Why Picture Books Are Important by Carolyn Dee Flores

by Dianne on November 9, 2014

Carolyn Dee Flores cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Carolyn Dee Flores
Picture books ignite our souls.

I didn’t own every one of the books I read when I was little, but I FELT like I did. When I was really young, and read a book, and saw the pictures, and felt the pages, I remember thinking, “Wow, someone thought enough of me to do this, to make THIS for ME.” It made me feel important. Worthy. Like I had a future.

My very first book, actually, was only a picture book of sorts. It was The Doughnuts by Robert McCloskey – an illustrated chapter from my 10-volume set of The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls. My mother bought the set for me from a traveling encyclopedia salesman only months before I was born. I still carry a ragged photocopy of that drawing with me today – hundreds of piled-up doughnuts! What an impact! I grew up to become an illustrator.

To me, picture books are the ultimate art form because they combine music, text, and illustration.

It’s no coincidence that picture books are traditionally 32 pages long with 16 spreads, akin to 32 bars and 16-beat turnarounds – because this pacing feels intrinsically correct. Picture books are read aloud – over and over again – just like songs.

The evolution of wordless picture books that are meant to be read is unprecedented. Books like The Lion & the Mouse and Journey enthrall us with artistry AND storytelling.

I believe that a culture is reflected most vividly in its children’s literature. I believe humanity propagates through children’s literature. And I truly believe we are on the cusp of new golden age in children’s books.

There has never been any question that books change the world. It’s just that, well, children’s picture books – THEY change the world… MORE.

Carolyn Dee Flores

Carolyn Dee Flores

About Carolyn Dee Flores
Carolyn Dee Flores started off as a rock musician, and then became an illustrator. She has illustrated three books for children, including two bilingual picture books: Sing, Froggie, Sing / Canta, Rana, Canta; Rene Saldana Jr.’s Dale, Dale, Dale; Una Fiesta de Números / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers, and Peggy Caravantes’s Daughters of Two Nations. Awards include Skipping Stones Book Award 2014 and The Tejas Star Reading List 2014-2015. Visit her website at www.carolynflores.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Parties

Curriculum Connections

Just like in Dale, Dale, Dale/ Hit it, Hit it, Hit it: Una Fiesta de Numeros, your children can have a celebration with numbers – and music, too — with this “musical chairs with a twist” game.

You will need:
• Several chairs
• Flash cards of math equations of varying difficulty for age level
• Music (try using the traditional Mexican piñata song, “Dale Dale Dale” which can be found on Youtube.)

Just like in traditional musical chairs, start the music and tell the kids to walk around the chairs. Change things up by having them jump like a bunny or take big giant steps. When the music stops, everyone sits down as fast as they can.

Those who do not have a chair will need to answer a math problem in order to stay in the game. The difficulty of the math problem will depend on the level of the students. If the child answers the equation correctly they can stay in the game. If they do not, they must sit out.

On the next round, remove a chair or two.

Play continues until there is one child left.

Correlates to the Common Core Math standards: K.OA.5; 1.OA.1,6; 2.OA.1,2; 3.OA.7

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Norah Colvin November 9, 2014 at 4:24 am

I love that you consider picture books to be the ultimate art form! It’s so true. And I agree with the power of picture books to change the world by spreading humanity. I can judge the value placed upon children, education and humanity when I look at the picture book section of any book store. It must be large, welcoming and stocked with the most wonderful picture books!


Kelly Ramsdell Fineman November 9, 2014 at 9:38 am

I embrace and endorse the manifesto of sorts in the penultimate paragraph. And as a person who graduated college with a music major, I really love the tie-in to musical theory. Thanks so much, Carolyn!


toppin November 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I consider pictures books for kids like “art”, me too.
please have a quick look to my new books for children’s.


:Donna November 12, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Carolyn, what an ode to children’s picture books 🙂 I love the comparison to the beats in music. Perfect!


toppin November 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Jan C Watford November 13, 2014 at 12:14 am

Great blog. I will.share.


Angie Karcher November 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I really enjoyed your post about the importance of picture books! I love that the process often involves a child on a parents lap…reading and bonding with books!


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