Why Picture Books Are Important by Carmen Oliver
Anything is possible when you are a reader, and I think picture books open children up to a world of possibilities through their pages. They see beyond their backyards and begin to believe in the magic of storytelling and that there are no barriers they can’t overcome. Whether it’s taking a journey or whisked away on an adventure or lost in a fantasy, it gives kids freedom, empowerment, and a safe space to play, learn and be entertained. It also lays a foundation for a love of reading that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The Little Engine That Could inspired me to follow my dreams. To never give up. To believe in the unthinkable. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can. Dr. Seuss led me to Shel Silverstein which led me to Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. The Bear Detectives drew me to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys which lured me to Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark. Picture books are gateways and passageways and portals that carry us wherever we want to go.
In a world where everything moves at such a fast place, picture books remind us to slow down and savor time reading with someone we love. To tuck into a favorite reading place or share a lap and be transported and transformed. And in doing so, picture books create memories we will have for eternity. Picture books did that for me.
About Carmen Oliver
Carmen Oliver is the author of picture book Bears Make the Best Reading as well as the forthcoming nonfiction picture book The Favio Chavez Story. In 2014, she founded the Booking Biz, a boutique style agency that brings award-winning children’s authors and illustrators to schools, libraries, and special events. She also teaches picture book writing at the Writing Barn and loves speaking at schools, conferences and festivals. Growing up in Canada, she saw many bear species along the hiking trails but always kept a respectful distance. She and her family now call the wide-open spaces of Texas home.
November 1 – Bears
“Picture books offer a narrative and humanization to several scientific concepts”. (from the Picture Book Month Teachers Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classroom by Marcie Colleen, 2013)
Before reading aloud a book about bears, make a word map or semantic web about it. Ask students to fill in each bubble with a word or phrase that is associated with the word bears. This activity prepares students for the read aloud and will allow them to connect what they know to what they will learn.
Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury, illustrated by Michael Rosen
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood, illustrated by Audrey Wood
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
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!