Why Picture Books Are Important by Mike Curato

by Dianne on November 17, 2015

Mike Curato book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Mike Curato
Picture books are important…

…because when Danny opened Locomotive, he got to go on his dream vacation across the country on a train in the 1800s.

…because Christine was in a bad mood, but when her mom read Crankenstein to her, it made her laugh.

…because when Marie opened Last Stop on Market Street, she saw people just like her.

…because Naresh always wondered where babies came from, so his dad read him The Baby Tree.

…because Suzanna felt like someone really understood what her life without sound is like when she read Wonderstruck.

…because after reading Have You Seen My Dragon? for the sixteenth time, Brandon could count to 10 all by himself!

…because when Jenny and Wanda read Frog and Toad, Jenny liked to play Frog and Wanda liked to play Toad. They read with silly frog voices.

…because after reading Louise Loves Art, Tom turned his bedroom into his own art gallery.

…because when Mihn read Where the Wild Things Are, his room turned into a forest, and he went on his own wild rumpus.

…because when Tina read Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, it made her cry, but in a good way.

…because when my mom used to read me The Little Red Caboose every night, I didn’t feel so bad being little and last.

Mike Curato headshot

About Mike Curato
The only thing Mike Curato loves more than eating sweets is writing and illustrating children’s books. His debut title, Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt BYR), released in 2014 to critical acclaim, has won several awards, and is being translated into ten languages. The series features a small cupcake-eating, polka-dotted elephant, living in late 1930s New York City. Three more Little Elliot books are forthcoming, including Little Elliot, Big Family (Oct 2015). He also illustrated Worm Loves Worm by JJ Austrian (Balzer + Bray, Jan 2016). Curato lives and works in Brooklyn.

Literacy Activity
Nov 17 ~ Elephants

“Picture books provide excellent scenarios for word problems, using a plot line and characters that students know and relate to.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Ever hear the phrase “big as an elephant?” Well, how big is an elephant? Students can explore weight and height measurement, as well as use comparison visualization, for both elephants and themselves. (If a kid is 3 feet tall and an elephant is 7 feet taller than the kid, how tall is the elephant? Or If one cupcake is 4 inches tall and Little Elliot is 10 cupcakes tall, how tall is Little Elliot?)

Suggested reading:
Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
Ellie by Mike Wu
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
The Saggy Baggy Elephant by K. Jackson and B. Jackson, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
Cinderellaphant by Dianne de Las Casas

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

C.L. Murphy November 17, 2015 at 9:56 am

All splendid reasons, Mike! We love your lil’ polka-dotted Elliot.


Ananthi Mathur November 19, 2015 at 5:50 am

That is such an amazing blog post! Some older people still love picture books!


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