Why Picture Books Are Important by Kelly Light

by Dianne on November 29, 2014

Kelly J. Light cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kelly Light
Picture books are like an Imax movie to a little kid. Think about it. Picture books fill their field of vision. Left arm all the way across to right arm… they immerse the child in the story, the characters and the action through the illustrations. Literary cinemascope they can hold in their hands.

Maybe, just maybe… picture books are even better than that! Because the little kid gets to be the director, making the decisions about the pacing and flow. Are they lying down? Leisurely panning around the double page spreads? Are they kneeling over the book, looking down… excitedly flipping to the last page, needing to know how it ends? Where is the focus going to be in this scene? Is it the main character or is it what is going on in the background? They choose how long before the edit to the next shot of the page turn. They become the actors and the foley artists, making sounds and doing voices. They are in control of their own sensory experience. They bring themselves to the book in a way that as a reader they may never do again in their lives.

They are active participants with a picture book. We know this because when we get a chance to stand in front of a room of our picture book readers, they tell us things about our books that we did not even realize ourselves. Their choices about our books make our books better. First, better for them, their very own “director’s cut’… and then next, better for us, when we realize we have left that space for them to take over in the director’s chair.

I know I would climb into bed at 8 o’clock in my footie pajamas to read And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and smush into my fluffy pillow, hug my stuffed Scotty dog, reach over and pull the little chain on my little white milk glass lamp with the frilly pink shade that sat on my night table and just as my Mom shut off the overhead bedroom light… CLICK! …spotlight on…. open to the first spread and say….”Action!”

About Kelly Light
Kelly Light grew up down the shore surrounded by giant roadside dinosaurs, cotton candy colors and skee ball sounds. Schooled on Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday Funny pages, she picked up a pencil and started drawing and never stopped. Now living in New York, she is the author and illustrator of the picture book Louise Loves Art and the coming series about Louise’s adventures in art! She is also the illustrator of the two chapter books series, The Quirks and Elvis and the Underdogs, the upcoming Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi. Find her on the web at kellylight.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Art

Curriculum Connections

In Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light, Louise says that art is “my imagination on the outside.” It’s time to let those imaginations run wild!

As a group, watch the book trailer for Louise Loves Art, located on Kelly Light’s website. Then in groups of 3-4, using a variety of visuals and audio, children can create their own movie trailer for the book, being sure to include their own thoughts and feelings about the book for future readers.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.2.5; SL.3.5; SL.4.5; SL.5.5

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Children can create a poster advertising Louise Loves Art and encouraging others to take the book out of the library.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

:Donna November 29, 2014 at 12:45 am

Kelly, such a fitting, perfect simile! And I can picture you, so vividly, all cuddly and reading Seuss by “spotlight.” 😀 Just love this! Thanks!


Susan Detwiler November 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I love this post… it really paints a picture!


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