Why Picture Books Are Important by Daniel Kirk

by Dianne on November 6, 2013

Daniel Kirk book cover

I’m the kind of person who is always happiest when immersed in a story. It might be a story I’m writing, or it might be another author’s book I’m reading; it might be a movie, a TV show or a song …as long as there’s a story involved, you’ve got my attention! But there is something about the illustrations, and turning the pages of books, that creates a special kind of magic for me.

As a kid, I owned dozens and dozens of Little Golden Books, which I treasured for their artwork and that bright, shiny golden spine. That little strip of gold was there to remind me that books are valuable and precious, that books are treasure. Every night my dad would read to me, and with a background in radio broadcasting, he had a golden voice that was perfect for storytelling. I was also an amateur magician when I was a kid. I realize today that as an author, I am also a magician—weaving a spell, making something appear from nothing, doing my best to create surprise, awe and wonder.

Picture books give the reader a chance to be a part of the story, controlling the pace by deciding when to turn the page, when to linger over a special word or sentence, when to leap ahead or jump back in the story, and when a book is really good, to turn back to page one and start reading all over again. In real life, we can’t do these things. That’s why books are magic! They let us control reality, push at its edges, take leaps in time and distance, and experience thrills and danger in a safe, controllable way. And there are always more worlds to discover, more people to meet, more lessons to learn, in a book.

Daniel Kirk headshot

About Daniel Kirk
Daniel Kirk is the author and illustrator of thirty-five books for children, including his popular series of Library Mouse books. Library Mouse is a Booklist Editor’s Choice book, an Education.com Essential gift, a Parenting Magazine Best Mom-Tested Book of the Year, a Kansas Reading Association Award Nominee, a Booksense pick, winner of the NAPPA Gold Award, the 2011 Young Hoosiers award, and a Choose to Read Ohio choice for 2013-2014. Booklist gave Library Mouse a starred review and said: “Put a mouse in a library and you have a sure seller; make the mouse a writer and you have a sure-fire hit… It’s a show stopper. Ready-made to introduce a class to writing activity…this book is fun, fun, fun.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Smart November 6, 2013 at 7:33 am

The Library Mouse sounds great. I love Little Golden Books – I have many, many, many! I also love reading and writing books because they take us on adventures.

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WriterSideUp November 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Daniel, that was so beautifully said. I, too, am in love with the “story” and storytelling, in general—when it’s a GOOD story 🙂 Of course, picture books stand alone in the way you describe, and yes, there is that wondrous, controllable, “magical” quality that can’t be experienced any other way 🙂

P.S. I love Library Mouse 😀

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