Bookishness, Mamaishness, Teacherishness

It’s Picture Book Month!

It’s November, and that means it’s Picture Book Month. Created by a small group of children’s authors and illustrators, PBM works to champion the magic that is found in quality children’s picture books.

picture book month

All month, you can visit the Picture Book Month website to read what children’s book illustrators and authors have to say about the value of picture books. (Here’s a hint: they are invaluable.) Tomie dePaola, whom you may recall to be the creator of my BFF, wrote the month’s first post. Here’s his closing statement, and I think it’s just plain brilliant:

“I propose that Picture Books can be great art and great art makes for a great people and a great society. Perhaps this is not necessarily true, but would this attitude be so damaging? I think not.”

dePaola also cites some disturbing news articles from recent years that discuss the ‘rushing’ of children away from picture books and toward longer chapter books. As a teacher, I saw this happen. There’s a natural pull for children who are improving readers, as they want to read longer and longer books. Equally, a lot of external pressure gets put on children to put away the ‘baby books’ and start reading in chapters.

The reality is that many, many picture books have stronger literary characteristics and deeper meaning than most early chapter books. There’s a place for many different types of books in a person’s reading life, and there’s no need to supplant one stage with another while a child (or grown-up!) is learning to read.

If you’d like to join the celebration, download a printable calendar for the month here. There’s a note as to who will be posting on the blog that day, along with a suggestion for what type of book to read with your children or students. Elsewhere on the site, you can find promotional materials and suggested activities and lessons.

Now, get reading!