Why Picture Books Are Important by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

by Dianne on November 5, 2013

Laura Vaccaro Seeger book cover

Ah, the page turn – the oh-so-wonderful page turn.

My very first memory of picture books is when I was a little girl, sitting beside my grandma as she read The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I was mesmerized by the story, the art, and – though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time – the page turn. I vividly remember not only turning each consecutive page, but I remember turning the pages back and forth and back again, checking for clues of what was to come. Even at that young age, I was absolutely fascinated that time and space could be manipulated – with a simple turn of the page, I could go back in time and when I did, I’d almost always discover something I’d missed before.

I am baffled that there exists the debate of “either/or” when it comes to picture books as actual books versus ebooks. It seems to me that we are talking about two very different things, and hopefully, both have their place in the world. I would love to see the ebook evolve into something that works with and/or complements the book, rather than compete with and try to be a facimile or skeuomorph of the physical book. Just as there are many ways in which the ebook can not duplicate the wonders of the physical book (i.e. trim size, page turn, tactile experience, etc.), similarly, there are ways in which the physical book can not duplicate the potential wonders of an electronic supplement to the story (i.e. animation, sound effects, interactivity,etc.) Here’s hoping!

Laura Vaccaro Seeger headshot

About Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and a 2-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award, winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book, and a 2-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. She is also the recipient of the Empire State Award for “Body of Work and Contribution to Children’s Literature.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

C.L. Murphy November 5, 2013 at 11:16 am

Great article! Love your books, Laura! It is an interesting time in publishing.

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Bob Allen November 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Picture Books are important because they make kids smile, laugh and giggle. They also create an instant bond between the reader and the child that can last a lifetime.

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Catherine Johnson November 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm

It’s going to be an interesting few years watching it all pan out. Great post!

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WriterSideUp November 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm

You’re right, Laura, in the way we are talking about two different entities. What I would rather see, than an actual picture book becoming an e-book, is to only have spin-offs or apps to complement the book. Kids (and adults), in general, are becoming more and more addicted to the fast-paced, high-stimulation electronics in their many forms. Slow and still is losing ground, but is probably more important now than it ever was, for that very reason.

It saddens me to think so many people want all their reading material on a drive rather than on a shelf, simply because it takes up less space or is convenient. Lose the charge, you also lose your library. And I think children, especially, should be able to pick any or many books from a shelf themselves, to look at and enjoy and not need a charged piece of electronics to endlessly tap and be exposed to more emfs. It upsets me when I see young children playing with ipads and smartphones, and especially upset when I see older children glued to them, playing games, oblivious to literally anything and everything around them for hours on end 🙁

These things do have their place, only most people think that place is “in their face” most of the time. I guess you can tell I’m a big advocate for actual, printed picture books (and novels, for that matter lol).

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