Why Picture Books Are Important by Pat Mora
“Tell me a story.” “Cúentame un cuento.” In many languages in our diverse country, people of all ages savor the rhythm and repetition of listening to a family memory, a funny incident, an oft-repeated tale. We are the world’s story-telling and story-making creatures. As far as we know, coyotes and lizards don’t say the magical phrase, “Once upon a time.”
Picture books add the unique visual delight that anchors us to the page. I well remember my pleasure at black-and-white book illustrations when I was young. Seeing them transports me back to my room, to my family house in El Paso. I also remember sharing picture books with my children, the books that still make us swoon a bit, carrying us back to our former selves, to our private book pleasure, to our shared bookjoy.
We often encourage children to write and illustrate their own books, and picture books are their first models, providing a vast array of styles to prompt the creativity of young writers and illustrators, and of older ones too.
I love the picture book form because like poetry, it challenges us to compress, to choose our words and images carefully and wisely. In my picture book, The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe, a grandmother tells two girls a cherished Mexican legend. The art creates a new vision, a new path into an old story.
We belong together, picture books and me. I hope that by writing them and being graced by wonderful illustrators, I’m sharing bookjoy.
About Pat Mora
Pat Mora loves family, the desert, reading, writing, and sharing bookjoy. The proud mother of three grown children, she writes for adults, teens, and has written many award-winning books for children. The founder of Día, El día de los niños / El día de los libros, Children’s Day / Book Day, Pat was born in El Paso, Texas, lived in the Cincinnati area savoring the trees, and now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.