Why Picture Books Are Important by Matthew Winner

by Dianne on November 25, 2015

Matthew Winner All the Wonders

Why Picture Books Are Important by Matthew Winner
Think back to a book that was read to you as a child. What details can you remember? Can you picture the person who read to you? Can you hear their voice and the cadence placed on the text each time they read it? Did you sit on a lap to hear the story? Or was there a special location in your house where story time always happened each day?

Picture books build memories that last and the act of reading a story aloud creates a shared experience that bonds the reader with the listener or listeners. For me, this story was Scuffy the Tugboat, a Golden Book written by Gertrude Crampton. According to mom, my dad used to read this book to me nearly every single morning over breakfast. It became part of our routine. It was expected. No matter the morning, it was a part of our day that I could look forward to. Over the years it became a memory that defined my relationship with my dad.

Later, it would be the memory I looked back on most frequently as a personal testament to the power of picture books. Imagine what impact reading to a child may have and how a good book, a just-the-right book, a sticky-story kind of book might just stick with them for the rest of their lives. And to know that it’s a picture book, a 32-page, printed and folded, sewn and glued, perfectly packaged work of art that’s helping to create those lasting memories? That right there. THAT is why picture books are important.

Matthew Winner headshot

About Matthew Winner
Matthew Winner an elementary library media specialist in Elkridge, Maryland. He is is the co-founder and content director of All The Wonders, a children’s literature website and more, and host of the Let’s Get Busy podcast, a weekly podcast where Matthew talks to authors, illustrators, award winners, up-and-comers, and everyone in between. In 2013, Matthew was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and was invited to the White House as part of the Champions of Change program. For more information, connect with Matthewon Twitter at @MatthewWinner or online at AllTheWonders.com.

Literacy Activity
Nov 25 ~ Celebrations

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

We all have birthdays, yet we might have different ways of celebrating. Ask students to tell about their birthdays/favorite birthdays/birthday celebrations (especially cultures other than American). Have students recite the months of the year and create a birthday calendar bulletin board. Then have each student write their name and place it on their birthday on the calendar.

Suggested reading:

A Gluten-Free Birthday For Me! by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Jennifer Morris
Dale, Dale, Dale/Hit it, Hit It, Hit It: Una Fiesta de Numeros by Rene Saldana Jr., illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores
Happy Birthday To You! by Dr. Seuss
The Night Before My Birthday by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Happy Birthday, Cupcake! by Terry Border

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!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

:Donna November 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Matthew, I love everything you said here and agree completely, but the one thing that’s REALLY sticking out in my mind that truly touches my heart is that your Dad enjoyed reading a book every day at breakfast, but not just that—the fact that he didn’t mind that it was the SAME book every day. How wonderful! 😀


Matthew Winner January 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm

It’s a memory I simply cannot forget, Donna! (And my mom won’t let me forget it either 😉 That same book read over and over did some magical work, building a bond between my father and me. It’s very special to me.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: