Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathi Appelt

by Dianne on November 15, 2012

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathi Appelt
When I was a new mother, with two small boys, I felt completely unprepared for motherhood. Here I was, faced with the most important job of my life and I had no idea what to do. Somehow, I inherently knew that I couldn’t do too much damage with a book.

What I discovered was the “magic circle.” That is, whenever I sat down with my boys, it was as if we had entered an enchanted realm. The trials and tribulations of the outside world slipped away. There was only the three of us, and together we entered the world of the book. It just felt entirely magical. In the evenings, when my husband was home, he joined the circle as well.

My sons are grown now, but I still feel that the picture books that I read with them when they were small saved us with their intimacy, their adventure, their jubilation. Whenever our wits were at an end, when small jealousies and large injuries occurred, we were always able to turn to the worlds of the books that we shared.

Picture books capped our days. We started off with them and we ended with them.

Now, whenever I’m working on a picture book story, I always recall my family’s magic circle, and I can’t help but hope that some other family or classroom is creating a circle with my story. How great would that be?

Kathi Appelt

About Kathi Appelt
Kathi Appelt is the author of over thirty books for children and young adults. Her award winning picture book titles include Bubba and Beau, Best Friends, and Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers, a picture book biography of Lady Bird Johnson. She is also the recipient of the Newbery Honor, as well as a finalist for the National Book Award for her novel, The Underneath. She lives with her husband, Ken, in College Station, TX.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Younger November 15, 2012 at 7:50 am

I am now reading to my eight week old grandson , and he seems to be listening and looking. Talk about feeling the magic!


Laura Anne Miller November 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

What a beautiful picture you describe of the ‘magic circle.’ I think that is a scene repeated throughout homes across the world and truly honors the authors and illustrators. Thank you, Kathi.


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