Why Picture Books Are Important by Verla Kay

by Dianne on November 21, 2016


Why Picture Books Are Imporatnat by Verla Kay

There’s nothing quite like sitting down with a child in your lap and reading a picture book together. It’s a truly “bonding experience” for both the child and the person reading the story. Picture books instill a love of reading in children that lasts their entire lives, allowing them to explore worlds they could never have imagined otherwise.
Little children who wiggle and squirm for words alone, will often be captivated by those same words when they are accompanied by enchanting artwork – pictures of children and animals that transport them into another dimension – the wonderland of picture books.
Personally, I especially enjoy historical picture books because they not only engage readers with interesting stories, but they also have a special flavor of their own – opening windows into the past, to real places children have never been and will never see in any other way.
This is especially important to me because when I was a child, I hated history. I believed it was nothing but names of people I didn’t know (and didn’t want to know!) and dates I didn’t care about and couldn’t remember anyway. History was just plain boring. It wasn’t until I discovered that history was actually filled with incredible stories about really interesting people that I fell in love with history.
Lucky, lucky are the children who live in today’s world because today even the youngest of children can fall in love with history when it’s told in a fun way through illustrated stories. 
Every time I sit down with a young child in my lap and read a picture book to them and both of us are transported by the magic of illustrated stories, I thank my lucky stars that picture books are so very important today – in all of our lives!


About Verla Kay
Verla Kay lives with her husband in Washington state. Her website www.verlakay.com was twice named in Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers. She created and runs a message board – theBlueboard – which has become an “icon” for children’s writers and illustrators on the internet. In 2013, the Blueboard was acquired by SCBWI.
Verla Kay was an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature teaching their basic “How to Write for Children” course.  Since retiring from ICL, she has continued writing and giving back to children’s writers and illustrators by running SCBWI’s message board – her former Blueboard.

Literacy Activities
November 21 – History

“Although fiction picture books provide fantastical elements, these stories provide wonderful springboards for conversation about fact vs. fiction and can spark the desire for further research.” (from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Choose illustrations and sentences in the picture book. Ask students if the sentence and illustration is fact or fiction. Take note of their answers. Use it as your research activity so that on the following day, you can show them results of your research taken from resources in the library. This is an opportunity to verify and validate factual information from fiction.

Suggested reading:
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie de Paola
Homespun Sarah by Verla Kay
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
The Silent Witness A True Story of the Civil War by Robin Friedman
Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by by Kay Winters, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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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