Why Picture Books Are Important by TJ Shay

by Dianne on November 28, 2015

TJ Shay Dot Day

Why Picture Books Are Important by TJ Shay
Picture books challenge us all to be better people.

They launch creative experiences, support the burgeoning artist, teach new concepts in a fun way and help ignite passion in the reader. Art, story, and history all come together in a small package. Whether it be stunning art created by a master like Wendell Minor, which encourages someone to pick up a paintbrush, a story like Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton that helps us recognize our gifts, or a book like Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder that gives us a glimpse into history at a person who changed the world.

Picture books invite us to take action and make our own change. For the past seven years, I’ve had a front row seat to a global creativity movement over four million people strong, sparked by a picture book. International Dot Day is a day of creativity inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot, and inspired by the themes in the book: creativity, bravery, and collaboration. I believe The Dot should be required reading for teachers, as it shows the best of what we can become.

What better way is there to learn a new concept than using a picture book? The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is the perfect example of personification and would be an easy way to get kids excited about learning the concept. The best thing is, you might not even know you learned something!

I am disheartened when people say that picture books are just for little kids, because don’t we all need to see and appreciate art, learn new things, find ways to make the most of what we have, and be inspired to reach greater heights in our profession and world? I think so! Read on.

TJ Shay headshot

About TJ Shay
Terry J. Shay is a K-12 Vocal Music Teacher at North Tama School in Traer, IA. He was
the founder of International Dot Day ( www.thedotclub.org) and the Celebridots site
(www.celebridots.com). In his spare time, he is an Ambassador for FableVision Learning. He lives in Waterloo, IA with his wife, a high school English and International Baccalaureate teacher.

Literacy Activity
Nov 28 ~ Creativity

“Picture book illustrations serve as wonderful models of how shapes are used to create pictures.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

You don’t have to wait until September to celebrate Dot Day and making your mark on the world. Check out the many activities to inspire and get your creativity on all year round at thedotclub.org.

Suggested reading:

The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Bosom

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 }

C.L. Murphy November 28, 2015 at 9:48 am

Yay, Terry! We couldn’t agree more that PBs are not just for little kids! We are big fans of International Dot Day and love THE DOT’s message.


:Donna November 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Terry, no doubt THE DOT should be required reading—for EVERYone 😀

“Art, story, and history all come together in a small package.” Perfect! 😀


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