Why Picture Books Are Important by Rukhsana Khan

by Dianne on November 16, 2015

Rukhsana Khan book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Rukhsana Khan
Picture books are a succinct way of presenting a story, an experience, or a concept in a format that children can “get.”

They may seem simple and short but when done well, children will absorb the components of conflict, drama and its resolution.

And they’re just as important for parents because in this frenetic lifestyle, they force us to slow down, have some cuddle time, and live in the moment of the page turn, and the discovery of what will happen next.

Picture books develop a child’s awareness of the world and stimulate their brain and language centers!

Even when they’ve heard a story many times, when children listen to the rhythm of sentences, they absorb grammar and syntax all while feeling secure that in their limited experience of the world, this is one moment where they know the outcome.

Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

I couldn’t agree more. Even when some of the fairytales become violent, they can be teachable moments, and lead to a discussion of how society has changed. Parents need to remember there are many types of picture books and each kind appeals to a different type of reader. Toddlers like concept books, nursery rhymes and simple fairytales that have been polished by the tongues of generations. Then they graduate to humorous stories with a twist and moral religious stories that will give them a foundation of what is right and wrong. Then will come the story books that show how a character changes and grows. And then there are the biographies.

Picture books allow your child to experience the world vicariously within the safety of your arms and the coziness of your lap.

Rukhsana Khan headshot

About Rukhsana Khan
Rukhsana Khan is an award-winning author and storyteller. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan and immigrated to Canada at the age of three. She grew up in a small town in southern Ontario and was ruthlessly bullied. Drugs were against her religion (so was suicide) so she turned to books and became hopelessly addicted to the written word! When a grade eight teacher told her she was a writer, she thought the idea was crazy. Writers were white people. They were from England and America.To be ‘sensible’ she graduated from college at the top of her class as a biological-chemical technician. When she couldn’t get a decent job she decided to be ‘unsensible’ and become a writer. It took eight years to get her first book published. Now she has twelve books published (one of which was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 100 greatest children’s books in the last 100 years). She lives in Toronto with her husband and family.

Literacy Activity
Nov 16 ~ Food

“Picture books provide context, which supports developing understandings of mathematical concepts such as measurement and time.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Cooking and baking is essentially math. So cook up some tasty fun using picture books about food. Learn to read recipes, measure dry and wet ingredients, and using timers all while creating delicious creations.

Suggested reading:
A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
The Cajun Cornbread Boy 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!

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