As a mom, librarian,  and former second and fifth grade teacher,  I can say with sincerity that I believe in picture books!  There are many who think that once children begin reading independently and skillfully they should be reading chapter books all the time. I disagree!

Picture books are appropriate right up through middle school as teaching texts and as pleasure reading.  Why?  There are many reasons but consider these:

  • the art in picture books is likely the first art children are acquainted with, and today’s picture books are full of incredible art in a wide array of media
  • the language in picture books is so well-crafted and often beautiful/lyrical with richer vocabulary than you find in other types of books
  • the pictures in a picture book often extend the story, or show a parallel story.  Attention to the pictures increases children’s visual literacy
  • picture books can be read in one or two sittings.  They make wonderful texts for teachers to use when giving instruction for particular mini-lessons in reading and writing
  • picture books are memorable because we associate the pictures with the words.
  • picture books teach important lessons and themes
  • picture books are a wonderful excuse to sit with someone on your lap and read and enjoy illustrations

Candlewick Press is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a campaign called “I Believe in Picture Books.”  Have a look at what others have to say on the subject, and then stop by the Learning Center to sign out a few picture books yourself!