Why Picture Books Are Important by Jane Yolen

by Dianne on November 11, 2011

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen

Why Picture Books Are Important
I have always believed that literature begins in the cradle — the poems we say to the babies, the stories we tell them — prepare them to become part of the great human storytelling community. We humans are the only creatures in the known universe who make and remake our world with story.

So the best books for children — books like Where the Wild Things Are, Grandfather Twilight, Make Way for Ducklings, and A Snowy Day to name a few of my many, many favorites, become part of the listening child’s literary vocabulary and the way he or she constructs and understands the world.

Not to read books to our children is to stunt their intellectual growth as surely as if you stunt their physical growth by never giving them any protein. We put parents in jail for starving their children. I feel the same way about parents who starve their children intellectually.

-Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen

About Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. She has written over 300 books, has won numerous awards (The Emperor and the Kite and Owl Moon are both Caldecott Honor Books), and has been given six honorary doctorates in literature. Yolen is also a songwriter, a poet, and a professional storyteller. Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts.

Purchase Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen from Better World Books, a Picture Book Month partner. You are “doing good” with every book you buy from Better World Books.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Dulemba November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I so agree! We must fill our children’s brains just as surely as their tummies! 🙂 e


Julie Hedlund November 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm

So well said, as always! Thanks for the ammunition!


Stephanie November 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

What a great perspective! Our family grew up with books. And when I provided childcare in my home, I borrowed stacks of picture books from the local library. Many of them I want to buy for myself. Congrats on your achievements, by the way. You are an inspiration.


Angela DiTerlizzi November 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

As always, Jane, so beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more.


Karen Gray Ruelle November 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

Yes! I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly. Our stories shape us, define us and open our minds to all the possibilities and beauty of our lives. Let’s hear it for picture books!


Corinne Fenton December 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I cannot imagine a world without hardcover picture books.
Last week I visited a school in far remote Australia where I watched as a little indiginous girl ran her fingers over the pages of my picture book ‘Flame Stands Waiting.’
Her fingers paused and touched Flame. She took her time to be carried away with him. You can’t do that with a screen based book.


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