Why Picture Books Are Important by Dianna Hutts Aston

by Dianne on November 11, 2013

Dianna Hutts Aston book cover

Recently, I was speaking at an elementary school, focusing on my non-fiction science series with Chronicle Books. After one presentation, two teachers called me aside privately. One said, “We just wanted to know if there was some traumatic event in your childhood that made you decide to write about nature.” I was taken aback. I’d never thought about why I write about eggs, seeds, rocks, butterflies, and more. Reaching back into early memories, I realized I began writing poems about nature at the age of nine, when my parents were divorcing. To a child, the break-up of a family tears at the heart and is often impossible to understand. It dawned on me that I began writing about nature because, in a world that often makes no sense at all, nature does. There is a perfect order and incomparable beauty in nature that’s soul-soothing. Nature is our most benevolent, welcoming, inspiring teacher. And that’s exactly what those two teachers, in the midst of their own personal tragedies, hoped I’d say. I thank them for eliciting an epiphany. It’s my hope that children will find inspiration and comfort in my books.

Dianna Hutts Aston headshot

About Dianna Hutts Aston
Dianna Hutts Aston is the author of many award-winning books, among them, An Egg Is Quiet (American Advancement for the Academy of Science/Suburu recipient 2007; International Reading Association’s Top Ten Books 2006); A Rock Is Lively; Dream Something Big/The Story of the Watts Towers; and The Moon Over Star, selected by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to read to charter school students, and by Astronaut Melvin Leland for African-American History Month (Coretta Scott King Honor book). She lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she observes and is inspired by purple ladybugs, jungle butterflies and rainbow rocks. She is also a hot air balloon and motorcycle enthusiast, and manages her foundation, The Oz Project, whose mission is to inspire underprivileged children to pursue their dreams. You can visit her at www.diannahaston.com or www.theozproject.org.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

C.L. Murphy November 11, 2013 at 11:23 am

Great post! Love your nature inspired books!


WriterSideUp November 12, 2013 at 12:52 am

Dianna, I have to say I was taken aback at how those teachers came to that conclusion! It never would’ve occurred to me, but perhaps there’s something they learned about psychological factors with children that made them even think that way. How insightful! I’m thinking maybe it was the WAY you spoke during your presentation that maybe led to them wondering that, because I’m sure there are many people fascinated by nature who didn’t necessarily have a traumatic childhood experience, right?

Anyway, I love the title of this book, and the cover is SO beautiful! Glad to have read about you, and thanks for YOUR insightful post 🙂


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