How is this the first I am hearing that November is International Picture Book Month? Yesterday after buying some great picture books that I will be sharing with the class I stumbled on this little fact and it got me thinking about how as we grow older we stop reading picture books.
One of the books I picked up this weekend is A Child of Books. Wonderful little read and it touches on the fact that our reading often changes as we get older, we forget the fun of reading, the adventures that we can take in a picture book. We become busy, we read for information more for fun. This year we are focusing much more on reading for pleasure, reading by choice not just because we have to. We read a lot and it is great but we read novels and non fiction. Novels are an investment of time, a worthy one, but an investment. The pay back is not immediate. Non-fiction is interesting to so many but if all we read is facts and information we start to forget to use our imaginations.
Picture books teach us lessons in only a few short pages and at the same time can take us on an adventure. I love finding fun books that are unique. My friend Donna once helped me find the wonderful author Timothy Basil Ering and his book “The Story of Frog Belly Ratbone” with messages about bullying and the importance of protecting the environment and very unique art this book grabbed my attention and imagination almost immediately.
Picture Books like all the stories of Peter Reynolds can have powerful messages about identity, perseverance, acceptance and simply being yourself. Picture Books are a great way to address important issues like bullying and acceptance with kids in a way they can understand. The story Zero is one of my favourites for this reason.
And Picture Books can just be fun ways to tell fun stories. Robert Munsch stories, Berenstain Bears, these are the books I grew up with and still remember. My favourite was the clean up the room book, I liked the toys and wished I had them.
Picture Books are important. As a teacher they are a great way to model writing, teach lessons and build engagement in the classroom. The trick is that you have to sell it. You need to be a fan of reading and a fan of picture books to make sure the “older” kids don’t see them as childish but as fun.
This month I am going to read a picture book a day to my class. Share some of my favourites and invite them to share theirs. The fun of reading is the best part and it would be a shame if I was a part of letting that happen.