Monday, 10 November 2014

November is Picture Book Month

Why spend a whole month celebrating picture books? There are so many reasons! How many of you can right now name a book you loved as a child? Who knows a toddler that can recite Goodnight Moon by heart? Picture books open our eyes, become our friends, and take us to new worlds. On the Picture Book Month site,  you can read testimonials from picture book creators on why these books mean so much.  If you have a young child, or have had, that feeling of holding them in your lap while sharing a book: that is why we love picture books.  That moment when a child can “read” the book to you because you’ve shared it so many times: that is why we love picture books. When your child points to a word, and actually reads it, that moment. These are warm fuzzy moments that only a picture book can bring. What do picture books mean to you? What are your favourites? We’d love to hear your comments!

I love picture books for the art. As a member of the 2015 Caldecott Committee, I have been looking closely at the art in books since January. I’ve looked at many books over and over (and over and over)- applying the Caldecott criteria to each one. I’ve probably read at least 300 books so far this year!  I’ve looked at art books, read about great art, and translated that knwoledge to picture books. And the one thing that keeps coming back to me over and over is that by sharing a great picture book with a child, we are sharing great art. It is like a mini art gallery that you can tote around with you wherever you go. In fact,  The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is all about the book as art. There are exhibits of picture book art in art museums. Picture books are art!  Some picture books are pure art, as you can see from the works on The Illustrated Forest. I just discovered this website and it is one that I will return to again and again. And for looking closely and learning about picture book art, you can’t miss Picturing Books—this website, and The Picture Book Primer by the website's creator, are tools every teacher should put in their back pocket.

So, whether you feel like curling up with a child and sharing a picture book, or want to feel like a child again by looking at your favourites, grab a stack of picture books on your next visit to the library.  Browse the picture book shelves and find a new art gallery to grace your home for the next 3 weeks, and celebrate Picture Book Month.  If you need some help, we’ve got plenty of lists. Start with our 100 Books to Share, and go from there!

--Angela J. Reynolds, Head of Youth Services

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