Why Picture Books Are Important by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

by Dianne on November 4, 2016


Why Picture Books Are Important by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
As a young child, “Bed in Summer” by Robert Louis Stevenson, was a poem I listened to, then read, and re-read again many times over. This poem remains one of my earliest memories of connecting with a character — a character whose life I envisioned and whose world filled and spurred my imagination.

Entering his seemingly familiar bedtime ritual, I could see ‘the birds still hopping on the tree’; I could hear the sound of ‘grown-up people’s feet’ in the text of the poem. The illustrations at once allowed me to pore over the visible treasures of his bedroom, and then to freely imagine the rooms, the streets, the world that stretched out beyond what my eye could see. In the union of these two art forms known as the picture book, what may appear finite on the printed page is anything but.

Instead, picture books are catalysts, sending the imagination soaring into motion. And whether we are held snugly in someone’s arms and being read to, or we are deciphering text on our own, or maybe, just maybe, creating our own story as we turn the pages, picture books invite us to step into another’s world – best of all – at our own pace. And when we experience that slice of life through a character’s eyes, the seeds of empathy are planted.

When we find the familiar, we may be humbled to discover we are a strand of a great universal fabric and a shared conversation; we are part of humanity. When we find the unknown, we have a safe harbor from which to learn, experiment, hope, dream, and dare. Whether picture books help us find our place in the world, or spur us to envision a world we wish could be, the possibilities, like our imaginations, are limitless.

(And who among us doesn’t recall Sal’s ‘kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk’ each time we drop blueberries into our bucket?)


About Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of Biscuit, the popular bestseller used to launch the My First I Can Read Series from Harper Collins, now celebrating its 20th anniversary. With over twenty-one million books in print, Biscuit has been deemed a modern classic and has been translated into numerous languages worldwide.

Once a professional dancer, Alyssa’s love of dance is embodied in her series, Katy Duck, illustrated by Henry Cole. Her newest picture book, Tulip and Rex Write a Story explores the joys of writing for the youngest author. She lives with her family in a small cozy (book-filled) cottage in Hastings on Hudson, New York.

Literacy Activity
November 4 – Dogs

“Picture books provide an emotional core which helps connect the student to the content.”(from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

As a class, collaborate in creating a piece of art work to represent the characters and events in the story. It can be a collage, a sculpture, a painting, an installation art or a class picture book!

Suggested readings:

Madame Martine by Sarah S. Brannen
What’s Your Favorite Animal? by Eric Carle
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, pictures by Margaret Bloy Graham
Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell

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!

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