Why Picture Books Are Important by Penny Parker Klostermann

by Dianne on November 7, 2015

Penny Parker Klosterman book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Penny Parker Klostermann
Just a few days after I’d been asked to be Picture Book Month Champion, I ran into an old friend. As we were catching up she asked what I was doing now days and I told her that I’m writing picture books. She smiled and said, “I love picture books. I was a reader to my children and now I’m a reader to my grandchildren.”

Later I as I recalled our conversation I thought it was interesting how she worded her response. I love how she said, “I was a reader to” and “now I’m a reader to.” Most people say, “I read to.” But by her saying “I was a reader to” it was as if she was claiming a title. The title—A Reader! I thought that was cool.

Next I thought about the way she smiled when she declared her love for picture books. To me this conversation highlighted why picture books are important.

The smile she smiled emphasized the emotional connection that A Reader and the listener have when a picture book is being shared. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling for both generations. And that warm and fuzzy feeling builds memories that elicit smiles for years to come.

The words that she spoke emphasized the role that picture books play in modeling the importance of reading and in building reading skills. Think about her words—A Reader to my children and my grandchildren. Can’t you just imagine her family tree? A family tree where each branch features a Reader generation handing down a picture book to the next generation. Reader great grandmothers and great grandfathers to Reader grandmothers and grandfathers to Reader mothers and fathers—an entire Reader ancestry.

And that’s why picture books are important.

Penny Parker Klosterman headshot

About Penny Parker Klostermann
Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Random House Children’s Books, 2015) and the upcoming, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale (Random House Children’s Books, Spring 2017). She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. Penny grew up in Colorado and now lives in Abilene, Texas – the Storybook Capital of Texas! Join Penny on her blog at A Penny and Her Jots.

Literacy Activity
Nov 7 ~ Fairytales

Picture books are wonderful tools for teaching story structure, key ideas, and details because of their simple linear plot lines and setting, with a few highly developed characters. (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classroom by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

The fairytale formula of what happens between “once upon a time” and “they lived happily ever after” is an excellent introduction to plot. Learn all about conflict, the rule of 3s, and climax with these familiar tales. Then, try your hand at writing a fairy tale of your own!

Suggested reading:
Cinderellaphant by Dianne de Las Casas
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar, illustrated by Troy Cummings
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola
The Little of Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Megan Lloyd
The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classroom 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 7, 2015 at 10:12 am

The little acorn doesn’t fall far from the reading family tree. Love this post, Penny, and your book is so fun!


:Donna November 10, 2015 at 12:26 am

Oh, I love this take on picture books, Penny. It couldn’t be truer. Thank you 🙂


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