Why Are Picture Books Important by Laura Murray
Let’s play a game!
I’ll share a story… or a little piece of many stories. Can you guess what books they are from?
• “Crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow. He walked with his toes pointing out, like this: He walked with his toes pointing in, like that.”
• “A mystery! A riddle! A puzzle! A quest! This was the moment that Ada loved best.”
• “A told B, and B told C, ‘I’ll meet you at the top of the Coconut tree.’”
• “Three little bears.
One with a light. One with a stick. One with a rope.
A spooky old tree.
Do they dare go into that spooky old tree?
Yes, they dare!”
• “Mom says some days are just like that. Even in Australia.”
• “Then, one by one, the trees began to drop their leaves. But not Little Tree. He just hugged his leaves tight.”
• “We’ve got to get rid of that bully!
We’re tired of letting him rule.
We must put an end to this terrible trend.
Let’s train at that new ninja school!”
Did you recognize these picture books?
If so, it’s because so many of us have personal bonds with picture books. We may remember how we felt as we snuggled with a parent long ago or when we read it aloud to our child or a group of children, marveling at their reactions. Picture books take us on a journey through story and art that makes us FEEL something – love, laughter, understanding, kindness, anger, fear, sadness, belonging, curiosity, and so much more. When we explore those feelings through books, we learn about friendship, empathy, courage, tenacity, acceptance, patience, and persistence in situations that are familiar, or ones we can only imagine.
When we share picture books with our children and students, we are not only growing strong reading & literacy skills, we are growing a stronger, more empathetic, and understanding world.
Thank you for reading with your children! It truly does make a difference…in so many ways!
(Oh, and here are the titles from above, in case you’d like to add them to your “to-share” list.)
• The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
• Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty, Illustrations by David Roberts
• Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault, Illustrations by Lois Ehlert
• The Berenstain Bears and The Spooky Old Tree, by Stan & Jan Berenstain
• Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst, Illustrations by Ray Cruz
• Little Tree, by Loren Long
• The Three Ninja Pigs, by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrations by Dan Santat
About Laura Murray
Laura Murray is the author of The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (GP Putnam’s Sons), and his continuing adventures, The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck, The GB Man Loose at Christmas, The GB Man Loose at the Zoo, and The GB Man & the Leprechaun Loose at School (2018.) This award-winning, humor-filled rhyming series was inspired by a Gingerbread Man who managed to escape from her classroom every single school year when she was a teacher.
Laura lives with her family of mischief makers in northern Virginia. Visit her online at www.LauraMurrayBooks.com for activities, teacher’s guides, & school visit information. You can also find her on Facebook or on Twitter at @LauraMurrayBook.
November 24 – Holiday
“Picture books place a human face to historical, political, environmental and cultural events.” (from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).
Each year different holidays are observed around the world. Their traditions and cultures are as diverse as the people who celebrate them. Conduct research on holidays around the world to share. Maybe even find a way to celebrate in the Classrooms.
The House that Witchy Built by Dianne de Las Casas, illustrated by Holly Stone-Barker
Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Dia de Los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon
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!