Why Picture Books Are Important by Brett Helquist
Why are picture books important? I’d like to take that a little further and ask: Why are pictures in books important? I can only answer this question for myself. Reading was not easy for me. I had no trouble learning how to read, I just had trouble motivating myself to read. I had little interest in reading a story unless there was a strong picture to catch my interest. Good pictures always caught my eye and made me want to know the story behind the picture
Pictures added so much to the experience of reading a story. A well imagined picture invited me into the characters’ world and made me want to explore it in my imagination, to find out what was under that rock or behind that tree. Pictures helped me begin to create my own stories. It has been fun to watch my daughter learn to read. Long before she could read a word she told many stories of her own just by looking at the pictures in her favorite books. Her stories were often more fun than the story told in the text.
Pictures not only enhanced the reading experience but helped me to learn to read. When I struggled with a word or a passage, I could always use the pictures to help me figure it out. This became even more important as books became more complex. Later in life, I even taught myself to read Chinese by reading comic books. I could not have done it without those pictures.
I love picture books and books with pictures. I truly believe there’s not a book out there that wouldn’t be a bit better with a good picture or two.
About Brett Helquist
Brett Helquist’s celebrated art has graced books from the charming Roger, the Jolly Pirate and Dickens’s timeless Christmas Carol to the frightening Scary Stories collections by Alvin Schwartz and the alarming New York Times bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family.