Why Picture Books Are Important by Denise Fleming

by Dianne on November 16, 2011

Shout! Shout It Out! by Denise Fleming

Why Picture Books Are Important
Books were a big part of my childhood. I credit Feodor Rojankovsy’s illustrations in a childhood book, The Giant Golden Book of Cats Stories, for influencing my style. I loved the art in that book. I would study the pictures and run my hands over the pictures, sure I could feel the paint. Today, when I look at that book, I remember times and places and people from my childhood.

Picture books can be a solitary experience or a shared experience. The book read by grandma using voices is a different book when read by dad or auntie. The young child may “read” the pictures and throw in a few remembered phrases from an earlier reading. The readers bring the book alive and give it their own voice by adding sounds or changing words.

The physical books can become bridges for toy cars and trucks, barns for fluffy stuffed animals, and, stacked, they become a stool to reach the forbidden or a seat to sit on while having a snack. And we must not overlook the teething quality of non-toxic (picture) board books.

The illustrations in picture books are often the first art children see in the early years. They are museums for little ones. The rhythm of picture book texts aids speech and helps build vocabularies. Repeating refrains and saying silly words can bring forth a giggle along with a love of language. Some words are just plain fun to say over and over again! Picture books provide visual jokes that help little ones develop a sense of humor. Children can take armchair trips with picture books and see what animals in other countries look like, how children in those countries dress, and what they eat. Picture books reinforce what young ones already know and build on that knowledge.

Give a SHOUT! for the picture book. Long may it live!!

-Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming

About Denise Fleming
Denise Fleming is a true Midwesterner. She was born in Ohio and has lived her entire life in Ohio and Michigan. Her books reflect this, as there are no deserts or tide pools in her books. The first book Denise wrote and illustrated, In The Small, Small Pond, was published in 1991 by Henry Holt and Co. That book, and every book since, has been illustrated in pulp painting, a papermaking technique.

Purchase Shout! Shout it Out! by Denise Fleming from Better World Books, a Picture Book Month partner. You are “doing good” with every book you buy from Better World Books.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Samantha Berger November 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Right ON, Denise Fleming! Thank you for every incredible book you have put into this world. I adore your work, and your point of view on why picture books are important. This is terrific. I WILL give a shout for the picture book. Right now:


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