Why Picture Books Are Important by Greg Pizzoli

by Dianne on November 30, 2017


Why Are Picture Books Important by Greg Pizzoli

Why are picture books important? I’m not sure.

I’m not trained in early childhood anything, and I don’t know much about reading levels or how the brain of a toddler interprets texts and images. But they are important. I know that for sure.

While I’m not trained in any of the above, I’ve written and illustrated a few picture books and have had the opportunity to read them with thousands of kids. My first book was made because, more than anything, I just wanted to make a book. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve made books. I loved them as a kid, I loved drawing, and I thought as jobs go, picture book maker was about as good as it gets. That was my ultimate goal, really, to just have a book made.

In the subsequent years, I’ve made a bunch of other books, and my goal is always different with each one. It’s no longer about just “making a book” or (gasp) “getting a book published” – although that is often a source of worry – it’s about engaging kids with a book that respects them, that appreciates their own lives and experiences, and that makes a space for them to be absorbed into a world different from their own lives, which will in turn, make their own worlds bigger and more interesting places to live.

I might not have all the tools, or the know-how – but if I can help to create a space for moments of laughter, joy, sorrow – whether using a burping crocodile, or a sledgehammer-wielding owl, or even a con-artist on the run– stories that engage, pictures that demand a second-look, and words that beg to be read aloud could open up the world of books and reading to a kid who might need an escape.

So my new goal when making books, is to help create those moments of laughter, joy, sorrow, wonder, and contemplation, as all good picture books do. And that feels important.



About Greg Pizzoli

Greg Pizzoli is an author, illustrator and screen printer from Philadelphia.

His first picture book, The Watermelon Seed, was published by Disney*Hyperion Books and was the 2014 recipient of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. In 2015, his nonfiction picture book Tricky Vic was selected by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year. In 2017, he won a Geisel Honor award for the picture book, Good Night Owl.

Greg’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine and he’s won two Portfolio Honor Awards from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

After college, Greg spent two years as a full-time volunteer in AmeriCORPS from 2005-2006. In 2009, he received his MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he taught part-time for seven years. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, artist Kay Healy, their dog, and two cats.

Literacy Activity
November 30 – Christmas

“Picture books build empathy which is an important tool in navigating through society.”(from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013)

Make Christmas cards to give away for family and friends! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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.

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