Monday, November 4, 2013

Let's Celebrate with Picture Books!


Let's Celebrate with Picture Books!
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com



Have you noticed via the badge in my right sidebar that this month is cause for celebration for picture book lovers everywhere? Yes, folks, November is Picture Book Month, a theme very close to The Book Chook's heart.

What's so special about picture books? I'm glad you asked. I believe there are several reasons picture books are special.

For a start, picture books are often the first books a young child engages with. As such they're responsible for setting his feet on the pathway to reading. How wonderful to think that your son, the Supreme Court Judge, loves to read because you took the time to read to him from picture books. Or that your Kindergarten class has grown up to be successful, happy, literate adults, many of whom still remember those picture books you used to share with them.

How many of us can remember a special picture book from our past? Seriously, I imagine most of us can. I see you now, dewy-eyed and smiling as you remember Mulga Bill's Bicycle or The Saggy Baggy Elephant, or Are You My Mother or Where the Wild Things Are. Picture books make an impact on our lives and leave us with lasting memories that just naturally conjure smiles.

Picture books are also a wonderful way for children to absorb the features of language without being explicitly taught. They pick up vocabulary, rhyme, rhythm and many other elements of language via picture books. Because kids memorise picture book text from repeated read-alouds, they practise "reading" to toys and parents from the book and this often almost magically grows into real reading.

Picture books entertain, and they also make us think. One of the most wonderful things of all though, is that they help children imagine. When reading or listening to picture books being read aloud, children are entering the fictive dream and building imagination muscle. We know our 21st Century learners need to be creative thinkers, and for that, they need imagination.

Loving picture books and read-alouds spills over into a love of reading in many children. And a love of reading is one of the most priceless gifts we can give our kids. Whether Supreme Court Judge or lowly book reviewer, people who love to read are more likely to be successful in their studies and in their lives. (Well, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it!)

To celebrate Picture Book Month, why not buy yourself and your kids a present? There are so many great picture books being published nowadays. In Australia, browse online at The Australian Online Bookshop, compare prices at Booko, try Youtube to find new picture books, or check out my Reviews, many of which are picture books. You could pack lunch and head for a bookshop, make your choices, then head to the park for a picnic and an orgy of delightful picture book reading.

Picture Book Month would be a great time to increase your family read-aloud time. Re-visit old picture book friends and borrow/buy new ones. If your children don't have library cards yet, apply for them today and watch your kids' confidence grow as they choose their own books.

How about a picture book party? Bake a picture book cake, dress up as favourite picture book characters, act out your favourite scenes from picture books.

Have your kids tried to create their own picture books? Help them out by looking at a range of picture book styles first. Some writers choose rhyme, some present true facts, other spin fantastical tales. Illustrators might use collage, lino printing, watercolour, or sketching. Children will enjoy creating something they feel passionate about and may want to share the book with younger kids too. Find more information in Book Chook Ideas for Making Books with Kids.

Here's a lovely lullaby you can sing with your little ones about bedtime stories! (Thanks to @playbythebook and @JensBookPage for the discovery!)



Check in to The Book Chook each Wednesday in November for picture book recommendations. Now's the time to begin putting picture books aside as Christmas gifts for the youngsters in your life!

What's YOUR favourite picture book?


(Image created with iPad app, DecoSama.)

13 comments:

  1. You're right about the value of picture books. They are also very important in terms of visual literacy - the ability to "read" pictures and to gain meaning from the combination of words and pictures. Happy Picture Book Month!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Picture Book Month! Sharing picture books is a great way to help kids develop their visual literacy skills, skills they'll use throughout their lives. They'll learn to "read" pictures and to create meaning by combining word and pictures through exposure to picture books.

    Picture books can also touch the emotions and awaken interest in a subject, one of the reasons many middle school teachers use them to introduce new units.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great points, Elizabeth! I love to think of teachers using picture books with older kids, because they are so often the "essence" of a subject and make a wonderful jumping off point.

      Thanks for contributing!

      Delete
  3. I love picture books too! Our favourite is Eric Carle's Brown Bear Brown Bear, I remember it was the 1st book that my then toddler son grabbed every time I plop him down in front of his books. I guess the bright colors and repetitive words catch his attention. From there he progressed to Eric Carle's other titles and then follow by other authors. My current favourite book is Today I Am by, a book with colorful fish about emotions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great choices, DinoMama! I totally understand the fascination with Brown Bear, Brown Bear. The simplicity and rhyme is so engaging and leads to lots of language-related fun.

      Delete
  4. I love picture books too! Our favourite is Eric Carle's Brown Bear Brown Bear, I remember it was the 1st book that my then toddler son grabbed every time I plop him down in front of his books. I guess the bright colors and repetitive words catch his attention. From there he progressed to Eric Carle's other titles and then follow by other authors. My current favourite book is Today I Am by, a book with colorful fish about emotions.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree that picture books are important as a child's first contact with literature and often art too. They're also a whole lotta fun. Now that my daughter is grown, I miss picture books! Sometimes I still pull out my favorites and read them in secret. Shhh!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your secret is safe with us, Kim! And I bet one of those favourites is still Eek! Creak! Sneaker, Sneak.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Picture books are so underappreciated by teachers of Years 3 and up. I'm working really hard to expose them to picture book biographies and picture books that can be used as mentor texts for writing instruction.

    Thanks for the links to Australian book stores. I've been going through Fishpond because that was the only one I knew. Can I pick your brain sometime on how you get some of the best prices on books?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Picture books as mentor texts makes such perfect sense, Janet. They're such great models of writing tightly too. It's wonderful that you're being a picture book ambassador here at your new school.

      Please pick my brain anytime! Use the tiny little "contact me" top left and I'll get back to you asap.

      Delete
  8. Yay for picture books!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. +Mia Wenjen from http://www.pragmaticmom.com says: "I love picture books for the rich language, beautiful illustrations that tell part of the story, and a complete story with a beginning, middle and end using only a few dozen pages."

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails