When I first started working at the Deerfield Library, I read an article in the New York Times decreeing the demise of the picture book. Well, almost 11 years later, our shelves are still stocked with picture books full of beautiful prose and excellent art!
Picture books haven’t gone away because they are wonderful for children of all ages. Some people might have the notion that picture books are only for very young children and that the “real” writing begins in chapter books. Nothing could be further from the truth. Picture books are filled with vocabulary that is often on a fifth-grade level, and research shows that picture books contain words we don’t even use in regular conversation!
Picture books support all of the six early literacy practices: reading, of course, but also writing, singing, talking, and playing. When you read aloud to your child, you help instill a love of reading. The time together — you with your child and a book — sends your child the message that reading is enjoyable. That foundational love of literature will serve them well whenever they’re ready to learn to read.
Finally, picture books serve as important mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, to quote Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop. All children deserve to see themselves in books (mirrors), but children also need the chance to look at unknown worlds through books (windows) and then to step into those worlds (sliding glass doors) and become a part of it in their imaginations.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
Our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program celebrates picture books and the value of reading aloud to your child. The program is free, open to everyone, and easy to accomplish: reading only one book a day together means you’ll finish in a few years; three books a day (consider one before naptime and two before bedtime) will take less than a year to reach 1,000 books!
Picture Book Month
November is Picture Book Month, so it’s a perfect time to browse our shelves or ask us for a recommendation. Check out our Twitter page for a great suggestion every day this month! Whether you have a child who loves to laugh or you need to banish nightmares…whether your house is cluttered with crayons, saturated with sports, littered with LEGO blocks, or filled with fairies… whether you have a get-up-and-go child or a let’s-stay-home-today child…a perfect picture book awaits you at the Library.