November is National Picture Book Month -- what fun!
I LOVE picture books and I will confess that having an excuse to read them has been my motivation for many major life decisions, including a career as a bookseller, studying to be a librarian and even having a kid. OK, maybe not that last one exactly, but getting to read picture books to Sprout every night is in fact one of the very best things about parenthood. No question.
A while back there was a big fuss made over "the death of the picture book". Parents are no longer reading them to their children, at least according to one article. Huh? Maybe that's true for some parents, but not in our house or with any of the families we know. In fact, we're on the constant hunt for picture book titles, and every one we love sparks the desire for more, more, more! Picture books have a whole lot to offer for everyone involved, from developmental benefits to social factors to positive bonding. The act of sharing pictures and stories together not only boosts literacy skills but also makes a strong association that reading is a pleasure activity. Isn't that what we all want for our kids, anyway?
In support of picture books, several authors and illustrators have banded together to promote Picture Book Month. Each day features a new blog post demonstrating why and how picture books are important, not just to individual kids and their adults, but also to our society as a whole. Reading through some of these entries confirms for me that the picture book is very far from dead. Many of the books we all loved from childhood are picture books, and as School Library Journal points out, by keeping the focus on good stories, the picture book can have a long and happy life.
Picture books make us better people, I think. They teach us about the world, our surroundings and those of people much like us and much different as well. If you're looking for some great picture books to share with the kids in your life, or if, like many of us, you're still a sucker for them yourself, start with some of the authors participating in National Picture Book Month. Check out best-of lists and read a blog that celebrates the artform.
Picture books are the gift that keeps on giving, so let's give a little love right back to them!