Why Picture Books Are Important by Jerry Pinkney

by Dianne on November 30, 2013

Jerry Pinkney book cover

The picture book is often a child’s first experience of looking at and reading art. Children learn to read pictures before they learn to sound out words or read full sentences, and for the very young, the partnership between pictures and text helps them take in and find pleasure in a narrative. It also stimulates a child’s desire to read words, and in this way, deciphering and understanding art becomes a small victory on the path to becoming a reader.

Given a child’s active imagination and inclination to dream, picture books support young readers’ own natural abilities. But these visual journeys also allow children to travel to places and meet people their imaginations could not get to otherwise; the characters and destinations that readers encounter help shape a sense of empathy for the unfamiliar and inspire comfort when a child can see that they are not alone.

To this day I fondly remember not only those narratives that fired up my imagination, but also the readers of those narratives and the places where stories were shared. Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1940s, the Pinkney household had few books. But oh, how the ones we owned were so deeply valued. They helped me transport myself to places not available in my everyday world.

Many years later, the power of the picture book rings especially true when I share stories with my six-year-old great-granddaughter, Zion. Opening a book, reading, and turning the pages can prompt a quizzical look, a smile, a burst of laughter, and so many questions from her. It is during these moments that I, as a bookmaker, understand that my efforts—as well as those of all who create books—are worthwhile and meaningful. And at that time, we are all on the same page.

Jerry Pinkney headshot

About Jerry Pinkney
Jerry Pinkney is one of the most heralded children’s book illustrators of all time. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honors and the winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award five times and the Coretta Scott King Honor four times, and has been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. He is also the first children’s illustrator elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Mercer Mayer

by Dianne on November 29, 2013

Mercer Mayer book cover

Mercer Mayer essay

Mercer Mayer headshot

About Mercer Mayer
Mercer Mayer began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1966, and since that time, he has published over 300 titles. Open almost any of the award-winning author/illustrator’s books, and out may pop dragons, cuddly monsters, wonderful creatures, and endearing critters. “Most of my books are about things that happened to me when I was a little kid,” says Mercer. “Now that I’m a big kid, I write about things that happen now, especially with my own children. They always help remind me of what it was like.” In 2007, Mr. Mayer was commissioned by Laura Bush to create the artwork used for the National Book Festival held on September 29 on the National Mall.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Wendi Silvano

November 28, 2013

The bookshelf in my bedroom that holds most of my hundreds of picture books broke about a month ago, toppling all the books into random piles on the floor. At first I was overwhelmed and angry at the thought of all the time it would take to reorganize them. But, as I picked them up, […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Candace Fleming

November 27, 2013

On a still chilly April night in 1995, my four year old son and I sat reading William Steig’s The Amazing Bone. “Later,” I read, “[Pearl] sat on the ground in the forest between school and home, and Spring was so bright and beautiful, the warm air touched her so tenderly she could almost feel […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Lee Harper

November 26, 2013

The first time I remember really loving books was in my next-door-neighbor Hannah Gubbler’s fallout shelter. The Cold War was going on strong, we were both five and Fox in Sox had just been published. I didn’t generally hang out with girls, but Hannah was pretty good at wiffle ball and could catch a frog […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by April Pulley Sayre

November 25, 2013

A picture book is a delicious form. There’s just enough time for a journey, a concept, a bit of push and pull of language. A picture book can refresh you, teach you, comfort you, and help you set sail into real life with inspiration. Fiction or nonfiction, a picture book gives you fresh eyes to […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Robert Quackenbush

November 24, 2013

Picture books are important because to me they are forever. My earliest memory of a picture book was my mother reading Denslow’s Night Before Christmas to my brother and me one Christmas Eve. The book had been my mother’s when she was a little girl. Denslow’s bold, woodcut-like illustrations were a tremendous influence on my […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Zarah Gagatiga

November 23, 2013

I learned to read through picture books. My mother borrowed picture books for me from the library where she worked. From these books, I came to understand that letters are symbols; that words are images; and that stories are visual metaphors that I can fit into my own context. The Cat In The Hat was […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Rebecca Emberley

November 22, 2013

There have always been and always will be, artists and storytellers. The earliest and most remote of human tribes drew pictures, told stories, sang, made music, and danced. We celebrate life in this way, and pass it down from generation to generation. In this most modern of times, we still connect to one another by […]

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Why Picture Books Are Important by David Adler

November 21, 2013

Picture books are the first books I read to my children. They introduced my children to the joy of being read to and the joy of reading. As an author, I think of picture books as novels with compelling characters and stories along with illustrations by a talented artist. I learned early on that while […]

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