Why Picture Books Are Important by Jill Esbaum

by Dianne on November 18, 2014

Jill Esbaum book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Jill Esbaum
Picture books aid in a child’s emotional development.

I clearly remember my first literary crush. The more I learned about him, the more firmly he wedged himself into my soft little five-year-old heart. He was cute. He was helpful. He was… gray.

Horton the elephant helped me learn the meaning of faithful.

“I meant what I said
and I said what I meant…
An elephant’s faithful,
one hundred per cent!”

He also helped develop within me the concept of empathy. I was right there with him, perched atop that bendy branch, unprotected in thunderstorms, shivering through snow and ice, enduring nasty jeers from others, refusing to abandon that egg even when carted off to be humiliatingly displayed. (The only downside of my empathy toward Horton was that I never was able to warm up to one of my real-life kindergarten classmates, a girl eerily similar to Mayzie in personality and deportment.)

Picture books take kids to new places, expose them to other cultures, introduce them to new ideas and kindred spirits. They can expand a child’s love of nature, comfort those who feel alone, cheer them when they’re down, allow them to escape their own reality for a short time and live inside somebody else’s life. Empathize with – and crush on – a faithful elephant.

Still love you, buddy.

Jill Esbaum

About Jill Esbaum
Jill Esbaum is the award-winning author of many picture books, including her newest, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! (Dial, illustrated by Gus Gordon), and I Hatched! (Dial, illustrated by Jen Corace). She also enjoys writing a variety of nonfiction books for National Geographic Kids, including the popular Angry Birds Playground series. Jill lives on a farm in Iowa. Learn more at www.jillesbaum.com and www.picturebookbuilders.com

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Cows

Curriculum Connections

Like Horton in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches an Egg, Nadine in Jill Esbaum’s I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! takes the readers on quite an adventure.

What are some moments that make Nadine’s story such a fun one to read? Is there anything we can learn from Nadine? Is there anything we would do differently from Nadine? What would you tell Nadine, if you could?

Children can create a “crush” card for Nadine celebrating what they like best about her and her story. Be sure to clearly write why they think Nadine is “crushable” and include artwork, as well.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.1,2,3; RL.1.1,2,3; RL.2.1,3; Writing standards: W.K.3; W.1.3; W.3.3

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Throw a “My Literary Crush” party! Children can share their favorite books, dress like their favorite characters and celebrate other’s favorite characters.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Ramsdell Fineman November 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

Oh, Jill, how I loved this post, largely because Horton Hatches An Egg was one of my favorites, too, and I remember that quote so well and associate it with my father reading the book to me.


Jill Esbaum November 20, 2014 at 7:54 am

Thanks, Kelly. My dad’s the one I remember reading it to me, too!


:Donna November 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Beautifully said, Jill 🙂 I’ve been a huge “Seuss” fan since childhood, too, and always feel a sort of warm “rush” whenever I hear someone else loves his work, too—especially NEW little readers 🙂


Jill Esbaum November 20, 2014 at 7:58 am

Thanks, Donna. The first book I remember reading on my own was Dr. Seuss, too. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. 🙂


Leave a Comment

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: