Why Picture Books Are Important by Jan Peck

by Dianne on November 5, 2016


Why Picture Books Are Important by Jan Peck
What I love about picture books is the truth they tell and show.

In DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS, Mo Willem’s shows us how to say, “No!” to ridiculous requests, even if a pigeon (or a person) begs, tries to bribe you, or throws a wall-eyed hissy fit.

In LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson, we learn from the deep questions of the young boy CJ when he sees the disparity between his life and others, and we hear the wise answers of his grandma, who shows the vibrant, radiant, rich life they share despite living in poverty.

Picture books offer such a wonderful path to young children’s literacy and many times teach us adults, a thing or two if we are open to learning.

I’ll never forget how I fell in love with picture books when my son was two. I’d carry him to the library in a stroller, take him out, then fill the stroller with picture books. We’d do that every week. He became a big reader before he was three, and I became a writer of picture books.

Picture books feed your mind, your imagination, and your soul.


About Jan Peck
Jan is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the past Regional Advisor for the North Texas Chapter, and a former freelance editor for Boys’ Life Magazine. Jan has won awards for her books, including The Green Prize for children’s poetry for THE GREEN MOTHER GOOSE.

She is in big demand for her dynamic presentations, featuring her books and getting kids excited about reading (presented with the author, David R. Davis).

She resides in Fort Worth and is in the process of building “The Nest,” a small writing retreat for storytellers, musicians, authors, and artists.

Literacy Activity
November 5 – Fractured Fairy Tales / Tall Tales

“Picture books teach the universality of many experiences.” (from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Think of a fairy tale character that students are very familiar with. Write what if questions about the character and the story he/she/it belongs. For example, what if Goldilocks came upon a house owned by a family of cats? Or, what if there was one pig and three wolves? Come up with as many what if questions as possible. Ask students to choose two what if questions from the list and have them write down their answers. Pair them for sharing time as they read and listen to each other. Keep students’ write ups in a writing portfolio. This may be used for a future story writing activity.

Suggested readings:

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Trivizas, Eugene. illustrated by Oxenbury, Helen.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
The Golden Sandal : a Middle Eastern Cinderella by Rebecca Hickox. illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Ella Bella Ballerina and The Sleeping Beauty by James Mayhew
The Gingerbread Man Loose On the Fire Truck by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery

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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