Why Picture Books Are Important
Greetings! Welcome to my home. Do you have time for a tour? Excellent! Let’s start in the garage. Take a peek inside my car. It resembles a small bookmobile, right? Look through those blue library bags crammed full of new picture books. (Isn’t the scent of a new book intoxicating?) Examine the shape of Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Snow. Take a moment to read the picture book with the adorable bear shouting, YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! by Peter Brown. Don’t hold back your laughter. My students find comfort in Kate Messner’s gentle picture book, and laugh uncontrollably at Peter Brown’s spot-on humor.
It’s time to visit my home office. It’s up the stairs, the first door on the left. Before you enter, I must confess that the skills learned at Dominican University did not transfer over into my personal life. Ready? Check out the piles of picture books stacked along the perimeter of the room. Do you hear the bookshelves whispering, “Read me. Read me. Read me.?” Spend a few hours going through the stacks of signed picture books. I highly recommend spending extra time with Little Chicken’s Big Day, Dotty, and The House That Witchy Built.
When you’re done in here, please roam the rest of the house at your own pace. You’ll probably ask yourself, “What’s up with all the picture books, Mr. Schu?” The answer is simple: I am truly, madly, deeply in love with picture books. Picture books change lives. My life is richer and better because of them. I read 150-200 picture books every month in order to play book matchmaker with students, co-workers, friends, and, yes, even strangers. I see firsthand how a combination of text and illustration help create the perfect reading experience for my students. They know the “E” section is for EVERYONE. As a very wise fourth grader always says, “Picture books rock!”
Please let yourself out when you’re done exploring. Borrow whatever you wish. I’m off to Anderson’s Bookshop to discover new books. I’ll even give away a few in honor of International Picture Book Month. Happy Reading!
About Mr. Schu
John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) is a teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. John graduated from St. Xavier University with a Masters in Teaching and Leadership and from Dominican University with a Masters in Library and Information Science. He has taught English in Seoul, South Korea, and is starting his eighth year at Brook Forest. John serves on ALSC’s Children and Technology committee, AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, and two readers’ choice award committees. He was a judge for School Library Journal‘s 2011 Trailee Awards and recently became a FableVision Ambassador. In his spare time (ummm…what’s that?) he reads, travels, and blogs at Watch.Connect.Read. and Two Libraries, One Voice. John is a 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.