolyn Dee Flores believes that a culture is reflected most vividly through children’s literature and that humanity propagates through children’s literature.

Arree Chung talked about the superhero powers of picture books and how they feed a child’s spirit.

Robin Preiss Glasser told us how picture books may help heal a community.

Chris Barton says that picture books are a wonderful way for parents and children to begin a childhood-long habit of reading together.

Linda Joy Singleton showed us how picture books are food for the soul, nourishing young minds and hearts.

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Kelly Bingham points out that a picture book may be the very first time a child encounters a story that he can relate to. “It may be the first time your child realizes, ‘wait – I’m not the only one who feels that way?'”

Deborah Heiligman talked about how picture books encourage children to keep asking questions as they get older.

Stefan Jolet said that picture books unlock children’s imaginations and inspire them.

And Aaron Becker explained how a picture books physically connects a child to their world through story.

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If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to browse the Picture Book Month archives. So many wonderful posts: some funny, some deeply moving. All are inspiring. Huge thanks to founder Dianne de Las Casas, co-founders Kate Davis, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Tara Lazar and Wendy Martin, and others behind the scenes at Picture Book Month, Picture Book Month partners, PBM logo artist Joyce Wan and educational consultant/author Marcie Colleen for this wonderful celebration of print picture books.

While many of us enjoy and appreciate picture books throughout the year, it’s nice to have an excuse to throw an extra special party during November.

- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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About Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the illustrator of New York Times Notable picture book I’m Bored and Naked!, both written by Michael Ian Black (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers), and Judy Blume classics reissued by Atheneum. Her first solo picture book, Where Are My Books?, debuts from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in May 2015. She posts ideas, resources and activities for encouraging lifelong reading habits in young people at For The Love Of Reading. You can find Debbie on Twitter at @inkyelbows.

Picture book Month Theme: Creativity

Curriculum Connections

Just like Spencer in Debbie Ohi’s forthcoming picture book Where Are My Books? we all have books we turn to again and again. But why do certain books become our favorites?

Ask children to bring in their all-time favorite book for a Show ‘n Tell in which they will say three reasons why this book is their favorite.

Then, with guidance, each child should write a love letter to the book or the author of the book clearly explaining why they have chosen this particular book to be their all-time favorite. Each child should share their letter with the class at a culminating “We Love Books” party. Children who choose to can also read their books aloud to the group.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.K.1.2, 8; W.2.8; W.3.2; W.4.2; W.5.2; Speaking and Listening standards SL.K.1,4, 6; SL.1.1,4; SL.2.1,4; SL.3.1,4,6; SL.4.1,4; SL.5.1,4

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Kelly Light

by Dianne on November 29, 2014

Kelly J. Light cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kelly Light
Picture books are like an Imax movie to a little kid. Think about it. Picture books fill their field of vision. Left arm all the way across to right arm… they immerse the child in the story, the characters and the action through the illustrations. Literary cinemascope they can hold in their hands.

Maybe, just maybe… picture books are even better than that! Because the little kid gets to be the director, making the decisions about the pacing and flow. Are they lying down? Leisurely panning around the double page spreads? Are they kneeling over the book, looking down… excitedly flipping to the last page, needing to know how it ends? Where is the focus going to be in this scene? Is it the main character or is it what is going on in the background? They choose how long before the edit to the next shot of the page turn. They become the actors and the foley artists, making sounds and doing voices. They are in control of their own sensory experience. They bring themselves to the book in a way that as a reader they may never do again in their lives.

They are active participants with a picture book. We know this because when we get a chance to stand in front of a room of our picture book readers, they tell us things about our books that we did not even realize ourselves. Their choices about our books make our books better. First, better for them, their very own “director’s cut’… and then next, better for us, when we realize we have left that space for them to take over in the director’s chair.

I know I would climb into bed at 8 o’clock in my footie pajamas to read And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and smush into my fluffy pillow, hug my stuffed Scotty dog, reach over and pull the little chain on my little white milk glass lamp with the frilly pink shade that sat on my night table and just as my Mom shut off the overhead bedroom light… CLICK! …spotlight on…. open to the first spread and say….”Action!”

About Kelly Light
Kelly Light grew up down the shore surrounded by giant roadside dinosaurs, cotton candy colors and skee ball sounds. Schooled on Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday Funny pages, she picked up a pencil and started drawing and never stopped. Now living in New York, she is the author and illustrator of the picture book Louise Loves Art and the coming series about Louise’s adventures in art! She is also the illustrator of the two chapter books series, The Quirks and Elvis and the Underdogs, the upcoming Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi. Find her on the web at kellylight.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Art

Curriculum Connections

In Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light, Louise says that art is “my imagination on the outside.” It’s time to let those imaginations run wild!

As a group, watch the book trailer for Louise Loves Art, located on Kelly Light’s website. Then in groups of 3-4, using a variety of visuals and audio, children can create their own movie trailer for the book, being sure to include their own thoughts and feelings about the book for future readers.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.2.5; SL.3.5; SL.4.5; SL.5.5

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Children can create a poster advertising Louise Loves Art and encouraging others to take the book out of the library.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Brian Lies

by Dianne on November 28, 2014

Brian Lies book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Brian Lies
Picture books are the entry ramp to the highways of literacy and curiosity. They’re what we first encounter, giving a hint of what else might be ahead in our reading lives. Each one is a small, wonderful world, in which turning a page brings a surprise, or an anticipated answer. They are “doable” journeys, not too much to handle, in which we see things outside of our own lives. In the process, we build imagination—can all of the things in these books really happen? Of course not. But the ability to consider “what if?” is the cornerstone of imagination, of possibilities. Adults who can’t imagine a “what if” can’t see beyond their own lives, past their own roadblocks, and surely have more limited lives.

My older sister was an advanced reader. I felt pressure to read— and the weight of my own inability. I remember frustration that I couldn’t translate those little black marks on the pages. I recognized many or all of them, but they made no sense to me.

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever was a favorite, because of the detailed pictures. We played games (“who sees a balloon that someone lost?”), or just reveled in the action on the pages. One day, the little black squiggles next to the pictures gave up their sounds to me, and the connection fell into place. The squiggles next to the apple? They SAID “apple!” Though it took some time for me to gain fluency with those squiggles, I still remember the excitement of that breakthrough.

My early experiences with picture books paved the entry ramp to a life of exploration and questioning, one in which every bird on the lawn has a story. I’m profoundly grateful for the roads that they opened to me.

Brian Lies

Brian Lies

About Brian Lies
Brian Lies was born in Princeton, NJ and graduated from Brown University with a degree in British and American Literature. He became an editorial illustrator before entering the world of children’s books. To date he has written and/or illustrated more than two dozen books, including his NY Times bestsellers, Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats at the Ballgame. His most recent book is Bats in the Band. He lives in eastern Massachusetts with his family and two cats, and travels around the country to work with young readers in schools.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Bats

Curriculum Connections

Picture Books are “small worlds” or “doable journeys.” While on this journey, why not let children build their imagination?

Help children sharpen the tools of prediction and questioning while enjoying the journey. Read Bats in the Band by Brian Lies aloud and before turning each page, ask the group what questions make them want to turn the page. What do they want to know?

All students should partake in the full group discussion, listening to others’ questions and allowing those questions to spark other questions within themselves.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.K.1, 2, 6; SL.1.1,2,6; SL.2.1,2,6; SL.3.1,6; SL.4.1; SL.5.1

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Rene Colato Lainez cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by René Colato Laínez
A picture book is a window to the imagination. A window that is always opened to explore new worlds, meet new friends and live great adventures. A window that can be kept next to a pillow, in a bookshelf, on a dinner table, on a desk or on your favorite sofa. There is no need for a magic key or to say a secret code, all you need to do is to open it with your fingers and the real magic begins.

A picture book is for children of all ages, from babies to one hundred years old children. I read my first picture books in Spanish in my native country, El Salvador. My favorite picture books were The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. When I came to the United States as a teenager and I was learning English in high school, I began to read these picture books in English and even though I could not understand every word on the books, I used my imagination to complete the story that was still so vivid in my mind. Now I am teacher and I read picture books to children, parents and grandparents. I can see the same joy in everyone’s eyes and the same smile in their faces. Yes, a picture book is an open window that all children of the world can enjoy, no matter how old they are.

I wrote the following letter to a group of students in an elementary school at Denver, Colorado. The students asked me: “Where did you read your picture books when you were a child?”

This was my answer:

Dear children:

When I was a child, my favorite place in the house was a corner where I always found a rocking chair. I rocked myself back and forth while I read a picture book. Soon the rocking chair became a magic flying carpet that took me to many different places. I met new friends. I lived great adventures. On many occasions, I was able to touch the stars. All the picture books I read transported me into the entire universe.

Books inspired me! I also wanted to write about the wonderful world that I visited in my readings. I started to write my own stories, poems and adventures in my diary. Every time I read and revised my stories, I found new adventures to tell about. Now, I write children’s books and it is an honor to share my books with children around the world.

I invite you to travel with me. Pick up a picture book and you will find wonders. Picture books are full of adventures, friends, and fantastic places. Read and reach for the stars.

Saludos,?
René Colato Laínez

About René Colato Laínez
René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award-winning author of many children’s multicultural children’s books. He is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults and an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, California. His goal as an author is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. He wants to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States. Visit him at www.renecolatolainez.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Holidays

Curriculum Connections

Celebrate geography and language with Rene Colato’s Lainez’s Senor Pancho Had a Rancho. This bilingual version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” introduces the Spanish language of both people and animals. Yes, even animals speak differently in other languages!

Using the following link as a reference, http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/Personal/dabbott/animal.html, pick an animal and a language and write an original verse to a unique version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Locate the country where this language is spoken on a globe or map.

Create a bulletin board display of the new verses linking them to their countries of origin.

A Note about Common Core: Although other languages are not necessarily included as part of the Common Core, the fundamentals found in Language standards–Knowledge of Language and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use are definitely at the heart of this activity. Likewise, this activity may be adapted to teach English vocabulary to ESL students, which would align with the CCSS.

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Children may draw a picture of their favorite animal from Senor Pancho Had a Rancho and label it with its Spanish name.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Betsy Lewin

by Dianne on November 26, 2014

Betsy Lewin cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Betsy Lewin
Children discover and explore the world around them first through visual language. Picture books help to organize and make sense of the world by telling stories in a sequence of pictures. When those stories are read by a parent a child can begin to make connections between the art and the words and eventually be able to read the book alone.

When I was a child I loved the tactile act of holding a book and feeling the weight of it in my hands, the anticipation of what adventures awaited me, what characters I would meet along the way, and best of all, what would the pictures be like?

Our house was full of picture books. I remember sitting on my mother’s lap while she read Winnie the Pooh. I can still hear her voice as she gave life and personality to the characters immersing me in their world. I loved the story unfolding and the thrill and anticipation I felt with every turn of the page. I would study the book by myself, trying to read the story through the pictures. Eventually I could. Winnie the Pooh was the first book I learned to read by myself, and Ernest Shepard has been a huge influence in the way I visualize my own picture book characters.

I’ve watched the daughter of best friends embrace picture books from the time she could crawl. Their living room is literally carpeted with them. Now nearly four years old, she is able to point to and name characters and objects in the stories, and her language skills improve rapidly.
Her curiosity about the world around her grows and she engages everything and everyone with
bursting enthusiasm. Soon she will be reading all by herself, expanding her world, her interests, her social skills and her chances of a full and satisfying future. Observing all of this reaffirms my convictions that picture books are indeed an important part of our lives.

We all understand the power of the word, but visual language also remains powerful throughout our lives. It’s true that a picture can be worth a thousand words, and picture books prove it.

Betsy Lewin

Betsy Lewin

About Betsy Lewin
Betsy Lewin always loved to draw and never wanted to be anything but an artist. The illustrators A.B. Frost and Ernest Shepard were among her earliest heroes. Her first picture book was titled Cat Count. Betsy says “I’ve been doing picture books ever since and loving every moment.”

Betsy’s art is usually humorous, drawn in pen or brush with watercolor washes. Many of her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List. She received a Caldecott Honor for the illustrations in Click, Clack, Moo; Cows That Type as well as a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators. She was also awarded a Ted Geisel Honor for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Farm

Curriculum Connections

Many books, like Click, Clack, PEEP!, use onomatopoeia (sound words) in the title. Other examples are Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss and Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, ilustrated by Betsy Lewin.

Take the students to the library for an Onomatopoeia Scavenger Hunt. Students can be in groups of 2-3. Set a timer and allow them to search the shelves for more onomatopoeic titles. The group who find the most before the timer goes off, wins!

Next, read each of the books and ask students to raise their hand when they hear onomatopoeia. If a page does not include onomatopoeia, have the kids write fun onomatopoeia for that page based on the illustrations.

Discuss why an author would choose to use onomatopoeia in a story. What mood or affect does onomatopoeia create? How would you rewrite the story using more formal language?

Correlates to the Common Core Language standards: L.2.3; L.3.3; L.4.3; L.5.3

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: As you read through Click, Clack, PEEP!, point to each character and item in the illustrations. Ask children to come up with an onomatopoeic word for each.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Aaron Reynolds

by Dianne on November 25, 2014

Aaron Reynolds cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Aaron Reynolds
I could list hundreds of reasons (both serious and silly) why I think picture books rock.

But that would take a really long time, and, let’s be honest, there’s a reason I don’t write novels.

Plus, this is a blog post, and let’s be honest about your own attention span. You want to be inspired, but not that inspired. You’ve got things to do, like drive to the store while texting your grocery list to yourself. Am I right? It’s okay to say so.

So here’s a list of eight. Not even ten! Eight reasons. You’re welcome.

8. There’s a reason why babies don’t read novels. I tried giving my two-year-old Sense and Sensibility once and it was just a hot mess. Plus, two-year-olds don’t have the attention span for a 250 page Victorian romance. I know this now from experience. Only picture books come in that fit-just-right-in-a-baby’s-grubby-little-fist-while-simultaneously-being-slobber-proof board book size.

‘Cause toddlers? Can be dee-sgusting.

7. You know how the projectors in school can never project a LEVEL image? It’s always just a little-teeny-tiny bit lopsided. What’s up with that? There’s only one thing that can fix it. Slide a picture book or two under there, and you’ve got projection perfection.

6. A picture book has the uncanny ability to transport and inspire both kids AND adults. My favorite kind of book to read (with or without my kids) is a picture book, and my wife informs me that I’ve been an adult for some time now.

5. Some of the most talented artists alive today aren’t found in galleries or musuems. Know why? Because they’re making picture books.

4. Kids can read long before they can read. If you doubt it, ask any pre-K kid to pick up his favorite book and read it to you and he will read you that thing six ways to Saturday. Confidently. Assuredly. And he’ll probably even get the story, like, 65% right.

Picture books made that happen.

3. People complain about how expensive a picture book is, but for cheaper than a hard-back novel, you get a story that’s told with both words AND pictures.

Count ‘em. That’s two kinds of art.

2. If a picture book and an i-pad got into a fight, a picture book would totally kick an i-pad’s butt. It’s just physics. An i-pad is smaller and way more breakable than a picture book. Plus, i-pads are spineless. They can’t fight worth beans. It’s all kicking and hair-pulling with them.

1. A picture book is pure magic. Nothing less.

Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds

About Aaron Reynolds
Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times Bestselling Author and has written many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, Carnivores, the Joey Fly – Private Eye graphic novel series, and the Caldecott Honor Winning Creepy Carrots! He has a passion for kids’ books and seeing kids reading them. He regularly makes time to visit schools where his hilarious hands-on presentations keep kids spellbound. Aaron lives in Chicago with his wife, 2 kids, 4 cats, and anywhere between zero and ten goldfish, depending on the day.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Dinosaurs

Curriculum Connections

Looking for a way to make book reports fun? Well, just like Aaron Reynolds, your students can create Top Five lists.

Start with a picture book, like Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat. Spend time reading the story carefully. Look closely at the illustrations. Study the book. Where do you laugh out loud? Where do you quickly turn the page to find out what would happen next?

Students can share their opinions about the book by writing down their Top Five Reasons Carnivores is a Great Picture Book. In addition to each reason, students should clarify with a few sentence description.

The same can work for the Top Five Reasons this was NOT a Great Picture Book or the Top Five Things I Would Change About this Book. But of course you would not use any Aaron Reynolds’ books. Not one. They are all great.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.K.1, W.1.1, W.2.1, W.3.1, W.4.1, W.5.1

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: As a group, create your own Top Five salute to picture books! Write the Top Five on a piece of poster board that the children can help decorate and hang prominently in the library for all to see.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Loreen Leedy

by Dianne on November 24, 2014

Loreen Leedy cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Loreen Leedy
Picture books are diverse. When roaming the aisles of a conference, library, or bookstore, the myriad of wonderful titles with wide-ranging stories, characters, settings, and artwork is always amazing and inspiring.

Picture books invite children to participate. They can listen to the words, examine the images, laugh at an escapade, share the book with someone, and learn to read on their own.

Picture books are a doorway to new worlds. Children can meet new people, visit unfamiliar places, travel through time, discover information, and explore imaginary realms.

Picture books are important because children are important.

Loreen Leedy

Loreen Leedy

About Loreen Leedy
Loreen Leedy is the author-illustrator of over 40 popular picture books that introduce math, science, language arts, and other key topics to young readers. Her whimsical characters are often animals but have also been potted plants, coins, pencils, and even household appliances. Honors for her books include being designated an ALA Notable Book for There’s a Frog in My Throat!, a AAAS Science Books & Films award finalist for The Great Graph Contest, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books for Missing Math: A Number Mystery.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Non-fiction Monday, Fairytales

Curriculum Connections

Loreen Leedy’s Amazing Plant Powers: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, & Change the World contains many fascinating facts about plants.

Have each child choose one fact from the book–one that they did not know before reading–and create a poster illustrating and expanding on that fact. Use the Internet or library for further research.

What are some other science topics the class would like to learn more about? Conduct a library search for other non-fiction titles to introduce.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Informational Text standards: RI.3.7; RI.4.7; Writing standards: W.3.2a; W.4.2a; W.5.2a

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Have children draw a picture of themselves as a plant with superpowers! What super power would they give themselves? How does this superpower help them?

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull

by Dianne on November 23, 2014

Kathleen Krull cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull
The first book I can ever remember reading was, of course, a picture book. After all–”What is the use of a book,” asked Alice, “without pictures?” Around our house we had lots of Little Golden Books and inexpensive editions of classics.(How many of us were inspired to do what we do because of Little Golden Books, those picture books we could afford to have right in our homes?)

The book I fell into was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, with illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. I studied those illustrations for hours, riveted by what the Provensens could do with elegant, quirky lines, colors, and shapes. They’re still among my all-time favorite artists. And Stevenson’s poems were so full of marvels (and still marvelous 130 years after they were written).

I went on faraway journeys, learned new things, felt new emotions, found comfort, reveled in the wordplay–all the things picture books can do for us. As Stevenson wrote:

The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

How lucky for us that we–and young readers–live in an age of so many glorious picture books.

Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull

About Kathleen Krull
Kathleen Krull’s 60+ books have garnered starred reviews and awards. Music is a theme that runs throughout her career, from Lives of the Musicians to The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny). The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, honored her with its Nonfiction Award for her body of work that “has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children.” In October 2014, School Library Journal featured her as An Author to Study. She lives in San Diego with her husband and sometime writing partner, Paul Brewer, and can be visited at www.kathleenkrull.com and friended at http://facebook.com/kathleen.krull

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Music

Curriculum Connections

Music and inspiration can be found everywhere.

As a group, create the sounds of the city. The first spread of The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull can be used for inspiration. For example: Some children may smack their heels on the floor, flap like birds, make traffic noises, sing, play instruments, and so on.

Demonstrate how conductors use hand motions to set the tempo and noise level of an orchestra. Conduct the class in a musical symphony of city sounds.

What other soundscapes can be created for different illustrations in The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)? Try adding more sound as the book is read aloud to enhance the audio experience.

For continued exploration, students can create “soundscapes” for illustrations of their favorite picture books. Look closely. What sounds can be found in the country, the zoo, a barnyard, the beach, etc? Soundscapes may be recorded and played back while the story is being read aloud.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.2.2,5;SL.3.5; SL.4.5; SL.5.5

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Lupe Ruiz-Flores cover

Why Picture Books Are Important By Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Have you ever seen a child clutch a picture book to her/his chest like it’s a treasure? I have! Some of them beam, as they smell the freshness of a new book, perhaps the only book they’ve ever owned. I’ve participated in Reading Rock Stars at selected schools where after readings, my books are given free to the students. To see the eager, smiling faces of the students as I announce at the end of each reading that they will each be getting my book is indeed touching.

Picture books are all about storytelling with pictures, and who doesn’t like a good story, especially with visual images that make the story come alive. Picture books are important because they capture a young reader’s imagination and creativity. An engaging story in a picture book can make an emotional connection with a reader and this link to books might just make the reader a life-long lover of books.

With picture books, a young reader can discover how visual images and words interact to make a story and this might possibly lead to discussion. Provide a child the opportunity to read a picture book for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s a great way to get them starting in reading.

Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Lupe Ruiz-Flores

About Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Lupe Ruiz-Flores has always been a writer at heart. Born and raised in Southwest Texas, she’s also lived in Thailand and Japan. Her brothers and sisters in her large close-knit family are her best friends. She gets her love for storytelling from her grandmother and father. She’s had six bilingual picture books published. Four have been on the Tejas Star Book Award Reading List. Two have been on the Mamiverse blog list, “Latino Childrens’ Books You Should Know.” She’s been a featured author at the Texas Book Festival twice and has participated in Reading Rock Stars. Her website is www.luperuiz-flores.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Dance

Curriculum Connections

Books are treasure, so host a Book Treasure Hunt!

Any picture book that the children are not familiar with works best. For this example, we will use Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita by Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

Type out the text to Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita and cut the text so that it is on several slips of paper. Next, make some photocopies of a few illustrations from Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita on separate pieces of paper.

Hide the slips of paper containing the text and the illustrations around the room to be found during the Book Treasure Hunt.

Once all of the pieces are found, children should work to piece the story together. Through careful reading of the text and close viewing of the illustrations, see if they can find the correct story sequence. Then read Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita aloud to see if they were right.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.1,3,7; RL.1,3,7; RL.2.1,3,7; RL.3.1,3,7; RL.4.1,7

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Judy Schachner

by Dianne on November 21, 2014

Judy Schachner cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Judy Schachner
I don’t believe in miracles,
but I do believe in picture books.

A few years back a teacher wrote and told me about a student she had been working with for a while. The boy was nonverbal and unable to move but he had very expressive eyes. So for over two years they tried to teach him to communicate using something called eye gaze… but with no luck.

“We always have story time,” the teacher wrote “and he listens complacently. One day, when I was finished, he started making noises we had never heard before. We began to prepare for what we thought might be another seizure. Bracing ourselves for the worst, we noticed that his eyes kept darting over to the choice board then back to me. This continued until it became quite apparent that it was not a seizure, it was a request. When I held up the choice board he quieted, looked directly to the picture of your book, looked to me and attempted to laugh. Nearly in tears, realizing what had just happened, I praised him and read the story. He was laughing and smiling the entire time. That was the first time that he has EVER made an attempt at communication, let alone a request!”

No, I don’t believe in miracles,
but I do believe in picture books.

Judy Schachner

Judy Schachner

About Judy Schachner
Judy Schachner was born into an Irish Catholic working class family from New England. She can’t ever remember a time when she was not drawing and like most budding artists she doodled on everything, including her father’s bald head. She drew herself into stories where she was the smartest in her class and into a family where mothers lived to be a ripe old age.

Described by the New York Times as “…something like the James Joyce for the elementary school – set…”, Judy Schachner is the #1 New York Times Best Selling Author/Illustrator of over 24 books for children including Bits & Pieces, the Skippyjon Jones series, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman, and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E. B. White Read Aloud Award.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Cats & Dogs

Curriculum Connections

Snow White, Cinderella, The Three Pigs. These are all fairy tales that students can probably recite by heart.

In groups of 2-3, children will choose a fairy tale and retell the plot boiling it down to the following 8 steps:

Once upon a time _________________.
Along came trouble ________________.
First, __________________________________.
Then, _________________________________________.
Next, _________________________________________.
After that, _________________________________________.
Finally, _________________________________________.
They lived happily ever after.

Then, create a “live action illustration” or still picture of each of the 8 narration. The teacher should take a photograph of students in the image.

Using the iPad app “Explain Everything” or Voice Thread, students can add the 8 pieces of narration to the 8 digital images in order to create a slideshow of their retelling. Share the finished pieces with the rest of the group.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.2, RL.1.2,3; Writing standards: W.K.3, W.1.3, W.2.3; Speaking and Listening standards SL.K.2, 5, 6, SL.1.2, 5, SL.2.2, 4, 5

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Using the same 8 plot point prompts as above, retell a well-known fairy tale as a group. Encourage children to take turns acting out each plot point non-verbally.

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