Why Picture Books Are Important by Ame Dyckman

by Dianne on November 11, 2014

Ame Dyckman cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Ame Dyckman
When you’re a kid, everything in the universe seems bigger than you:

Shots at the doctor’s office.

Your portion of broccoli.

The dog on the corner whose chain might not hold.

Bigger is everywhere.

That’s why it’s so empowering for little ones to curl up even littler—

In a chair.

Under the tablecloth.

On a favorite lap.

And hold an entire tiny universe in their hands:

A picture book.

Inside, relatable characters experience:

Fears and friendships and failed first attempts.

Quirks and quests and even… quinoa. (Okay, not quinoa. Somebody get on that.)

Boogeymen and bravery and betterment and—


When a kid finishes a picture book, a bit of the tiny universe they just explored stays with them in this one.

And suddenly, this universe seems a tad more manageable.

After all, a sword is bigger than a needle.

A deep dark forest is bigger than broccoli.

And the dog on the corner?

He’s nothing compared to that monster in the closet.

(You know. They one that actually isn’t so scary once you get to know him.)

Now, a secret?

Picture books can be tiny universes for adults, too.

After a long day.

The wrong day.

A “Why’d I grow up?” day.

So grab the nearest picture book and get littler.

You’ll see.

Just no reading under the tablecloth for you.

I called dibs.

Ame Dyckman

Ame Dyckman

About Ame Dyckman
Ame Dyckman reads and writes picture books when she should be sleeping. She’s the award-winning author of Boy + Bot, Tea Party Rules, and the upcoming Wolfie the Bunny (February 17, 2015), and Horrible Bear (Spring, 2016). Ame lives in New Jersey with her family, her naughty-but-hysterical cat, and her book collection. Follow Ame on Twitter (@AmeDyckman), where she Tweets picture book reviews and pretty much everything that pops into her head.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Robots

Curriculum Connections

It doesn’t matter if a kid is big or little, everyone deserves to make up the rules every once in a while. With a large piece of paper, some crayons/markers, a die and some imagination kids can design their own board games with their own wacky rules.

Using Tea Party Rules as inspiration, create a board game in which Bear tries to reach a plate of cookies.

Create a start space, a finish place—with a delicious plate of cookies—and several hazards along the way (baths, fancy clothes, etc) that can be either taken directly from the book or new.

Add a stack of small cards to create forfeits or challenges to go alongside the game. Lastly, don’t forget to include written instructions on how to play the game.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2a,4, W.4.2a,4

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Help children create an original version of “Mother May I?”, “What Time is it Mr. Fox?” or “Red Light, Green Light” in which they are Bear and the finish line is a plate of cookies. Be sure to add some fun, wacky and unique rules.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Rose Stanton November 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I just adore everything about Ame–especially the way she thinks!


C.L. Murphy November 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I’d say Ame RULES with her whimsy!


Lauri Fortino November 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I agree! Love Ame’s books too!


Lauri Meyers November 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Excellent post Ame (just like reading one of your PBs), but, shhhh! It’s not quinoa. It’s “party rice.”


michelle eastman November 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm

It is so easy to forget how small a child can feel among all of the BIGS around them. I especially love how picture books can simultaneously make the LITTLES feel BIG and allow we BIGS to be small again.



Creations By Mit November 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Great post, Ame!!! You really “get it” & it shows!! 🙂


Tina Cho November 12, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Very fun post, Ame! Thanks for this reminder about pbs!


Jennifer Kelley Reed November 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Well said, Ame! Thanks for reminding us how important Picture Books are for all of us!


:Donna November 12, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Ame, I just love you so much 🙂 I mean, who else would explain PBs this way? 🙂 And I’m sure it won’t be long before we’ll be seeing “How Quinoa-Craving Nincompoops Saved the Universe” on bookstore shelves 🙂


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