Why Picture Books are Important by Adam Rex
I would consider the importance of picture books to be self-evident if it weren’t for the constant keening of an industry lamenting their premature death. I like to imagine picture books hiding up in the rafters at their own funeral, enjoying all the nice things folks are saying about them, before leaping down and revealing that look–picture books have been just fine all along. Then picture books would trick YA into whitewashing a fence maybe.
But, because it seems to need saying: picture books are important because people of every age deserve a medium whose primary aim is not to educate, or cajole, or sermonize; but rather to connect, to touch and effect, and even to entertain. For the youngest readers they’re windows, if you can forgive that, through which the child can explore beyond himself in a shared space with a caregiver. To older children they’re like soul food; a course of their own that’s nourishing and warm and entirely apart from the roughage of more pedantically challenging fare.
Kids deserve a medium that makes them feel seen and understood. But which might also make them feel more than they understand.
About Adam Rex
Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He was neither the smart one (older brother) or the cute one (younger sister), but he was the one who could draw. Later he got a BFA from the University of Arizona, and met his physicist wife Marie (who is both the smart and cute one). Adam and Marie live in Tucson, where Adam draws, paints, writes, spends too much time on the Internet, and listens to public radio. His picture book Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich, a collection of stories about monsters and their problems, was a New York Times Bestseller. 2007 saw the release of his first novel, The True Meaning Of Smekday, which will become a major motion picture in 2014. His latest novel is Unlucky Charms, part two of the Cold Cereal Saga. He also has a new picture called Chu’s Day, written by Neil Gaiman. Garlic and crosses are useless against Adam. Sunlight has been shown to be at least moderately effective. A silver bullet does the trick. Pretty much any bullet, really.